A rare BMW 530 MLE racing homologation car has just been fully restored by BMW South Africa after a year of painstaking work.
One of just 227 units of the BMW 530 MLE has been completely restored by BMW South Africa, and it looks fabulous.
Back in the 1970s, BMW South Africa had a desire to race in what is called the Modified Production Series, and built two race cars based on the first-generation E12 5 Series. The 530 Motorsport Limited Edition quickly dominated the series, racking up 15 wins in 15 consecutive starts, and the company celebrated three consecutive series championships. According to BMW, the 530 MLE was the most successful racing 5 Series in history.
However, to create these mighty race cars, BMW South Africa had to sell 100 production versions of the race car for homologation purposes. At BMW Group Plant Rosslyn, it ended up building 110 units in 1976 and 117 units in 1977. They were all equipped with a 3.0-litre inline-six engine that developed 197 horsepower (200 PS) and 204 pound-feet of torque, providing a 0-100 km/h time of 9.3 seconds and a top speed of 208 km/h.
The race cars were retired in 1985, but to make sure the BMW 530 MLE’s legacy lives on, the company searched for one of the 227 roadgoing cars. It found number 100 in 2018 and purchased it from race driver and former 530 MLE team manager Peter Kaye-Eddie.
After a year of restoration, the car is now in pristine condition, bearing a white paint job, BMW M racing stripes, Mahle wheels, a simple front air dam and a small rear decklid spoiler. To make sure the cars were as light as possible, BMW South Africa had originally hand-drilled holes in the bodywork and the pedals, in addition to stripping them of their air conditioning unit and power windows.
BMW Group Plant Rosslyn was the brand’s very first assembly facility outside of Germany and produced several Africa-exclusive editions of BMW model lines.