Awhile back, a story broke that BMW South Africa had found an old BMW 530 Motorsport Limited Edition (MLE) that was in pretty rough shape. If you aren’t aware, which many enthusiasts aren’t, the BMW 530 MLE was a very limited-production run of a homologation racing car for the South African market. It was based off of the E12 5 Series chassis and it raced from 1976 to 1985 and it retired as the most successful racing 5er in history. Only 110 Type 1 BMW 530 MLEs were made and only 117 Type 2s, making them quite rare. So when BMW South Africa found one, they immediately snatched it up with plans of restoration.
Powering the BMW 530 MLE was a 3.0 liter inline-six engine, borrowed from the 3.0 CS, and it made 197 hp and 203 lb-ft of torque. That, when paired with a four-speed manual gearbox, was good for 0-60 mph in 9.3 seconds. While that’s not good at all by modern standards, it was quick enough for the late ’70s. It was also fast enough to win three championship titles in three years.
Restoring such an old and rare car isn’t easy. It’s not as if they have parts for it lying around. However, that hasn’t stopped the folks in South Africa, as restoration has just begun.
Last week, BMW South African began its restoration process for the BMW 530 MLE and even brought along two former BMW employees, Walter Mahlangu and Jacob Matabane, who worked on the original car back in the ’70s. It’s quite fascinating to see what it looked like prior to the restoration and after. The old-school BMW 530 MLE is an incredibly special car, especially to South African enthusiasts, and it’s deserving of a proper restoration. Thankfully, this one won’t be lost to time.
If you want to follow up more on the restoration, follow #BMW530MLE on social media channels.