We’ve been closely following BMW South Africa’s revival project of a BMW 530 MLE. For those who haven’t followed the project, BMW South Africa has been restoring a 530 MLE from the ’70s with incredible attention to detail and history. The BMW 530 MLE (Motorsport Limited Edition) was a homologation special meant for racing and designed by the head of BMW M at the time, Jochen Neerpasch.
Two race cars were made, with one being written off to the rigors of racing and the other being fully restored by Evolution 2 Motorsport, in Johannesburg, over the past two years. However, for those two race cars to have ever been made in the first place, the 530 MLE needed to be homologated for the road.
As such, BMW SA had to sell at least 100 road-going version of the 530 MLE back in the ’70s but it ended up selling over 200. There were two different versions, Type 1 and Type 2. The later Type 2 models had a bit extra power from the 3.0 liter naturally-aspirated inline-six-cylinder engine. BMW SA sold 110 Type 1 models and 117 Type 2 models, so it met its homologation requirements.
Of those cars, there’s only one left that BMW South Africa could find. So the folks at BMW SA decided to buy it and give it a full, ground-up restoration. Again, we’ve been following it closely because it’s a very special car and one that’s close to their hearts.
On Tuesday, October 8, BMW South Africa revealed the fully-finished BMW 530 MLE project at the Rosslyn plant, in the company of four employees that originally built the 530 MLE back in the ’70s. So it was a very special day.
Alongside it, the still fully-race-ready BMW 530 MLE hit the track in a pretty special moment for BMW M fans in South Africa.
Also in attendance was BMW M CEO Markus Flasch, who said “I am thrilled to be in Johannesburg for the second BMW M Festival to be held in this country and I am impressed with South Africa’s appetite for high-performance products. Our brand is defined by its heritage. When I see the most successful racing 5 Series in the history of the company, I can understand where South Africans’ love of M stems from.”
Tim Abbott, CEO of BMW Group South Africa and sub-Saharan Africa, added “The BMW 530 MLE at the time demonstrated how competitive sporting events were the ideal setting to impress the motoring public with the performance of new vehicles, and it paved the way for BMW South Africa as a sporty brand and a serious motorsport contender in the country. To this day, M remains the most powerful letter in the world!”