Restored BMW 530 MLE rumbles back to life
The rare sedan was a basic shell only a year back but it’s now fully renovated and running
BMW SA has unveiled the completely restored 530 MLE (Motorsport Limited Edition) it acquired as little more than a shell over a year go.
The car is one of BMW 530 MLEs known to still exist and is set to join the growing list of refurbished BMW legends of the past, among them a BMW M1, the wedge-shaped BMW super car from the 1970s.
Car number 100 was owned by race driver and former BMW MLE racing team manager Peter Kaye-Eddie, and its engine and chassis numbers are a matching set, proof that there were no retro modifications since 1976 when the car was built alongside 99 other roadgoing versions to satisfy homologation for racing purposes. Another feather in its cap is that the 530MLE was the first BMW to wear the famous M badge, two years before the BMW M1 and about nine years before the E28 BMW M5 of 1984.
The revived special BMW was recently unveiled at BMW Group Plant Rosslyn in the company of CEO of BMW Group South Africa and sub-Saharan Africa, Tim Abbott, who said: “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.
“The success of the 530 MLE was a pure example of ‘What wins on Saturday sells on Monday’, 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,” added Abbott.
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The restoration was headed by Luis Malhou of Custom Restorations workshop in the Vaal region. He was assisted by William Mokwape, Walter Mahlangu, Jacob Matabane and Cassie Calaca, men who were in the employ of BMW SA during the MLE’s heydays and who worked on the line that produced the limited edition road racer.
Other cars restored by BMW SA include an E30 333i and a 325iS "Gusheshe", the latter which has since been sadly wrecked in a road accident
More legends that are set to be revived are one of 209 examples of the SA-built 745i from 1983, which was also a homologation special what remains the only ever official BMW 7 Series racing programme to have been approved worldwide. An E60 BMW M5 that’s famous for its screaming 5.0l V10 engine will also join the list.