The 530 MLE Is A Racing BMW The World Forgot

BMW has announced that it will restore the 100th-built example of the 530 MLE, a little-known motorsport special
The 530 MLE Is A Racing BMW The World Forgot

It’s likely you’ve never heard of the 530 MLE, even if you’re something of a BMW fan. A heavily revised version of the E12 525i, the 530 was built for South Africa’s Modified Production Series.

It turned out to be quite good at winning stuff, too. The MLE snagged the championship in 1976, 1977 and 1978.

A homologation special was commissioned, built in extremely low numbers. There were 110 in 1976 (known as the Type 1) and 117 in 1977 (referred to as the Type 2). Each had their original 2.5-litre inline-sixes ditched and replaced with 197bhp 3.0-litre lumps and were given to BBS wheels, wider arches, various aero additions and M stripes.

Remote video URL

The MLEs were treated to a raft of weight-saving measures too, including an air conditioning delete, lighter seats and manual windows. It’s a special and very rare car, with few of the originals surviving.

The one you’re looking at here is serial number 770100 - the 100th Type 1 to be built. It’s not in the best shape, but BMW has pledged to restore it, and in this emotional video, the guys who built the car at BMW South Africa’s Rosslyn factory are reunited with it. No, I’m not crying. There’s something in my eye, OK?

We can’t wait to see the finished car.


Robert Gracie

This is a fascinating piece of Motorsports history from Africa. I am sure there are quite a few people out there that dont realise just how big motorsport is in Africa, after all in 1979 Jody Scheckter became F1 world Drivers champion and he was the only South African to do it, I mean there are more facts you can pull out of it, I have just given you one of them

12/18/2018 - 15:11 |
16 | 0

You’re on a British site that has virtually zero coverage of the British Touring Car Championship let alone anything further down the ladder. Unless there’s a crash. So I think you’re probably correct! If it ain’t F1 or Ken Block then it ain’t CT.

12/18/2018 - 20:04 |
3 | 0

Restoring that car should be a bit more laborious than working on your chair.

12/18/2018 - 20:48 |
0 | 0
Javier Naranjo

Hammond should have used this in the first TG african special

12/18/2018 - 15:33 |
4 | 0

Not diminishing Oliver just to be clear

12/18/2018 - 15:33 |
2 | 0

I just had a laugh remembering that the most reliable car to cross 1000 miles of Africa was a VW Beetle NOT Oliver!

12/18/2018 - 18:26 |
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Javier Naranjo


12/18/2018 - 18:40 |
0 | 0
ThatCarDude 1


12/19/2018 - 01:01 |
3 | 0

the e21 and e30 baur are pretty well known with the bmw community, the e36 baur is the one nobody knows about and its super rare, i just checked on autoscout and on that site in the whole of europe there are 4 for sale. around 300 were build i believe

12/19/2018 - 19:14 |
0 | 0


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