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WATCH | This rebuilt SA BMW 530 MLE is proof that legends do live forever

2019-10-24 07:00
BMW 530 MLE

Image: BMW Group

BMW recently unveiled its track-inspired BMW 530 MLE a year after it underwent intensive restoration work, at the "Home of BMW Legends”, the automaker's plant in Rosslyn, just outside Pretoria.

The classic car project is a limited edition "homologation" model developed especially by BMW Motorsport for South Africa.

Restoring former glories

The team of Luis Malhou, William Mokwape, Walter Mahlangu, Jacob Matabane and Cassie Calaca of Custom Restorations, were the brains behind the project in bringing the 530 to its former glory.

GALLERY | Restored BMW 530 MLE

This is not the first car to be restored at the plant, with a number of other 3-Series models receiving the same treatment.

BMW 530 MLE

                                                                        Image: BMW Group

"Legendary cars such as the Gusheshe – the second generation BMW 3 Series (also known as the E30) – in particular the 325iS and the South Africa-only 333i, rolled off the assembly line at this plant more than 30 years ago," says Johan Mouton, Director: Technical and Logistics at BMW Group Plant Rosslyn.

A bit of history

BMW had aspirations of entering the MLE in the Modified Production racing series back in 1976 but in order to do so, they had to sell 100 road-going versions of the 530 MLE.

As mentioned before, it was released as a homologation model for the local market and achieved combined sales figures of 227 for both Type 1 and 2 versions.

It featured a 3.0-litre, 6-cylinder engine that made 147kW and 277Nm with a top speed of 208km/h.

The 530 MLE made its maiden appearance in the Modified Production racing series back in 1976, securing an impressive 15 wins from 15 consecutive starts and clinching three championship titles in the process.

BMW 530 MLE

                                                                              Image: BMW Group

At the time it was retired in 1985, it was the most successful 5-Series in history. A massive feat with plenty of racing history attached to it.

Compiled by Robin Classen

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