JOHANNESBURG - It has taken more than a year of painstaking labour, but one of the few remaining examples of BMW’s legendary 530 MLE has now been fully restored to its former glory by BMW South Africa.

This South African icon was built in limited quantities in 1976 in order to homologate the 530 Motorsport Limited Edition race car that was soon to become the most successful racing 5 Series ever.

Finding the example that you see here took years of searching, but when the company did finally find one, it came with an impressive pedigree, having once been owned by race driver and 530 MLE team manager Peter Kaye-Eddie. But let’s just say that the vehicle needed a fair amount of work.

That became the task of Luis Malhou of Custom Restorations, as well as William Mokwape, Walter Mahlangu, Jacob Matabane and Cassie Calaca, who transformed it into the pristine vehicle that you see here. 

“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,” said BMW South Africa's CEO Tim Abott.

Indeed, the MLE had impressive credentials in its day, boasting a modified 3-litre straight-six that produced 147kW and 277Nm, while various weight reduction measures helped perk up its performance potential.

Read more about the BMW 530 MLE restoration project next Thursday, October 17, in the Drive360 newspaper supplement.

Drive360