An antique car that won hearts
The BMW 530 MLE is one superb antique car. What makes it even more unique is just how rare it was right from the beginning.
This car was built primarily for the South African market. It is officially the BMW 530 Motorsport Limited Edition (MLE). The BMW South Africa factory tailored this car as a race car to take part in the nation’s Modified Production Series.
That was quite a long time ago in the mid-1970s, but in the course of its existence, it made a remarkable record. In 1976 alone the BMW BMW 530 MLEs grabbed 15 wins in 15 consecutive starts. As such, it was set for historical perching in the annals of history.
For the Modified Production Series rules, BMW South Africa had to build no less than 100 road-legal versions of the 530 MLE. These vehicles were denied even some basic necessities in a bid to keep weight down. They had manual windows and no air conditioning.
This BMW chose a 3.0-liter inline-six engine producing 197 horsepower (147 kilowatts) and 204 pound-feet (277 Newton-meters) of torque. It was capable of rising 62 miles in a record time of 9.3 seconds, while the top speed was 129 mph.
Tim Abbott, CEO of BMW Group South Africa and sub-Saharan Africa summed up the life and times of the MLE in these kind words. “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!”