Based on the BMW 525: BMW 530 MLE (Motorsport Limited Edition) © car 01/1977

The BMW 530 MLE had a special position at BMW South Africas model range. It was a spin-off product of the motorsport: In the year 1976 BMW SA modified a BMW 5 Series for racing in Germany with technical supervision of Mr. Peter Stark. The Schnitzer brothers from Freilassing built that car in order to the policies of the South African Modified Saloons. Two Solex 40/36 downdraft carburetors were fitted to the engine. The combustion chamber was hemispherical designed and a modified camshaft was mounted. Torsion bar stabilizers were added to optimize the R-curve behaviour in fast driven curves. A locked rear-axle differential (80 %) improved the handling characteristics substantially. Harder shock absorbers were also used. Four ventilated Lockheed brakes stoped the car. The brake discs came from the 3-Litre-Coupé. To get space for the large wheels the wheelhouses were made broader by plastic arches. At the right side, next to the drivers door, two big exhaust system pipes were mounted. The interior kept its homelike feeling. At the doors the panels were kept and at the rear the seat bench and the carped also. Only a racing cage reminds you, that this was a ricaing car. After the car was finished a Sabena-Cargo flew the car back to South Africa.
Paul Rosche, he developed engines for the Formula one, was for BMW SA engines modifications responsible. An another BMW 525 was copied then to a 530 MLE clone to have two "Production Racer" in South Africa. Terms and conditions for the local touring car champinships was, that at least onehundred of these cars must be sold in South Africa. A hard job, because of the countrywide speed limit (90 km/h) an the MLE costed the double price of a standard BMW 520. But BMWs selling expectations were beaten. Totalle 218 (110 + 108) of these cars were manufactured. 216 of them were sold. In publications you'll find numbers of 201, 202 or 208 manufactured cars. During my local investigations at BMW Plant Rosslyn in 2006 I found out the real number: 1392 BMW 525 M(anual) were delivered as CKD to South Africa. 1174 were assembled to a real BMW 525. 217 VINs were given to BMW 530 MLE. 1 car, that was modificated in Germany, had no VIN (see pictures at SA-VIN-Registry). Later the interior was removed from the racing car to reduce weight again.
The sedans, which were for sale, were painted in white (Ice white) or in the matallic colours Platinum or Sapphire blue. One car got a special paintwork and leather interior. The interior was fitteted with Scheel-Sportseats, that had a blue cloth upholstery. A 5 gear manual transmission was standard. The 6 cylinder engine was fited with a Zenith 38/40 INAT double carubretor. The rear aixle differential translation was 3.45 :1. The constructers focussed to reduce weight. So they drilled many holes at the body until it looked like a swiss cheese. Also the seats were made of light weight materials. The windows were made of thinner glass except the windscreen. Four brake discs, the two front ones were ventilated, were responsible for a short braking distance
The both racing cars wer very successful and won one race after the other. Racing Manager Peter Kaye-Eddie told me, that the second racing BMW 530 MLE drove until 1983. Paddy Driver, well known as a racer at the 500 ccm motorcycle class, drove this car. After a hardly accident the car wasn't rebuild anymore. The first BMW 530 MLE raced by Eddie Keizan until 1985 and after that rarely at the one or the other oldtimer rally. The car is now in Johannesburg and will be restored completely.

Series 1
Series 1
Racing version
Series 2
Series 3
 Unladen weight kg  1233 ca. 1200 - -
 Permitted gross weight kg  n/a n/a - -
 Permitted load kg  n/a n/a - -
 Permitted roof load kg  n/a n/a - -
 Permitted trailer load unbraked kg  n/a n/a - -
 Permitted trailer load braked at max. 12 % incline kg  n/a n/a - -
 Cylinder/Valves   6/2 6/2 - -
 Capacity cm³  2985 2985 - -
 Stroke/Bore mm  80/89 80/89 - -
 Output/Number of revolutions kW (HP)/1/min  132 (179)/6000 203 (275)/n/a - -
 Max. torque/Number of revolutions Nm/1/min  260/3700 320/5500 - -
 Compression : 1  9.0 n/a - -
 Standard transmission translation I/II/III : 1  3.72/2.40/1.77 n/a - -
  IV/V : 1  1.26/1.00 n/a - -
  R : 1  4.23 n/a - -
 Maximum speed km/h  208 235 - -
 Acceleration 0 to 100 km/h 9.3 n/a - -
 City l/100 km  n/a n/a - -
 Out of cities l/100 km  n/a n/a - -
 Average l/100 km  9.2 n/a - -
 Fuel tank, approx. 70 n/a - -
 Wheels   front-rear  
 Tyres   195 HR 14 275/600-300/625x16 - -
 Wheel dimension   7 J x 14 11-12 J x 16 - -
 Material   Light alloy Light alloy - -
 Electric system      
 Battery capacity Ah  55 n/a - -
 Alternator 60 n/a - -
  n/a n/a - -

Fibreglass airdam at the trunk, © South African Motor 08/1976