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Whilst we are all dealing with Covid-19 and the extraordinary times set upon us, this has allowed me crack on with finishing my E28 M535i (on a separate thread) and scratch another itch i have had brewing for some time in the shape of an E12!


I actually started out looking for a E28 M5 and quickly found myself mid search ending up on E12 M535i images, old for sale adverts and reading about other peoples projects. Thats when i came across Reg No: RDA 30 - a Henna Red E12 M535i that was previously owned by a member on here for many years and most recently owned by a Dutch chap who again, decided to sell before getting on with any major restoration work.


I need to say thanks to Eric (Dutch chap) who was super helpful to me whilst considering buying his M535i - sent tonnes of images, videos, recommissioned the car mechanically and spent 45 minutes with me on video call showing me around the good, the bad and the ugly. Ultimately, in the end i passed up on the car as i spent the past 3 years restoring my E28 M535i in between work, travel and deciding what route i wanted to go which cost me a lot of time, money and enjoyment of driving the car. I didn't want that again so immediately parked the idea and promised myself no more until the E28 M535i was complete...then i would know if its just boredom during CV19 or if the idea would go away once i started to enjoy driving the E28 M535i. Again, its been 3 years!!


As with all best intentions, they are not the solution to solve our problems and before i knew it i had somehow found myself in contact with a motorbike collector about a Ducati that - ironically -came about through someone helping me source an E28 M5 that i actually didn't want... It turned out the gentleman who owned the Ducati had many bikes in his collection and like any treasure hunt i asked the inevitable question - "do you collect cars?" Does he what...!!!!


What came across via an email in the form of a 6 page Excel spreadsheet + a WeTransfer link to download supporting images and videos simply blew me away. I wont get into the car list as i wont know where to start but in short i will tell you where i started.... the columns with the letter B.


In amongst the plethora of cars was of course a 2002 Turbo, E23 745i (M88 engine) manual, E30 333i, E30 Alpina C7, E34 Alpina B10 and then..... a E12 530 MLE.



What happened next was pretty damn obvious and yes, best intentions and all that got cast aside immediately. Anyone who knows how rare it is to find an E12 is in good condition will know how even rarer a very clean E12 M535i is... the E12 530 MLE is probably next to unicorn status in terms of rarity, provenance and so on...


So, today i can say i am the owner of a E12 530 MLE, number 23 of 110 Type 1 models ever built, that will come to the UK in the next few months (pending lockdown, shipping dates etc...). From the research i have done so far - limited at best - i dont believe there are any other 530 MLE in the UK?


I waited 3 years to finish my E28 M535i and like waiting for that one bus you desperately want to arrive.... two come along at the same time! :)


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Edited by ROOTS.

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Thank you for sharing your amazing journey to the uber rare car.


Is that a South African M5 Diamantschwartz with Lotus white highline finish next to your car in the last picture?  Do you have any more pictures of it?


Do you perchance have any pictures of the 745?


Looking forward to many more pictures of your MLE when it arrives in the UK.


Best regards,






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I managed to get in touch with Uli Sanne the previous owner of the 530 MLE i bought who shared some imagery with me from the last BMW event he ran the car in October 2008 in Kyalami race track. Interestingly the car has covered 124km in the 11.5 years since Uli sold it to the car collector i bought it from... Crazy!


At the same time Ulrich Thieme from e12.de got in touch as he saw the car being registered on the M Registry and sent me a link to all 530 MLE he is aware of in existence. The common feeling amongst the community is only 7 road cars remain including number #23/108.












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Hi Ian,


Superb!! Those idle thumbs during lockdown have a lot to answer for!


Car looks superb, I love all the little details that make it what it is. I can't believe they even drilled the clutch pedal lever.


As said above, looking forward to seeing some pictures when it arrives.


In other news, mine is still ongoing albeit very slowly but hoping to get back on it soon. Its been so long I've started buying bits Ive already bought!


Whatsapp if youre bored.


Hope youre well. 



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Took much longer than anticipated thanks to COVID but the good news is the 530 MLE is due to land in the UK on Monday!

Paperwork all done and just need the heads up from the freight company to confirm everything is sorted and arrange a time/date to collect.

I cannot remember the last time i was this excited to see a car.

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Well it didn't take long before i started to think of some things to do and its escalated rather quickly!!


The interior of the car is pretty much in time warp condition so i will be leaving this alone other than replacing the rubber gear gaiter - original is torn - and get the radio working. Not that i will ever use it. The car sounds fantastic.


Exterior has a beautiful patina, not a UK patina (Rust!), so the only thing i will do is remove the non-original sticker kit and replace this with a new one. Thankfully this was sourced when i bought the car from Luis Malhou, the guy who restored the 530 MLE above, so this should finish it off quite nicely. However, i did source a set of 15x8 BBS MAHLE with a pretty low offset so i will fit these too. The 14's are a nightmare to find decent rubber for them and personally i think they look a bit lost under the arches. I will keep them for 'anorak' days/meets but im excited to see the car on the new set ive found which are pretty much identical but an inch bigger and an inch wider with a much deeper dish.


Other things on the list include;

- Fit new Bilstein B8 Shocks

- H&R springs

- ST Anti roll bars

- Weicher strut braces

- Compbrake tie rod ends

- Ireland Engineering subframe bushing

- K MAC trailing arm bushings and adjustable top mounts (front)


The gearshift has the notorious sloppy shift, not the worst ive ever encounted but there are definitely some bits and pieces that need replacing so Cotswold BMW received an order for every linkage, bush etc needed + picked up a UUC DSSR and Schmeidmann adjustable short shifter to tighten it all up. I cannot stand vague shifting in any car!


This brings me on to the good stuff, the engine. As some of you may know i have a pretty fruity M30 being assembled at Hack Engineering at the moment and couldnt help myself to keep the MLE factory stock. Everything will be retained to go back to 'Factory' spec if necessary but for now im going down the following route:


- Triple Weber 45 DCOE w/ Dbilas adaptor

- Dbilas 288 camshaft with uprated valve springs & retainers

- 123 Bluetooth Ignition

- KM Cams Steel Rocker Arms

- VAC Motorsport adjustable cam sprocket

- VAC Motorsport rocker arm locks/collars

- Custom made equal length exhaust manifold

**This manifold will be for RHD application and tooling will be retained for anyone else looking for an equal length exhaust for an E12/E28 M30.


So as winter is upon us and i cant use the car as much as i would like, i think the above will keep me busy and when ready should be a bloody awesome car to drive.

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Postman came today bearing gifts! :)







Most of these parts are to tighten up the wooly shifter, if you know you know! Just waiting for the UUC DSSR to arrive and the BMW rubber shift boot - thanks @Collective-friction for the E21 part number 25111209868, i think this genuine item will be a much better option than the Wallothnesch one - https://www.wallothnesch.com/en/rubber-boot-for-gearshift-lever-13346.html


I will post pics of both when they arrive and fingers crossed one of them fits the E12.



Edited by ROOTS.

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Sticker kit comes off this week to have paintwork professionally corrected before a genuine MLE sticker kit get applied.




Next update will include the “relatively low offset” BBS MAHLE 15x8 fitted and exterior professionally finished. 

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All four corners off the 530 MLE for a full suspension and brake refurb and refresh. New dampers, roll bars and bushings all round and had the paintwork professionally detailed before new decals get applied. Once the struts and trailing arms get back from powder coating the reassembly can commence.  












Edited by ROOTS.

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