CHASSIS NO: 5380454
• U.S.-only example of BMW’s first 5-Series models
• Renowned performance and driving dynamics
• Texas vehicle; stored indoors since acquisition
2,986 cc M30B30 inline six-cylinder engine, Bosch L-Jetronic fuel injection, 176 HP at 5,500 rpm, four-speed manual gearbox, four-wheel independent suspension with front MacPherson struts and coil springs, rear semi-trailing arms and coil springs, hydraulic front disc, rear drum brakes; wheelbase: 2,636 mm (103.8”)
As the replacement for the highly successful “Neue Klasse” (New Class) sedans from BMW, the new 5-series mid-size luxury sedans debuted for 1972. Internally designated E12, these fine cars continued in production through 1981. Initially offered as the 520 with a carbureted four-cylinder engine and the fuel-injected 520i, the E12 received an infusion of turbine-smooth six-cylinder power by 1973.
Featuring clean styling and trim, yet useful proportions, the E12 5-Series was designed by Paul Bracq, whose vast design portfolio had already included the 600-Series and W111 “Pagoda” 230/250/280 SL lines for Mercedes-Benz, in collaboration with Bertone’s Marcello Gandini. A facelift for 1976 kept the E12 models up-to-date, featuring select detail refinements overseen by Claus Luthe. As BMW’s popularity continued to grow, the E12 was first offered in North America as the 3.0-litre, fuel-injected 530i, with changes including lower compression, larger 5-mph bumpers, exhaust gas recirculation, an air pump and exhaust manifolds with thermal reactors, which allowed the use of leaded fuel. Air-conditioning was improved to better cope with warmer temperatures.
Offered in America only for 1975 to 1978, the 530i was favored by selective and knowledgeable driving enthusiasts and comparable with such European touring sedans as the Jaguar XJ6 and Peugeot 604. Developing 176 horsepower at 5,500 RPM, the 530i was also quite quick and fast, capable of the 0-60 mph sprint in less than 9.0 seconds and a heady top speed of 120 mph. Four-wheel disc brakes ensured sure stops. BMW’s fast-growing reputation for excellence helped to overcome stiff price increases due to the strength of the West German Deutschmark during the short run of the 530i, which was priced from $9,097 in 1975, rising to $14,835 by 1978. For 1979, the 530i was succeeded by the 2.8-litre 528i equipped with catalytic converters and the Bosch Lambda sensor; while requiring unleaded gasoline and producing slightly less power, the 530i marked a new direction for BMW with better performance and increased fuel economy.
This 1978 BMW 530i Sedan is a well-preserved, driver-quality example of this respected E12 BMW model, retaining its mounted spare tire and trunk-mounted toolkit. The body appears to remain solid, the interior is sound, notwithstanding age-appropriate wear, and the car remains quite tidy overall. A possible touring candidate following appropriate inspection and servicing, this 1978 BMW 530i is a rare example of a highly successful and coveted U.S.-only E12 model.