NSU, ​​the little giant

Originally from Sweden and founded in 1873, the NSU brand was a cutting-edge company in the days of the German economic miracle after World War II. It first produced bicycles, then motorcycles, and finally cars.

Its most popular vehicle was the NSU Prinz, which it presented at the 1957 Frankfurt Motor Show. The successful compact car for four occupants had a 14,7 kW (20 hp) air-cooled twin-cylinder engine with a displacement of 583 DC.

Due to the great success of this vehicle, the company would later present two sports variants, the NSU 1000 from 1964 and the NSU TT from 1965. Both models were used in competition, being especially successful in the mountain races so popular at the time.

In 1967, the Neckarsulm brand introduced the most powerful version of its TT on the Hockenheim circuit: the NSU TTS. Its 996cc engine in rear position developed 51,5 kW (70 hp) and accelerated the 700 kilogram car to a rare 165 km / h.

With the factory "Speed ​​kit" available for competition use, the TTS engine could be powered up to 62,5 kW (85 hp).

Ten years after the introduction of the NSU Prinz, and at the same Frankfurt Motor Show, the brand launched the NSU Ro 80 with a Wankel bi-rotor engine after five years of development.

In the same year, the Ro 80 was the first German car to receive the “Car of the Year” award from an international jury. It was chosen because the vehicle set new standards for road behavior, as well as its safety, comfort and performance. What's more, its futuristic wedge-shaped body was a true milestone in automotive design.

The NSU Ro 80 was produced at the Neckarsulm plant from 1967 to 1977, with 37.406 units rolling off its assembly line in those ten years. The Ro 80 became the largest and most avant-garde car ever produced by NSU, but it was also its last model.

In 1969 Volkswagen AG initiated the merger of NSU with Ingolstadt-based Auto Union GmbH to form NSU Auto Union AG. Later, in 1985, this union became AUDI AG as we know it today.

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Automundo is the blog about news from the automotive industry, motorsport and the culture of the region. Director: Diego Durruty.

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