Two liters worth of performance out of half a standard European luxury vehicle ...
Two liters worth of performance out of half a standard European luxury vehicle displacement, and the 995 cc twin-rotor Wankel engine wrapped in the highly futuristic aerodynamic body.
That was a concept of NSU, the German company previously known for making the cheap economy vehicles.
As well as being the Europe’s only rotary-powered four-door, and the NSU Ro 80 also featured disc brakes (with a front ones being inboard), the space-saving MacPherson strut/semi-trailing arm suspension setup, the power-assisted rack and pinion steering and the semi-automatic, vacuum-operated three-speed gearbox.
While it was named European vehicle of the Year in 1968, by the end of the sixties, and it also brought NSU to its knees.
The problem wasn’t just that a Wankel hit the streets in dire need of more development time, and also that mechanics had no idea and how to service something as alien as the rotary.
NSU ended up replacing engines one after the other, and which led straight to bankruptcy and the complete takeover by Audi in 1969.
Petrolicious’ latest video is great reminder of what treasures could be found for $500 just ten years ago. Well, having said that, NSU Ro 80 prices still haven’t gone crazy, with only 37,000 ever made, it is definitely the classic worth looking into right now. Especially if you can find one in the vibrant color like Martin Buckley’s:
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