Again in the Nineteen Sixties, slightly German car firm determined to spend some huge cash to create a brand new-to-them sort of engine. The car firm in query was NSU, and the engine that value them a lot cash was a Wankel.
In a primary-ever for the Rare Rides collection, this can be a 4-half entry. Come alongside as we discover the NSU model and the Spider; a tiny roadster which ended up virtually solely answerable for the demise of its mother or father firm.
We’ve skirted round the NSU model beforehand, when Rare Rides featured a DKW three=6 of fascinating origins. You’ll be able to learn these historical past classes right here and right here. The DKW articles didn’t point out NSU instantly, as the model was a later addition to the Auto Union group. Whereas DKW bought the majority of Audi in 1928, merging DKW, Horch, Audi, and Wanderer to type Auto Union in 1932, NSU would stay an unbiased entity up via 1969. However let’s not get forward of ourselves; we first want to speak about knitting.
NSU originated in 1873 as a producer of knitting machines. The corporate was fairly good at making the machines, apparently, rising quickly after relocating from its preliminary manufacturing unit in 1880. Not content material with machines for knitting, the firm expanded its scope into bicycle manufacturing.
The manufacturing of bicycles proved extra profitable and fascinating than the knitting machine enterprise, and by 1892 the firm solely produced two-wheeled transportation units. A rebranding occurred round this time, as “Werkstätte zur Herstellung von Strickmaschinen” didn’t match properly on the body of a bicycle. The corporate determined NSU was extra appropriate, however nonetheless was not content material with its product providing.
Increasing choices into bicycles with engines, the firm produced its first motorbike in 1901. In 1905, NSU adopted this effort with the first NSU cars. The preliminary vehicle providing was the three-wheeled Sulmobil, designed by NSU and powered by a one-cylinder engine making three.5 horsepower. Additionally on supply have been two license-produced automobiles referred to as the NSU-Pipe 34 and 50, designated by their respective metric horsepower measurements. These automobiles had a lot bigger 4-cylinder engines. Nevertheless, NSU had no half of their design.
The aforementioned Sulmobile with its three-wheel setup was a kind of midway level between motorbike and car. Costly for the time, the NSUs have been additionally compromised. Most passenger and cargo load for the Sulmobile was between 330 and 440 kilos. However NSU was pleased it had a “car” on the street, and was pushing ahead with improvement and know-how.
However improvement and know-how didn’t guarantee the firm was truly making any cash. Keep tuned for Half II, when NSU will get into some scorching water.
– Rare Rides: NSU’s New Way to Wankel – the Spider From 1965 (Half I) –
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