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Classic Velocity Blog


Classic Velocity


motorbase.comcokebottle-design.deIn previous posts, we have covered cars derived from motorcycles, and here is yet another. In the late 1950s, NSU introduced a microcar in the same spirit as the BMW Isetta. It used a 600cc air-cooled 2 cylinder engine from their motorcycle division, and enjoyed moderate sales success. The engine was mounted in the rear, and had body styling that looked something like a miniature Corvair. In 1964, several new models were introduced with a straight four air-cooled motor. They were larger and of course more powerful, and had variations of the NSU 1000 moniker due to the new 996cc displacement. These cars were very competitive in the 1 litre class of racing.


germancarblog.comconceptcarz.comAlthough the Corvair comparisons seemed even more applicable, to my eye, they certainly seemed to foreshadow the BMW 1600 introduced the same year in the same country. They both had the basic "three box" design, with a large greenhouse, and very similar shape. There is almost a hoffmeister kink at the rear passenger windows on the NSU, and that distinctive waistline trim is another defining feature of the BMW 1600/2002 family and the NSU 1000. One interesting design feature is the oil cooler under the front bumper. I wonder how many of those were replaced ? Porsche had a similar design for their 911S to address the same issue, but it was at least surrounded by a spoiler ! The dash layout with an instrument cluster nacelle is also somewhat similar to the BMW 1600/2002. I wonder if this is strange coincidence or a little industrial "borrowing" among the german marques......


wikimedia.comNSU quickly bumped displacement to 1200cc and output to 78HP in the TT model introduced in 1967. The TTS model had a top speed of 160KPH, and was a popular sporting variation which spawned race cars. Racing versions were around 1400 pounds in weight, and put out around 90HP, an impressive power to weight package. In yet another interesting similarity, both the TTS and the 2002 had similar orange Jagermeister racing cars!  wikipedia.orgIn 1969, NSU was acquired by the Volkswagen Group and became absorbed into Audi. BOth the NSU and DKW brands were then discarded. According to Audi, The TT variants of NSU racked up 29 championship titles in Europe and America in its time. Considering that they were only produced for 3 or 4 years, that is an impressive record. They certainly were a force in the lightweight, small displacement, low cost category of racing that I for one would like to see return in a big way.