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Audi Bringing 5 NSUs to Techno Classica

Audi Bringing 5 NSUs to Techno Classica

Essen’s Techno Classica is the largest classic car show in the world, and this year Audi is making the 560 km trek from Ingolstadt to Essen with five NSUs in tow: a 1962 Prinz 30, a 1964 Sport Prinz, a 1970 1000 TTS, and two R0 80s. (1969 and 1977)

With more than 1,200 exhibitors, 2,500 cars, and 30 nations represented, Techno Classica is the place to go if you like classic European cars. As a fan of Audi, though, you’ll no doubt be interested in this page from German history.

NSU is one of the companies that makes up the four rings of Audi (second from the left) and really became big in the mid-fifties when it was the world’s largest motorcycle manufacturer. In 1957, it decided that it wanted to get back into the car game and made the NSU Prinz (above).

Featuring a 20 hp, two cylinder, air cooled engine the car was a hit at a time when economy cars were a big deal in Germany. Thanks to that car’s success, NSU decided to work on the idea some more, adding power and size and eventually making the 1000 and the TT (below).

Both cars were raced extensively in their time eventually leading to the 70 hp, 700 kg (1,543 lb) TTS, that could get all the way up to 102 mph.

By the late ’60s, NSU was looking to break its way into the luxury market with a brand new, wildly innovative, and ultimately quixotic technology known as the Wankel rotary engine.

NSU had been working on the rotary engine for some time by the time the Ro 80 came around and felt certain that the technology would bring them to further global success. In fact, NSU at the time employed Felix Wankel, the engine’s namesake.

Unfortunately, the company never quite found that success. An unusual body shape (albeit a highly aerodynamic one) and an extremely high price tag conspired to rob NSU of the success they had hoped for.

In 1977 the Ro 80 was discontinued and VW bunched NSU together with Audi and Auto Union. Despite not bringing NSU the success it was looking for, the Ro 80 remains a fascination to many, who will look forward to the opportunity to buy a limited edition 1:43 scale Orange Ro 80, of which only 333 were made, at Techno Classica Essen.

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March 22, 2017 at 04:59AM

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