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Classic Velocity Blog

Filtering by Tag: NSU

2 Wheels and 200 MPH

Classic Velocity

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Today, you can walk into most major motorcycle dealerships, and purchase a motorcycle that will do 200 MPH. You even have your choice of options from among multiple brands. These are not super exotic homologation specials, they are standard production machines, available to anyone. Back in the 1950s, it was difficult and expensive to find a production machine that would do half that speed. The world was recovering from WWII, and Germany in particular was just getting back into producing cars and motorcycles of higher speeds and displacements. BMW, Zundapp, and NSU were competing in the showrooms and on the racetrack for dominance. At that time, success on the track was the primary advertising material to get buyers into the showroom. And it worked. One area left dormant since before the war was the motorcycle land speed record. It was still held by a BMW from 1937. NSU siezed an opportunity and established a new record of 180.10 MPH (289.85 KPH) in 1951 with Wilhelm Herz aboard blasting down the autobahn.  With 200 MPH in sight, there were several attempts by a variety of manufacturers over the next 5 years, but they all fell short.

Until 1956.  The 1951 record had stood for 4 years before being eclipsed by a Vincent, and then by a Triumph in 1955. NSU decided to go all out in reclaiming it in 1956, and sent a well-equipped team of machines, spares, and mechanics to the Bonneville Salt flats that July. They brought 6 machines with engines all based on their very successful GP racing RennMax and RennFox machines. The 500cc (actually 499cc) machine was dubbed the Dolphin III as the most recent version of the original Delphin that broke the land speed record back in 1951. The 350cc and 500cc models were supercharged parallel twins, but with an interesting historical twist. The superchargers used a troichordal rotor on a fixed shaft in a figure 8 style chamber. If this sounds familiar, it is because it was  the precursor of the wankel engine. The engine was an overhead cam with bevel-drive, fed by a single Amal carburetor. Soichoro Honda himself had been by the factory the prior year to take a look At what NSU was doing with production machines given their performance in the lightweight classes in GP racing.

Back to Bonneville. The Delphin (Dolphin) moniker was due to the streamlined shape of the fairing which produced a miserly 0.19 coefficient of drag. In fact, the major challenge was keeping the machine on the ground at speed, and weights were added strategically for this purpose. The seating position placed the pilot low, and was dubbed the “hammock” position. On the salt flats, it was a difficult couple of weeks. Conditions were windy, and NSU had a crash during the 250cc attempt with H.P. Mueller aboard. In fact Mueller was the pilot for all of the record-breaking runs except for the 500cc class. Several crashes or aborted runs took place in other classes as well. However, early in the morning on August 4th, 1956 with Wilhelm Herz once again in the pilot seat, and the winds finally calm, NSU was able to achieve a stunning 211.4 MPH, shattering the previous record by 26 MPH !! NSU had convincingly reclaimed dominance in the land speed arena, and returned home poised for continued success on the track and in the showroom.

Down the Lane

Classic Velocity

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Nashville, Tenessee naturally brings to mind Country Music and the Grand Ole Opry, Whiskey, and the smoky mountains. A great automotive museum ? Not so much. Which is why the Lane Motor Museum is such a surprising discovery. Not that it is unknown in museum circles, as it is another of those Family-owned marvels that we the public benefit from immensely, and which are fairly well known among gearheads regionally. The museum is a 501c3 established by Jeff Lane in 2002 around his personal collection. Now there are three aspects of the Lane Museum that make it particularly attractive to Classic Velocity. First, it specializes in European vehicles. Second, every vehicle is a running, driving specimen that gets some usage. This is no small feat, as you will see. There is a real mix of near showroom cars, and many with a healthy patina. Third, the museum is housed in a 132,000 ft2 former Sunbeam Bakery complete with brick walls and maple floors. It compliments the collection and vice versa.

If there is a theme for the museum, it is probably "interesting cars" as our basement tour guide described it. The main floor is 40,000 ft2 of those cars along with a history of the bicycle exhibit, which was interesting in its own right. The vehicles (they include a smattering of motorcycles and scooters) are roughly, but not entirely, grouped by the region of Europe. Scandinavia included Volvos and Saabs. A highlight of this area was a Saab 92 from 1950 which only came in aircraft green because that paint was surplus from the war. Next on my circumnavigation of the floor was an impressive collection of micro cars which crossed all geographic boundaries. Well known Isetta, and Messerschmidt shared space with a Zundapp Janus, a Heinkel and a Hoffman. Hondas and Berkeleys and Subarus were intertwined. The French and the Italians were not to be outdone with entries from Renault (a dauphine Henney electric car from 1959!), Citroen, Fiat, and a delightful Vespa. DAF, Daihatsu, and an American Davis were also included. A well executed Tata Nano from India was also present. A truly "interesting" group.

Back to the regions, Italy blurred into France which was dominated by Citroen, but had an iconic Renault 5 Turbo. At this point I need to jump back over to a small group of race cars to highlight the bright orange Citroen DS Ice Racer, complete with snorkel and studded tires. Enough said. The next section was dedicated to Tatra from the Czech Republic, so technically it was regional. However, there were about a dozen Tatras on display, and more in the basement. They are a theme of this museum, and run from a 1925 car to  a 1994 truck. Interesting design, interesting engineering, interesting history. Eastern Europe continued with a Polish FSO, Skodas, and then into Russia via Zil and ZAZ. 

I left Germany for last, given the focus of this blog. This was a great opportunity to see vehicles in person that have been covered on these pages, from marques which went away decades ago, and are not normally seen even at vintage events. Perhaps my favorite was back in the race car section where there was a 1 of 1 Shirdlu powered by a BMW 700 engine. Minimalist at 1000 lbs and top speed of 127 mph. Designed and built by 3 Californians. The collection included a couple of Hanomags, a Hansa, a few Lloyds, a Steyr, several DKWs (including a lovely Monza), a Wartburg, several NSUs, a Goliath, and more.  Incredible, and knowing that all of them were or soon would be running driving examples made it all the more impressive.

If you are anywhere near Nashville, you owe the Lane Motor Museum a visit, but pay the extra for the basement tour. It is well worth it.

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NSU Supermax

Classic Velocity

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Neckarsulm Strickmaschinen Union (NSU) emerged from producing knitting machines and bicycles to motorcycles and cars. By the  mid 1950s, NSU had grown to become one of the largest motorcycle producers in the world. It directly translated great success on the racetrack with the Rennfox and Sportmax machines into showroom sales, as they amassed victories in sidecar, 125cc and 250cc world championships (see Of silver dolphins and blue whales). One of the best translations was the NSU Supermax.

The Supermax was introduced in 1953, and was designed by Albert Roder who had worked on the supercharged racing motors. It was a 250cc 4 stroke single, producing about 18hp at 6500rpm, and weighing just 384lbs. The innovative features introduced included a new "calm" air filtration system, and a chain driven overhead camshaft. At the time, these were somewhat ground-breaking on a production motorcycle. It also featured a four speed gearbox which propelled the machine to 78mph. Very respectable for a 250cc thumper. Brakes were drum front and rear, on 19 inch wheels. Other innovations included the monocoque pressed steel frame, and a short rocker front suspension.

The Supermax enjoyed very good sales, helping to propel NSU to become the world's largest motorcycle producer in 1955. They also held world speed records in 1951, 1953, 1954, and 1955, including breaking the 200mph mark for motorcycles at Bonneville. The Supermax model continued until it was replaced in 1961. 

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First Wankel

Classic Velocity

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In 1963 at the Frankfurt International Motor Show, NSU introduced the world's first production car with a Wankel engine. The Wankel Spider was designed by Bertone, but up front it had a passing resemblance to the Pinninfarina-designed Alfa Giulietta Spider. The car was basically an NSU Sport Prinz Coupe with the roof cut off, and a rotary engine mounted over the rear axle. This allowed for two trunks while maintaining the sporty shape and appearance, but the front trunk was small in order to make room for the radiator and gas tank. The rear sheet metal was modified from the coupe to allow for storage of the folding top, and the rear engine compartment. The two-seater interior was elegantly trimmed in two color leather. 

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The 500cc engine made just under 50hp, which was adequate at the time, given the 1500lb weight, but the high revving engine sounded like nothing else on the road. It was good for a top speed of 98mph. However, the materials used in building these first generation engines caused more rapid wear than anticipated, and problems began to surface once the cars were in the field. Engine rebuilds were common at 30,000 miles, although it took a while for most cars to get there. Handling, however, was superior. according to Autocar at the time, "The Spider is really most enjoyable on minor roads with lots of twists and turns, where its exceptional stability and cornering powers, together with the quick reactions of its rack-and-pinion steering, allow very fast averages to be maintained."

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Only 2375 were built, and only a paltry 215 made it to the US. Ironically, one of those 215 became the first Wankel race car, competing in SCCA H Modified. It is believed that the relatively high price, and low production numbers were evidence that NSU introduced the car more as a test bed for the rotary engine. An improved version was introduced in the NSU R080 sedan in 1968 (see NSU R080). 

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NSU Sport Prinz

Classic Velocity

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NSU introduced the small NSU Prinz in the mid 1950s as basic transportation for the masses. the company was dominant in the two-wheeled market, and has been featured many times in this blog. Like many, they wanted to compete with the VW Beetle, and appeal to people moving up from motorcycles and sidecars. Today we would call it a microcar, but it was just a small economical car at the time. In the late 1950s, NSU saw the possibility of a more upscale model. Italian Franco Scaglione of the design house Bertone produced the styling. This might explain why it had a passing resemblance up front to the Alfa Sprint Speciale launched in 1959, also from the pencils of Scaglione.

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NSU basically mated two single-cylinder Super Max engines together to form the car's engine. Initially, the 583cc two-cylinder motor was good for a claimed 85mph and 47mpg. Later, a 598cc motor was fitted which raised top speed to 99mph. The transverse-mounted air-cooled engine was rear mounted and performed reasonably well. It had a claimed 0-60mph time of 27.7 seconds, which seems absolutely dismal today, but it was faster than the VW Karmann Ghia, viewed as the main competition. It also featured rack and pinion steering, and a four speed manual. The later engine produced 30hp, but 33 ft/lbs of torque. Helping things immensely was the 1226 lb weight of the vehicle. Overall, the package was competent for its' target.

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The first cars were assembled by Bertone while Drautz in Neckarsulm Germany began to ramp up its capabilities. Eventually, the 3 year contract for Bertone came to an end, and Drautz produced the vast majority of the cars up to the eventual total of 20,831 by 1968.  The interior was relatively Spartan, although there were ashtrays and a glove box, and vinyl padding in places. The instrumentation was also basic, being dominated by a single large VDO speedometer. Other information came from simple dash lights. Behind the front seats was a parcel shelf, and potential room for small children (although without any padding . The Sport Prinz was a success for NSU, and was only ended to create manufacturing capacity for the new RO-80. It was a great example of a small, light, package with handsome styling, which began to diminish in importance as the automotive market demanded larger more powerful options. 

NSU Konsul

Classic Velocity

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In 1950s postwar Germany, NSU was well known for its motorcycles. In fact, it was the largest producer of motorcycles in the world. The NSU Konsul was produced from 1951 to 1954. It featured a dry sump four stroke single cylinder engine with pushrod actuated overhead valves. The model was produced in two variations, a 350cc (Konsul I) and a 500cc  (Konsul II). It had a four speed gearbox with one up and two through four down. The gearbox was also a right side shift more common to British bikes.

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Both models exceeded 100 kph, and featured telescopic forks, and Bing carburetors. Though no very successful, the Konsul II did have a competition version which raised output from 22hp to 33hp. Overall, 8247 Konsul I models were produced, and 5966 of the Konsul II by the time production ended in 1954. These were not big numbers compared to other NSU models, but the Konsul filled a key gap in the lineup of a company that was more like today's Honda. 

Sammy Miller Museum

Classic Velocity

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On previous occasions, we have commented on the tendency to locate impressive museums in nondescript industrial warehouses (see hidden treasures).  In the UK, the equivalent is a nondescript country road in the middle of nowhere. In this case, the middle of the New Forest in southwest England. There, near the town of New Milton, you will find the Sammy Miller Museum. Sammy Miller is a famed British motorcycle racer on dirt tracks, grass tracks, trials, and road racing ! Something that would never be possible today. He also started a successful business producing racing parts bearing his name. For his efforts, he is an AMA Hall of Famer, and has been awarded an MBE.

 

 

What started as a small collection of his own former racing bikes, developed into a much larger world class collection of machines that is among the most impressive that I have seen.  There are over 350 motorcycles in the collection, and although they span the globe, the vast majority are British. They also span over 90 years beginning with the early 1900s, but the vast majority are from 1910 to 1970. There are several broad distinguishing features in this museum. The first is the number of extremely rare machines. There is a surprising number where the placard reads "The only one known to exist", or "One of two existing. The other is in the factory museum".  These are marques I was never even aware of, much less seen. It is a reminder that there were hundreds of British manufacturers that were around for a few years, but did not make it. The innovative (if ultimately impractical) ideas for valve actuation, levers and controls, engine layouts, etc are fascinating. The second unique facet is the presence of a disassembled engine right below or next to the assembled motorcycle. It is incredible to see thimble-sized pistons, and attempts at overhead cams, going back well before they were in routine production. It is also incredible that the museum could find a second engine for 100 year old machines where only 30 were made in the first place!

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The motorcycles themselves are obviously the stars of the show. The staff suggested a route through the museum, and we followed it. You don't get 10 feet before you are stopped in front of a  1902 Bouton engine, a Clamil sprung wheel hub from the early 1960s, and a cutaway of a BMW R engine and a K engine. If you get beyond that, you can view several great examples of Ariels, includinng a Golden Arrow. There is also a magnificent 1929 Scott Pullin, which was probably my favorite motorcycle in the museum for its styling. Off to the side on the first floor, there are several rooms dedicated to a theme or a few marques. One contains a number of Vincents. Most think of Vincent as a producer of high end sporting machines, but the 1953 Vincent Firefly on display was a 50cc two stroke moped which cruised along at 20 mph! For someone with a minimal knowledge of British bikes, it seems like there are inumerable marques that I was encountering for the first time, or had only seen mentioned in books. NUT (Newcastle Upon Tyne), Rex Acme, Haythorn, Ratier, etc.

Other special rooms include the Norton room, a tribute in examples, to the rich storied history of the marque. My favorite in there was the F 350 racer with oil in frame, which was unfortunately never raced. However, many examples from military machines to a rotary were on display. It was easily the best quality display of Nortons that I have seen. Sammy Miller was a racer, and the racing room was as impressive as his racing records. Win after win, after win on many different machines. Highlights once again include a 1954 BMW RS54 Rennsport, and a NSU Sportmax (see Of silver dolphins and blue whales). Regular readers will know that when we encounter a place as rich as this museum, describing it in detail in words is not adequate. Even pointing out the highlights leads to an impossible mission, as there are too many notable items to fit within our typical format. To give you some indication, the museum publishes a book which captures a good chunk of the collection. Even so, you would need to experience the museum to get a good sense of how superbly they have fit that many rare and special motorcycles, and memorabilia into a compact space. Brilliant.

 

NSU Missiles

Classic Velocity

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Prior to WWII, Several of the German manufacturers, like many around the world, had discovered the allure of supercharging. NSU was one of them. Just as development was beginning to pay real dividends, the war interrupted efforts. After the war, supercharging became banned at the highest levels of international competition, but it was still perfectly allowable in national competitions within Germany. NSU applied its supercharging know how to the new 500cc version of its popular twin cylinder motorcycle. It was quickly competitive, and excelled in particular at high-speed venues. This caused a few people at NSU to think about developing a speed record breaking version of the motorcycle.

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Work began in earnest in 1950 when a supercharged version of the 500cc  Rennmax was coupled with a full fairing. It produced 100 BHP, which was roughly twice the output of the works 500cc in normally aspirated form. In April 1951, Wilhelm Herz rode the machine to a new record of 180.17 mph on the Autobahn between Munich and Ingolstadt. Herz said he could have gone faster but the overpasses created tremendous instability ! In spite of this, it broke the record formerly held by BMW. NSU also set other records including the sidecar record with Hermann Bohm, and the 350cc record. Later in 1954, Gustavo Baumm broke 11 world records for small bore machines from 50cc to 100cc. Baumm was a commercial artist, and the machines were of his own design using a recumbent position within the fish-like alloy fairing. They were dubbed the "flying hammocks".

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Following these records, rumors began to circulate that several manufacturers were going to attempt to break 200 mph. It was clearly within striking distance, but NSU was initially not interested, having several world records to its name already. However, NSU had also recently withdrawn from grand prix racing, and there was a change of mind (or some heavy persuasion) with respect to now pursuing another speed attempt. The idea was to combine the design of Baumm with the supercharged Rennmax engine developed by Walter Froede. In May 1955, NSU successfully broke 22 world records on the Autobahn once again, in classes from 50cc to 350cc using the new combination of engines and designs.  Unfortunately, Baumm was killed while testing not long after these records, which probably materially impacted the direction that NSU took in future years with its production motorcycles and cars.

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Despite the loss of Baumm, and in the face of declining sales, NSU once again decided to assault the speed records. They produced a new fairing design which cut the coefficient of drag from .29 to .19. They decided to spare no expense this time around, fielding two different designs. One design was dubbed the Baumm II, while the other was the Delphin III, an evolution of the early 1950s work by the factory. The chosen location for the attempt was the Salt Lake flats in Utah. To emphasize the significance of this round of attempts, NSU chairman Viktor Frankenberger travelled to Utah. On August 4th 1956, with 46 year old Wilhelmina Herz at the controls, NSU established a new record of 210.64 mph for the 500cc class. This broke the existing record by 25 mph, and the unofficial record by about 15 mph ! When the speed trials concluded, NSU went home with more than 50 new records!  The victorious machines then went on tour to help prop up sales, which seems are rather undignified end to a brilliant era of achievement in speed records at NSU.

NSU R080

Classic Velocity

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As postwar Europe was beginning to hit its stride in the early 1960s, NSU was thinking that it needed a larger sedan. It began developing such a car in 1961 even while the smaller NSUs were hot sellers in the showroom and popular in competition (see NSU TTS). True to their unconventional ways, NSU planned to utilize a new motor developed by a certain Dr Felix Wankel. You may have heard of him. The motor was lighter, and smoother than a conventional internal combustion engine, but what NSU found most appealing was its small size. This allowed designer Claus Luthe (who later went on to lead design at BMW) to create a very spacious cabin within a smaller wheelbase. A host of issues contributed to delays in the car getting into production, and it finally emerged in 1967, at the Frankfurt Auto show and was dubbed the NSU R080. The car had modern styling with a large greenhouse, and front facia reminiscent of Peugeot or Citroen (in my opinion). 

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The 995cc twin rotor motor gave nothing away to its competitors, despite the lengthy development period. It produced 115hp and propelled the sedan to 112 mph, and a 0 to 60 time of 12.5 seconds. Very good numbers for a 4 door sedan at the time. However, the R080 was a very modern car in many other ways as well. It was front wheel drive, and semi automatic, which really helped get the most out of the rotary engine, and made for good handling. It had McPherson struts up front and semi-trailing wishbones out back, further aiding the handling characteristics. It had a very good coefficient of drag for the time at 0.355. Lastly, it had 4 wheel disc brakes, including inboard discs up front to reduce unsprung weight. They also offered a superior warranty to calm any nervousness about the new type of engine. This combination of features, and space resulted in the R080 winning European Car of the Year in 1968, which was even more impressive given that production did not even start until very late in 1967. There was now a 4th German luxury sedan brand on the market.

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You would think then that NSU, and more specifically the R080 would be a household name among the enthusiast community, right? They were in great shape after a phenomenal start for their first "big" car. They had innovation, style, and good performance. They had critical acclaim. But alas, it was not to be. As many are aware, those first twin rotor rotary engines had issues in just about every vehicle in which they were installed. Problems included the rotor tip seals, manufacturing issues, and unfamiliar mechanics exacerbating the issue. NSU was plagued with warranty issues, particularly because they had been generous in that area. Rebuilds of the engine at 25000 to 35000 miles were not uncommon. They worked hard to correct the issues, and had them pretty much sorted out within a few years, but the damage had been done. Sales declined due to a reputation for being unreliable. This and other factors contributed to the purchase of NSU by VW/Audi in 1969, and the subsequent de-emphasis and then death of rotary development (and eventually the NSU name). The R080 soldiered on until 1977, and over 37,000 were eventually produced. 

Of Silver Dolphins and Blue Whales

Classic Velocity

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wikimediaIn the early 1950s, a number of German marques were battling it out both in the showroom, and on the racetrack. The one brand that was probably most often on the podium in the 1950s was NSU. They captured world championships in 1953, 1954, and 1955 with 125cc and 250cc machines, and won numerous German national championships and races as well. However, it was not just that they won the championships, it was how they won them that makes them of special interest.

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The NSU Rennfox and Rennmax engines were innovative masterpieces of the time. They resulted in part from an aborted 4 cylinder project a few years earlier. The knowledge and tricks gained from that effort informed the development of the new engines, guided by engine guru Albert Roder. The Rennfox was the 125cc single cylinder, while the Rennmax was the 250cc (actually 248cc) 4 stroke double overhead cam parallel twin. It revved to 11000RPM and produced 36HP in 1953. This combination allowed for a top speed of 131 MPH !! At the time this was unheard of for a 250cc motor, and is still pretty impressive today. However, producing a powerful motor is one thing, but making it last race distance is another. NSU had succeeded in crafting engines that were also very reliable. Part of the secret was bevel gears driving the cams and the use of superior materials. Another was a race division that was among the best in the world, housed separately from the factory. Soichiro Honda is said to have been heavily influenced by both the design and the organization of NSU.

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NSU also experimented heavily with aerodynamics. This was the era of fairings, and all of the manufacturers were trying to find an advantage by cheating the wind. Most just bolted on bikini fairings or full “dustbin” fairings. NSU was among those that tried a variety of configurations. In 1953 they used a bikini fairing along with an extensive front wheel fender. In 1954 they came up with a partial fairing enclosing the cockpit and handlebars, and incorporating a high “beak” over the front wheel. You would be forgiven for thinking that adventure bikes 40 years later took their inspiration from this proboscis. The distinctive shape and silver paint caused the bikes to become known as the Silver Dolphin. Later in the season, NSU developed a more complete fairing with strategically placed “nostrils”. Because of the blue paint color, these became known as the blue whales. In either format, they dominated. 

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One more component was in place which completed the magic formula for NSU, and that was a stable of riders lead by Werner Haas that seemed made just for the bikes. Haas in particular came out of nowhere to dominate in German races. He proved himself in his very first outings with NSU and soon became their top rider. From largely unkown in Germany in 1952, he became Germany's first motorcycle world champion in 1953, winning both 125cc and 250cc titles (only the second person to do this). He then went on to repeat as 250cc champion in 1954, winning every race entered, with Ruppert Hollaus winning the 125cc title also for NSU. These titles were earned despite withdrawal from the last two races following the death of Hollaus while practicing at Monza.

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NSU was ironically criticized for taking all of the competition out of racing by being so dominant. At the same time, Haas was considering retirement to pursue a service station business, and fellow rider Baltisburger (who was 45 !) was retiring as well. With the recent tragedy and these contributing factors, NSU decided not to mount a factory effort in 1955. Despite this, Hermann Paul Muller took his Rennmax to another 250cc title in 1955 at age 46 (!!) using the whale fairing. It is quite likely that NSU could have had a perfect season in 1954 winning every 250cc race, and that they might have repeated a win in both classes in 1955. In case that was not enough, they had already developed a 288cc version of the Rennmax which was winning races in Germany in 1954 and which was set to go after the 350cc world title in 1955 had things turned out differently. We can all speculate on what might have been, but it is certainly clear that the NSU dolphins and the whales with their Rennmax hearts dominated the small bore world in the early to mid 1950s....

Click this link for some youtube vintage footage of the silver dolphin at speed. About 1 minute in, there is a pretty clear shot of the bike, but other rennmax NSUs are also running.

NSU TTS

Classic Velocity

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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.

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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......

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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.