NSU Ro 80

1975 NSU Ro 80

Offered by Historics Auctioneers | Ascot Racecourse, U.K. | March 12, 2022

Photo – Historics Auctioneers

NSU was one of a handful of German automakers that restarted production after WWII. But they really didn’t get going until the late 1950s. In 1967 they introduced this large sedan powered by a Wankel rotary engine. Two years later, the company was acquired by Volkswagen, who eventually merged it into Audi, scrapping the NSU name after 1977.

1977 was also the year the Ro 80 ceased production after a decade and a total of 37,398 examples built. The car was completely out of left field – and in a good way. First, the engine: a 995cc twin-rotor Wankel rotary. It made 113 horsepower and drove the front wheels through a semi-automatic transmission that featured an three speeds and an automatic clutch that worked off of a vacuum system.

The car featured a very low drag coefficient, enabling it to hit 112 mph. The wheels were pushed to the corners, and the interior was appointed with a PVC headliner and carpeted floors. Unfortunately, early cars suffered all kinds of reliability problems that were eventually rectified for later units, but not before the damage was done. Fuel economy was also poor, and all of the warranty claims sucked up NSU’s cash, leading to the VW takeover.

This example is one of 45 registered in the U.K. and has a pre-sale estimate of $17,000-$21,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $10,785.