Introduced by Audi in September 1967, the NSU Ro 80 became one of the models that changed the automotive world with its innovative technologies. The model, which was born from the combination of the words Ro, which means rotary piston, and 80 used in the name of the type, had a great impact when it was introduced for the first time at the International Motor Show IAA held in Frankfurt.
GERMANS ARE SURPRISED!
Production of the NSU Ro 80 ended in April 1977 when the interest shown in the model, which stands out with its innovative design and engine, did not reflect on sales. Audi Tradition reminds us of this special design downplayed by the history of NSU. The Neckarsulm automaker backed the groundbreaking design effort with more than 80 pages of information, including a wealth of technical data, illustrations and details on the working principle of the NSU/Wankel rotary piston engine. . . All these contents; He pointed out advantages such as a lighter and more rigid structure, lower vibration and fewer components compared to a traditional piston engine. After five years of development, the Neckarsulm company introduced the NSU Ro 80 to the public in Frankfurt in September 1967 as the world’s first production car with a twin-disc Wankel engine.
New standards in technology and beauty
The sports sedan set new standards in handling, safety, comfort and performance. The Ro 80 stayed true to the “Form follows function” approach. NSU developed the prototype in a wind tunnel: It had a flat, low, slightly rising front and a high rear. Its wedge-shaped body produced a coefficient of friction of 0.35. Compared to his contemporaries, he had a highly creative look. The Ro 80 advertising posters showed mainly these characteristics: “Yesterday’s cars, today’s cars and NSU cars”. In 1971 this claim was formulated into a universal expression: “One step forward with technology”. This became the motto of the Audi company based in Ingolstadt, founded by the merger of Auto Union GmbH and NSU Motorenwerke AG in 1969.
The first German model to be named car of the year, the Neckarsulm company showed the courage to launch the Ro 80, a revolutionary car in many respects, and won the award for this courage. A year after its introduction, international business journalists named this NSU Ro “Car of the Year”. It was the first German car to win this award. However, the car was not a lasting commercial success. When the oil crisis in 1973 drove up gasoline prices, consumers were forced to turn to more economical vehicles. This marked the end of the rotary piston engine and therefore the NSU Ro 80. The car was produced at the Neckarsulm factory from 1967 to 1977. When the model was discontinued in 1977, the production of the Audi 100 had already filled the factory’s capacity. NSU Ro 80 said goodbye to bands with a total of 37,000 374 units. Today, NSU Ro 80 has loyal fans, just like the NSU brand. Many clubs organize regular meetings, trips and events, reinforcing the history of the established brand. One of these memorial events will be the ‘Fan Day’, which will take place on September 16 in Neckarsulm. Audi Tradition organizes the event together with Audi Forum Neckarsulm, Audi Club International and the historic motorcycle and bicycle museum Deutsches Zweirad and NSU Museum Neckarsulm. Every month until December, Audi Tradition will showcase different NSU models, including classic versions of the brand, prototypes and one-of-a-kind models on two- and four-wheeled motorcycles.
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