Have You Ever Driven...The NSU Spider
THE CABRIOLET VERSION of NSU’s Sport Prinz was not only able to transform a plain looking saloon into something of beauty; it also boasted a first in the automotive world.
From 1964-67 the NSU Motorenwerke AG produced 2,375 versions of the Spider and its claim to fame was to be the first production car to be fitted with a Wankel Rotary power plant.
Mounted in the rear (the norm with this German manufacturer) the single rotor unit of around 500cc offered 90mph and could rev to 8000rpm but was tuned by Rennsport to 96bhp at 12,000rpm. Weighing in at 1600lbs and smaller than an MX5 the Bertone design was often seen on the race tracks and hill climbs of Germany during the sixties and one took a championship second at SCCA races in America. With the radiator and fuel tank mounted at the front for weight distribution and all round independent suspension the Spider received a good reputation for its handling abilities. Braking through front discs and rear drums was reputed to be ample in this light sportster running on 12 inch rims; all round they must be a memorable experience behind the wheel.
Owned or driven one? Let me know! Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Fordie's Favourites, from p. 19 of issue March 2016
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