Feature Listing: 1965 NSU Spider

Feature Listing: 1965 NSU Spider

While Porsche’s upstart 356 and the breathtaking Mercedes-Benz 300SL were Germany’s first real post-War sports cars, they weren’t the only attempt to capitalize on the economic recovery. But far from being just a recovery, West Germany’s “Wirtschaftswunder” – economic miracle – aided by the Marshall Plan and a focus on strengthening the border states of the ‘Iron Curtain’ meant that capitalism manifested itself in new ways. Cashing in on a re-emerging middle class with newfound wealth and prosperity, companies like BMW and Volkswagen launched new sportier versions of their small, economical sedans. The 700 Coupe and Karmann Ghia, launched in 1959 and 1955 respectively, might not have had the power of Porsche or the Gullwing, but still brought sport and style to a much larger market. Both designs utilized existing technology to create a rear-drive, rear-engine two-seater that still was budget friendly.

However, they weren’t alone in the market. Auto Union’s main production lines in Chemnitz lay firmly in Soviet control, so it was the DKW brand which shouldered the responsibility of rebuilding the company. That would bear the 1000SP in the late 1950s – a lovely, but not particularly sporty, personal coupe and convertible. Prior to its merger with the Volkswagen Group in 1969, though, NSU – a firm more known for its pre-War motorcycles – had ventured into small sports cars. The result was the legendary Prinz and TT models; small, efficient, fun to drive rear-engine sedans. NSU branched out in 1964 and offered the world’s first rotary-powered limited production convertible in an attempt to ascertain if the technology was applicable to normal production. With technically a mid-rear design, it was a revolutionary alternative to the BMW 700:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1965 NSU Spider on San Diego Craigslist

1966 NSU Wankel Spider

1966 NSU Wankel Spider

Here is an example of the first vehicle in the world powered by the engine Mazda would later popularize, the Rotary Wankel engine. The name Wankel derives from its inventor, Felix Wankel, who was a German engineer. He created the first prototype of his revolutionary engine design in February 1957, and was first presented in running form in a converted NSU Prinz in 1960. The Spider would debut in 1964 and only 2,375 examples were built between 1964 and 1967. The original engine had around 50 horsepower, but it was a very free revving engine and made for a lively package in such a small car with light weight. NSU Motorenwerke AG was purchased by Volkswagen in 1969. They merged the company with Auto Union which later became Audi.

The seller includes a very comprehensive description. Here is an excerpt:

Excellent Condition!! This car has ALWAYS been stored indoors in a heated space and covered with double quilted car covers. The underside is very, very clean. The photos show a very small area of paint peeling above the rear left bumper and below the license plate. These are hardly noticeable. In the driver’s front under tray there is a hardly noticeable repair at the end of the spoiler.

Values can be tough to pin down on such a rare vehicle, but $19,000 seems reasonable for such a revolutionary and historically significant vehicle. Rest assured, you most likely will be the only one at your local car show with one of these. This example does have a few modifications, but these changes can be forgiven due to the scarcity of parts and efforts to make the vehicle more reliable than when it was first produced. This fantastic vehicle has been featured by Jay Leno in a short video on his website, Jay Leno’s Garage:

-Paul…