Friday, 13 February 2015

1968, Cars: Car of the Year, NSU Ro80

The NSU Ro80 won the Car of the year award in 1968 with 197 points. Second was the Fiat 125 with 133 points and third the Simca 1100 with 94 points.

The Ro80 designed by Claus Luthe, was considered very modern at the time. With a large glass area and a very slippery shape, the car looked very futuristic in 1968. The low drag coefficient of 0.355 allowed a top speed of 180 km/h. Not only the shape was ahead of its time, the Ro80 was also technologically advanced, particularly the powertrain, a 84 kW 995 cc twin-rotor Wankel engine driving the front wheels through a semi-automatic transmission. The Wankel rotary engine was for the first time used in the NSU Spider (1964).
First Place: NSU Ro80
Second Place: Fiat 125
Third Place: Simca 1100
In September 1969 the rectangular headlights were replaced with twin halogen units, and air extractor vents appeared on the C-pillar behind the doors. In August 1970 a slightly reshaped plastic grill replaced the original metal grill. In May 1975 the rear lights were enlarged and the bumpers were fitted with rubber inserts.
NSU Ro80 1967
NSU Ro80 1969
By 1969 NSU was acquired by Volkswagen, and merged with Auto Union to create the modern day Audi company as it is known today. The last designed NSU, the NSU K70, was sold as the Volkswagen K70 (1970 – 1975).
NSU Ro80 1975
NSU Ro80 1975
Production of the Ro80 started in October 1967 and the last examples came off the production line in April 1977. In total 37398 NSU Ro80s were produced.

NSU Ro80 ZDF Autotest with Rainer Günzler (German, 1967)

NSU Ro80 1969 advert with "Der Kommissar" stars
Erik Ode as Herbert Keller and Günther Schramm as Walter Grabert

NSU Ro80 Top Gear with Quentin Wilson (English, 1994)

NSU Ro80 Brochure, Germany 1967
NSU Ro80 Brochure, Germany 1971
NSU Ro80 Brochure, UK 1968

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