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NSU Ro 80 ('67 '77)       WELCOME                                   updated: 23-07-2020

STAR of the Frankfort motorshow

The star of the 1967 Frankurt Auto Show, the NSU Ro 80 was a remarkable car. It was a revalation to the motoring world.  I think it could be fairly said that it was the first car of the 1990's, but in 1967. I It was not just the rotary engine; almost every aspect of the car was amazingly advanced.

NSU has a long history going back to 1873 when they made sewing machines!  Well, so what?  The forerunners of GM were making buggy whips! "NSU" stands for Neckarsulmer - the name of the town where the company was located (and the site of a major Audi plant) is Neckarsulm in SW Germany.  Later, they were suppliers to Daimler (Mercedes) Benz and became a major force (i.e.,one of the biggest manufacturers at the time) in motorcycles.

It has front drive, four wheel independent suspension, four wheel disc brakes (mounted inboard at the front), power rack and pinion steering, and body styling that took the rest of the industry decades catching up.

It has an incredible the era drag coefficient of 0.355. For the ride, handling and performance broke new ground for the period. It is actually a fairly large car with a 113 inch whellbase and length and width greater than some Mercedes of the period. The Ro 80 is very confortable,especially the back seat.

 Series production started October 1967: the last examples came off the production line April 1977. Just 37400 vehicles were produced during a ten year production run.  But today the Ro 80 is widely seen to have been way ahead of its time, in terms both of its engine and of its overall design. Technically, the car featured an exceptional low-vibration Wankel engine of 995 cc, producing 115 bhp.

That is comparable to a two liter conventional car engine. NSU presented a completely new model in the upper mid-size category, the NSU Ro 80. Its outstanding feature was a 115 bhp twin-rotor rotary piston engine. Its modern body featured styling elements that only became the norm in body design as said several years later. The NSU caused a major sensation, but was unable to help the Wankel principle make the breakthrough hoped for.

The Ro 80 had a top speed of more than 180 km/h / 112 mph. This website gives you all the information you want on the subject Ro 80, history, design, technical problems, buying and selling of cars and parts, all possible data and much more.

Revolutionary design of the NSU Ro 80, whose influence can be seen today

REMARK-- The only problem is that not erverything is translated in English yet. But help is on the way. YOU CAN HELP!! This site is not owned by one person, it can only exist by the help of many other Ro 80 enthousiasts. This site -then is owned by us all.--

In terms of overall design, the Ro 80 still resembles a modern car. The rounded form incorporates few straight lines. Many consider the Ro 80's body has one of the most convincing four-door car designs since the Second World War. Claus Lutheís design boasted a drag factor of just 0.355.  Road holding, using four independently mounted McPherson struts was outstanding. All round v isibility for the driver is unusually good even by modern standards. The interior is light, with a well considered lay-out. 


Standard power steering makes the car easy to manoeuvre. Under the steeply sloping hood, somewhere below the air filter, sits that famously compact water cooled two chamber Wankel motor, with the three speed gearbox mounted in-line behind it. According to the inventor of the motor, Felix Wankel, that gearbox was the starting point of critical drivetrain problems.  These were for the most part resolved by the NSU factory some time round the 1970 model year.



"NSUís first contact with Dr. Felix Wankel had been  in 1951 when it had sealing problems with rotary valves on  its racing motorcycles.  Wankel then developed extraordinarily efficient superchargers for NSUís 1956 record breakers, and these were the direct forbears of the rotary engine, which first ran at the factory in 1957.

NSUís right to this engine led to a good deal of speculative investment in the company, which also sold a license for its eventual use to Mazda.  The Japanese firm almost beat NSU into production with the Wankel, which had been unexpectedly difficult to refine, but diplomatically held back for long enough to let NSU launch the first Wankel powered car, the Wankel Spider in 1964, with a 60 bhp single rotor  engine in a shell derived from the sport Prinz, and proved itself to be very successful in a number of competitions, although
still rather fragile and thirsty as a true road car.

In the news section on frame main -mostly in Dutch--you can read of any ongoing changes to the website, and of the latest events in ďRo 80-landĒ. The webmaster anticipates a lot of future interest in the Ro 80. Surely the exceptional nature of the Ro 80 must become more widely appreciated. As well as having set the pattern for much of modern car design, the Ro 80 today is an excellent car for working on. In its day, the Ro 80 was an expensive car and one incorporating some high value components. If you are thinking of investing in a Ro 80, you would be well advised to contact an expert first.  That is something with which the webmaster of this site can help you. This website is intended to make the Ro 80 more widely known and appreciated. 


Take a bit of time to surf the site: if you still have questions, please contact me on

  if youíre looking for parts or advice. For addresses and telephone numbers, look in the menu above.


Left:  What was going on in Lahr -the birthplace of Felix Wankel-. Go and see the pictures now


    The Reason
It all started in 1987 when the webmaster read ďMarktĒ (the MARKETPLACE) magazine (pictured on the left), from this point on I was gone and I knew that had to have an Ro 80. Now even 18 years later it is still a source of wonder and the Ro provides a special experience everyday. Driving on main roads, seeing the astonished looks from others allows all the financial and restoration pain to be forgotten by the Ro 80 driver.

 I would love to hear from someone that is inspired to buy an Ro80 after visiting this site! Parts supplies are not as bad as you would expect, because nearly every Ro owner knows that he has something rare. Many are indeed beyond salvage but remain the source of parts for others. Very few have disappeared as a whole to the scrap iron press.

Wether you are inspired by the styling or the technology or both then the Ro 80 is resolutely the motor-car for you! It is not always easy but logical and sound engineering. If you fear the problems with the technology, then I can tell you that that it is better than expected and are better to work on than 'badly constructed' French or Italian cars, but donít take that too literally. However Ro's can rust too...  look.

It was the last NSU: In 1969 NSU merged with Audi, which was part of the Volkswagen empire, to become part of Audi NSU Auto Union AG. 
NSUís design for a conventionally engined partner for the Ro 80 was taken over by Volkswagen 
and launched in 1971, disastrously, as its K70.  With the successful smaller NSUs having already been phased out in late 1972,
the Ro 80 was the companyís only 
product and good though it now was becoming it was too little too late.  When  the Ro 80 went in 1977, the NSU name went with it."
  • ALL Ro 80 spare parts in request, aswell original or used . Nsu   ro 80


 Royalties Jan Hullegie 2012  update this page: 23-07-20