Hotz Company in Gemünden - Ro 80 graveyard        update: 19-09-2012    

 version 3

Sensational…                                                                      translation - Jaap Tijman Amsterdam

Nowadays the average Ro 80 enthusiast will not find much of his interest on the Internet. Occasionally a car passes by, if you are lucky even two. But on Friday evening 14 October 2005, we saw something extraordinary. No less than 25 were offered for sale on eBay! In a mix of German and English we read:
 A sensation! You bid for the free choice out of 25 available NSU Ro 80’s. Pick your choice from these recently discovered 25 cars, and approx. 4.000 kilo of spare parts. Almost every color and production year available, condition 4-5. These have recently been discovered sitting in a hall for about 25 years.

What to think of this? Not all the cars themselves were offered, but the right to choose one from the 25 available cars. Besides this astonishing offer we read: NSU Ro 80 - free choice from 44 engines. Imagine that - 44 engines! In the accompanying pictures we saw some rows of engines with some parts still fitted. Neatly arranged and labelled.

Somewhere near Wurzburg

This Ro 80 treasure was to be found somewhere near Wurzburg, in an old factory; the exact location wasn’t revealed. No phone, just an email address. The little pictures at eBay didn’t give any clues either. Some days before the auction ended additional information was added, amongst which a website address of the seller. People without internet connection were left in the blue.

44 Ro 80 Wankel-engines, some with gearbox - Sensational!

The troops mobilised!
The day after the revelation on eBay the troops were mobilised. But who had to go to find out about this treasure? Jaap Tijman wanted to go right ahead, his thought were already wandering through the graveyard. Gosewin Bos, doing business in Milan had difficulties entering the internet. Even Rob den Hartog, whose attitude is “I believe it when I see it” became awake. Mariejozee Geleick and girlfriend Rhian were also eager to participate in this event. We had to go there! But how? We still hadn’t any idea about the exact location, direct contact with the seller wasn’t possible and emails weren’t answered. All we could do was place a bid through eBay. On the seller’s website: ( ) - not active anymore- it became clear that an auction would take place the next weekend.

Childs party
On Tuesday 18 October 2005 the auction on eBay ended for both the choice of the first car and for the first engine. Our tactics worked: Gosewin Bos had brought out the highest offer for the first engine. He would therefore get in contact with the seller. That succeeded and it proved out that he was a friend of a car-wrecker who had got the assignment to dismantle all these Ro 80’s, due to the bankruptcy of the owner. A day later the webmaster succeeded in buying the second choice Ro 80 on eBay.
This man was both the Internet contact and the organizer of the sale by auction at 22 October. Because Gosewin had a childs party from which he couldn’t be missed that Saturday, he arranged that he could come over Friday 21 October to choose and collect his engine. After long negotiations the seller agreed in this and so Gosewin found out the exact location of where to go to.  The location was, as it happens, kept “Top Secret” up to Friday evening 18.00 hours. Friday evening the location would be revealed on the internet. At that time, Gosewin would be on his way home, and we knew now were we could find this Aladdin’s cave: in Gemünden!

The sale by auction had been planned for Saturday 22 October. Commencement 12.00 and viewing as from 09.00. Catering would be taken care of. There was also an opportunity to dismantle some of the cars on site, and only take the interesting parts. There were hardly any tools available, you had to take these along yourself. On the Internet site the program for this day was published. Several teams would compete in dismantling a Wankel engine, and the winners could keep that engine!

A mechanic of the former garage company would come that day to answer specific questions. Even an audio test was announced: have you ever heard the difference between a 2-spark and a 1-spark engine?!? A complete sound system to inform all visitors would also be installed. It all sounded promising, a Ro 80 party in which you just had to participate!

Gosewin Bos first to arrive there on Friday!
The benefit of a Childs party on Saturday… The auction was scheduled to take place on Saturday but as Gosewin was completely tied up with the Childs party that very same day, he arranged, but only after long negotiations with the seller, that he could come over on Friday.   Gosewin, accompanied with his whole family, was therefore sent ahead on Friday, just according to tactics. Both his sons found there a challenging playground, whereas Carla provided us with splendid photographic material. Valuable information was collected for those waiting in The Netherlands. What would be the best car? The webmaster, Jan Hullegie, was extremely keen to find this out? There should be at least one jewel amongst these gems, - ah, that just had to be. The webmaster had one in mind. Yellow with black rally-striping, which was visible in one of the pictures. Gosewin had several calls with Jan, in search of the yellow car, but it proved to be gone! With a partly dismantled engine (two-spark) in a way too small trunk of an Audi A4 Gosewin returned home


Driving through the night
Late that Friday-evening the first pictures came available through an email from Gosewin Bos.  An enormous amount of  Ro 80’s which appeared to have stood there untouched for years.
Well, not entirely untouched, local youth had left obvious evidence of playing around… They must have been jumping from roof to roof, and almost all front windscreens were vandalised. I’ll reveal later which other information Gosewin had to tell.
As the webmaster had won the second choice amongst the cars at eBay, we had to be at site before all other buyers and spectators would arrive. We had planned to be there at 08.00.
With the Audi (again too small, but again in style) of Rob den Hartog we -three Hullegie’s- and Rob took off 02.00 that Friday night. An car-ambulance to carry our dream car home was attached to the Audi. Thanks to the route-planner we made good progress, especially the last piece of our route through tiny and dark twisting roads of the Wurzburger-surroundings, heading for Gemünden.

Spooky Dawn

With the help of a printed aero-photo of the surroundings it was soon clear to us where we had to go. A red Ro 80 was found lonely and alone in the dark at a remote factory area. This had got to be the place! A small minivan overtook us, the driver waved to us to follow him. This proved out to be the mechanic. And than we saw the cars! An apparently abandoned factory hall, with some doors wide open or even completely disappeared, dark, wet and slippery. First impression? What a mess! No-one was visible and only one fluresent tube lit the factory.

And that silence......

Also - The Hotz company

Together with the mechanic we walked through the factory, which proved to be an absolute horror! The wooden floor was rotten and showed various deep holes! The mechanic told us that he used to work here for a company called Hotz. I wanted to know what the intention was of piling up so many Ro 80's? The answer was not really clear; the boss thought that Ro 80’s would eventually increase in worth. In the seventies the Hotz company converted our beloved cars from Wankel to Ford V-4 engines. With a fitting plate between the engine and the original gearbox, the gearbox could stay in place. Such a pity… The mechanic told us that several of these conversions were amongst the cars in the factory hall. And if I had to choose one, his advice was to pick out one with a V-4 engine. Yech! Being a ‘Wankelfreak’ this suggestion made me shiver from my bones… Converted Ro 80’s are much too noisy and don’t do justice to the uniqueness of the Ro 80.

There were cars standing here, which were so terribly rotten, that it became simply picturesque. Unique pictures were shot from three Ro 80’s that stood under a partly collapsed roof and wall. There was one very early Ro 80 present, with a black engine space, so probably 1967 - 1968. Parts were spread everywhere on the floor. Not one car had a leather interior, something I had hoped to find here.

(movie here was removed,  due to much traffic costs)

Where is everyone?
Soon we were entirely alone in in that immense space, it was almost surrealistic. You did not know where you had to look first, so much rust, chaos, decline and disorder gathered together. I didn’t believe my eyes. What had Gosewin done to his family to drag them to this graveyard! But in a way, it was beautiful. Beautiful pictures! But how to choose from this heap? The yellow-one I wanted wasn’t here at all. Which to choose? Gosewin Bos had marked a tizian-brown car which would have a ‘fresh’ engine. This one however was unmoveable built in with non-moveable Ro 80’s. We forgot to bring a caterpillar…. Unfortunately for the tizian, it had to stay

My eye fell now on a red 1977 one, with at least beautiful Fuchs rims. At least something good came out, I thought. On the dented roof was a beautiful pond of rain water, poured through the leaking roof of the hall. The smashed windshield was partly inside the car. But where were all the people? It was supposed to be a crowded day. What about the program, the music, the catering. It wasn’t until half past ten we noticed some movement. Somewhere in a corner two guys were making some kind of buffet with coffee and cake. We even thought we arrived one week too early… Were we that mistaken? No, no, that could not be possible.

Seller shows up
Around half past ten some people appeared, amongst them was the seller. Nice chap, who thought it would be a pity if everything had to be destroyed. He acted on behalf of the owner, a car-wrecker, and a friend of his. He found it strange that there were so few people, but day wasn’t over yet as he said. I agreed with him to take the brokat-red one with me to The Netherlands, and as a compensation for the fact the yellow one was gone, I got an engine free. This engine disappeared promptly in the trunk of the red Ro 80, and so we had a twin-engined Ro 80! But what happened to the yellow car, I wanted to know. It appeared that the wrecker himself had taken that car to his wreck yard to act as a sign for the Ro 80 auction.


A few weeks later I found this picture on the web, it proves that the yellow one was actually an orange Ro 80! The headlight of my red one in front is still OK here...

It took us a lot of work to remove the brakes from the red Ro 80, so it was moveable and we could tow it on the car-ambulance.

The auction
Around 12.00 it became more crowded, about 12 people were looking around. Many of these 12 were acquaintances of the seller. Mariejozee and Rhian also arrived with their minivan and trailer. This meant we could buy some more… some engines and some HKZ...??

The auction itself wasn’t going to be a succes, there were simply to few people around. You could just mention what you wanted to buy… Nobody seemed to be interested in one of the cars as no one placed an offer.  Due to the high price paid for old iron, offers below 200 euro weren’t even taken in consideration. 1275 times the price for one kilo of old iron…The car trailer to transport the cars to their final destination had to be full, as the car wrecker said. Multiples of eight cars therefore. Otherwise he had to find other cars to complete one trailer to eight cars… do you get it? He wasn’t to eager to sell just one car. Most of the cars were that bad, that it was not worthwhile to drag it out of its shelter. Afterwards I have now, however, my doubts. This hasty environment was also not good to do proper business in.

We left it at just one car, because it had such nice rims. We did pick out several engines to take along, gambling on the judgement of Gosewin, who had left marks on some of the better engines when he was here one day earlier. The real Dutch Teamwork! Nevertheless, some parts were sold that day, though very very few. Someone was struggling with a wing for over two hours, just to remove the edge. Another one was removing a complete interior. A pity it went this way, as it certainly wasn’t all scrap. Most people were shooting pictures as you can see with this article. 

Earlier that week some professional photographers of the German Magazine Motor Klassik took beautiful pictures for the article in their January 2006 issue “Rettungslos verloren” - Irretrievably Lost.
  Buy this magazine as soon as possible! Sofort kaufen!!

No-shaking Ro 80

Around 15.00 hours we had seen enough. In a small parade we headed for The Netherlands.

The Ro 80 was considerably swinging, or no-shaking on the trailer, as if it didn’t want to leave… Rob den Hartog wanted to have a clear vision of what was behind him and the trailer and therefore he had put the Ro as far right as was possible at the trailer. Perhaps a little to far? It is obvious that we had a good stop to enjoy the German kitchen. The brokat-red Ro 80 is completely dismantled, not many parts were usable, though the 31.000 km on the odometer proved to be actual. The bodywork was way beyond restoration and therefore scrapped.

A pity, as it was such a rare colour. The engine appeared to be stuck but it turned out to be the v-belts ‘melted’ on the pulleys. After repairing this we were able to take a compression test which showed 6 times 8.5 bar: pretty good! We will check the other engines in the coming months, but it will not be without a reason that they have been taken out originally to be replaced with a Ford V-4 engine.

The German Ro 80 club
The German Ro 80 club had been in negotiation with the car-wrecker earlier before this whole auction-idea was launched. Just as the club tried to settle an agreement concerning an organised salvage and dismantling of the cars, the negotiations were demolished by the representatives of the salesmen. They choose to sell the lot through eBay, hoping to make the most money out of it. I think that they thought that it was all gold shining in the shed, and they would make a large profit when people would start bidding against each other.

Eventually this is were it went wrong with all these parts. And because it wasn’t easy doing business, you had to struggle and negotiate firmly to get a certain part. You had to trust that goods offered were ok. All cars were removed the next Tuesday and went to the shredder, though I’m not completely convinced they all went. Perhaps here and there some parts will show up. .

But the sale by auction of 2005 was not the first contact between the German club and the company, which was at that time a Ford-garage. In 1988 Mr. Hotz tried to sell out his collection to the club. The Ro 80 club organised its annual member meeting in Gemünden, and the auction was scheduled for 15 may 1988, in exactly the same factory building as in 2005! Even then, the condition of the cars was very bad. But what can you expect after many years of storage in this swampy area? This first auction also was a disaster, as the valuer started with way to high and thus unrealistic prices for the cars. Only four or five cars were sold, which were scrapped by the club as it would be impossible to restore these to roadworthy conditions.

A few engines were sold, and some small parts. Not by auction, but by offering a minimum price. Comment of someone present there with the preview of the cars and parts: “To much junk and way to expensive.” The story of this first auction is to be found in the club magazine “Die Trochoïde”, numbers 21 and 22.

 The final conclusion.

What was it that went wrong? Was it the lack of quality? This was something you couldn’t tell from these tiny pictures that appeared on eBay. And now the only engine that was rescued proved to be good, it’s obvious that there must have been more good engines. Perhaps eBay wasn’t the right place to deal with this auction in such short time. Or perhaps lack of interest with the incrowd? Perhaps the German Club had to warn all of its individual members? Or was the German club obliged to make a better offer?

Michael Grieme on the forum of the German Ro 80 Club: “The cause of the sad scrappings lies not in poor information policies of the clubs committee, but is due to the fact that just very few people are interested in the Ro 80. Whether then at the Hotz-company or now through eBay. In particular the new generation is unfortunately missing. This is something the club must take into serious consideration. We have to start now, to find interest amongst young people, who will rediscover the Ro 80 and will see to it that it will survive in the coming decades

How about Jaap? He stayed at home.

And Gosewin? He had a terrific Childs party!

Jan, Léon, Felix Hullegie
Gosewin, carla, Daan, Ruben Bos
Rob den Hartog
Jaap Tijman also made this translation
Mariejozee en Rhian Geleick
Christian von Klösterlein

Stéphan Aubin

Fotoalbum HOTZ 1


03-01-06: Weeks later....    .......>>>  
Above you can see  what we made of the Hotz "brokat" 77er engine.
The rubber pipes on the exhaust entry were needed for cleaning purposes.

  • Who has more pictures and want to share them here? Mail please..
  •  Wer hat Fotos von dieser versteigerung?



A la Starwars: scroll please.

In GERMAN read the original eBay text.


Vor Kurzem wurden in einer alten Fabrik ca. 30 min von Würzburg entfernt 28 RO 80 entdeckt. 2 dieser Fahrzeuge sowie 1 Motor werden zur freien Auswahl über ebay vergeben, eine Vorabbesichtigung ist leider nicht möglich. Die Fahrzeuge befinden sich im Zustand 4+5+6. Die restlichen 24 Fahrzeuge sollen vor Ort meistbietend versteigert werden. Außerdem kommen 40 Motoren zum Aufruf, durchwegs mit 1 Kerze pro Brennraum, die wenigsten fest und oft mit Anbauteilen (Ölpumpe, Vergaser usw). Weiterhin folgende Gebrauchtteile oder schlecht gelagerte Neuteile:

18 Getriebe (teils mit Bremsen)
5 Hinterachsen
20 Federbeine
10 2-Rohr Auspuffrohre
5 Sätze Alufelgen
10 Ölpumpen
25 Türen
24 Scheinwerfer
18 Nebelscheinwerfer
40 Stoßstangen (teils ohne Beulen, die meisten ohne Gummi)
50 komplette Zündverteiler
60 Zündkerzen
40 HKZ Zündgeräte
15 Luftpumpen f. Abgasentgiftungsanlage
30 Rücklichtdeckel
15 Hauben (Motor und Koffer)
5 Lenksäulen
30 Seitenscheiben (teils color)
6 Fenstergummis, nicht zu spröde
6 Drehmomentwandler, rostig aber ungebraucht (mit Originalstopfen)
2 Kisten Zierleisten, teils unverbogen und nicht platt
Sowie jede Menge Kleinteile aus dem elektrischen und mechanischen Bereich usw...
Es werden auch Gebinde zu ersteigern sein.
Der Versteigerungstermin ist Samstag, 22.10.2005. Beginn 12.00 Uhr.
Besichtigung ab 9.00 Uhr
Es wird eine Möglichkeit zum Erwerb von Verpflegung geben.
Es besteht die Möglichkeit zur Demontage nicht mehr restaurierbarer ROs, aber es gibt nur wenig Werkzeuge vor Ort.
Bitte haben sie dafür Verständnis, das der genaue Ort erst am Freitag den 21.10. ab 18.00 bekanntgeben werden wird. Achten sie bitte deshalb auf die jeweils aktualisierte Webseite. Wenn sie uns eine e-mail adresse angeben, wird ihnen der genaue Versteigerungsort mit Anfahrplan und evtl. Neues per e-mail mitgeteilt.
RO 80,
Ein Rahmenprogramm ist angedacht.
Es gibt genug Parkmöglichkeit vor Ort, auch für Hängergespanne.