Photo: Ralf Kremlitschka
Vintage car in the spotlight
NSU RO 80
With its technology and extravagant design, the NSU Ro 80 was considered a pioneer and became many people’s dream car – after all, the Ro 80 was the world’s first saloon to feature a Wankel engine and the first passenger car with a twin-disc Wankel engine. Claus Luthe’s pioneering body design was also particularly popular, impressing with its outstanding drag coefficient and first-ever use of a wedge-shaped design.
The NSU Ro 80 celebrated its premiere at the 1967 Frankfurt IAA, meaning it belongs to the era of NSU AG. In the same year, it was voted “Car of the Year”: It impressed with modern engine technology and a futuristic shape. Two years after the appearance of the Ro 80, Audi and NSU merged to form Audi NSU Auto Union AG. That year also saw the equipment package expanded to include a thyristor ignition and one (instead of two) spark plugs per combustion chamber, followed by the introduction of more wear-resistant sealing strips in 1970. Another year later, the Ro 80 was updated to include an exhaust gas purification system with air injection and an afterburner.
>The vehicle in the ZeitHaus collection is an NSU Ro 80 (production year 1977) painted in Copper Metallic (L95F) from Audi NSU Auto Union AG. With an output of 115 PS at 5,500 rpm from two times the capacity of 497.5 cm3 and a twin-disc Wankel engine, the Ro 80 reaches a top speed of 180 km/h. At that time, the price for a new vehicle started from 22,700 DM.
During its ten-year production period from 1967 to 1977, a total of 37,398 models were sold. However, the impact of the Ro 80 remains to this day. Claus Luthe’s wedge design for the Ro 80 made a lasting impression on future generations of designers. The basic contours of its body design are still very current today.