NSU Ro80 - The Complete Story

Martin Buckley
Launched in 1967, the NSU Ro80 had modern aerodynamic styling, a technologically advanced Wankel rotary engine and was voted Car of the Year in 1968. However, after the initial positive reception, the car developed a reputation for unreliability, with problems arising as early as 15,000 miles and many vehicles required a rebuilt engine before 30,000 miles. Despite the company resolving these reliability issues in both existing and new vehicles, and offering a generous warranty, the damage to the car’s reputation was done. The NSU Ro80 is the most celebrated motoring lost cause of the second half of the twentieth century, outranking the likes of the Edsel and the DeLorean because, unlike those statements of misplaced optimism and ego, it was a good car. Not just good: the NSU Ro80 is one of the great saloons. Launched in September 1967, the Ro80 was an all-new four-door five-seater from a West German company that – post-war – had never made anything other than economy runabouts, motorcycles and mopeds. That alone should have been enough of a risk, but this was also the world’s first purpose-built Wankel-engined family saloon. This compact, refined and elegantly simple power unit was the first really new concept in the realm of internal combustion engines to achieve mass production for ninety years. A car like the Ro80 could only really have come from Germany, where there was a passion for research and a pride in engineering not found elsewhere in Europe. With front-wheel drive, superb power steering and four-wheel disc brakes, the car had top handling and driver appeal. Quite simply, it was a masterpiece, considered by many to be the finest vehicle of its type in the world. But with one fatal flaw: its engine.
With over 300 archive photographs, drawings and diagrams, this book tells the story of the NSU
NSU Ro80 - The Complete Story by Martin Buckley

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About the author

Born in 1966, Martin Buckley was brought up in Manchester and started writing about classic cars in the mid-1980s. He was been writing for Classic and Sportscar magazine since 1985 and is now senior contributor. He has owned upwards of 400 cars including five NSU Ro80s having bought his first in 1995. Martin has two children and lives in Gloucestershire with his wife Mia.



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