Futuristic, aerodynamic, stylish: The NSU Ro 80

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The NSU Ro 80 is the first German automobile crowned "Car of the Year 1967“.

Futuristic, aerodynamic, stylish: The NSU Ro 80

After the merger in 1969, the Audi 100 and NSU Ro 80 were manufactured in Neckarsulm.

Even the name is special: Ro 80 – Ro stands for rotary piston, and 80 is the type designation. When first unveiled at the IAA International Motor Show in September 1967, the NSU Ro 80 astonished the automotive world. NSU connoisseur Klaus Arth described it this way: “Many visitors don’t know what to admire first. The futuristic shape, the extravagant drive, or both”. The car inspired the public but did not result in a sales hit, so the last NSU Ro 80 rolled off the production line in April 1977. In this second episode of the series on the history of NSU, Audi Tradition presents this model.

The NSU Ro 80 in sepia, 1969.
A factory that produces a new car is almost always inclined to believe it is the “most beautiful, the fastest, the most economical, the most modern – in short, the ideal car.” With these words, the NSU Motorenwerke AG announced its new model in the run-up to the 1967 IAA, only to continue more modestly: “We at NSU are also quite proud of our youngest child, but we make a point of avoiding superlatives in any form – instead, we limit ourselves to expressing an assumption: This is a good and, most certainly, an interesting car.”