Along with the Citroen DS, the NSU Ro80 was 10 years ahead of itself. Beneath that striking, wind-evading shape was an audacious twin-rotary engine, front-wheel drive, disc brakes, and a semi-automatic clutchless gearbox. In 1967, the Ro80 won the acclaimed “Car of the Year” award and went on to be hailed by many as “Car of the Decade.”
Having pioneered use of the revolutionary Wankel rotary engine in the Wankelspider roadster, NSU hoped to make a killing by producing a passenger car that would take full advantage of this exclusive engine. The result was the Ro80.
The long-established NSU car company was sold to Fiat in the 1930s, but the name was revived in World War II for production of the SdKfz 2, better known as the Kettenkrad — a small half-tracked all-terrain vehicle with a motorcycle front end.