1922 NSU 351cc
Frame no. 412229
Engine no. 43579
Yet another motorcycle manufacturer with its roots in the bicycle industry, NSU built its first powered two-wheeler in 1900. The firm had originally been founded in Neckarsulm, Germany by Christian Schmidt to manufacture knitting machines, its initials standing for Neckarsulm Strickmaschinen Union. Zédel proprietary engines were used initially but within a few years NSU was making its own power units and was one of the first manufacturers to fit two-speed transmission. Designed by its late founder's son, Karl Schmidt, the first all-NSU model of 1903 was powered by a 329cc engine rated at 2½hp and would turn out to be a huge success by the standards of the day, in excess of 2,000 being sold up to 1905. The marque established a strong presence in the UK market, ranking second only to Indian among imported makes prior to WWI.
NSU recommenced motorcycle manufacture at the war's end with a range of 1914 models, pending the arrival of new designs. First seen in 1920, these were a 351cc single and 495cc v-twin, both of which were powered by 'F-head' (inlet-over-exhaust) engines. The 495cc twin was updated the following year when it was joined by a 995cc v-twin featuring a three-speed gearbox and all-chain drive. Although they were new designs, these early post-war NSUs represented the company's past rather than its future, and as the 1920s progressed they gave way to a new line-up powered by sidevalve motors, commencing in 1924 with the 251R.
The machine offered here is an example of the 351cc (3PS) two-speed model, 3,280 of which were manufactured between 1920 and 1923. Previously owned in Denmark, it was purchased at Mannheim, Germany in 2007 and comes with Danish paperwork dating from 1982 and a photograph taken prior to its restoration. The machine is equipped with an acetylene headlamp and generator manufactured by Ernst Jal Arnold, Dresden.