1975 NSU RO80
Lot 242
1975 NSU Ro80 Saloon Chassis no. 0841000725 Engine no. XM205491
Sold for £4,830 (US$ 8,118) inc. premium
Lot Details
1975 NSU Ro80 Saloon
Registration no. HLR 322N
Chassis no. 0841000725
Engine no. XM205491


  • NSU stunned the motoring world when it introduced the first rotary-engined production car - the Wankel Spider - in 1963, but at that time Dr Wankel's rotary piston concept was ahead of the available technology, and the engine was be-devilled by rotor tip sealing problems. Four years later NSU followed up with the twin-rotor Ro80 saloon, one of the great might-have-beens of the 1960s. The Ro80's stunning, aerodynamically efficient lines were under-pinned by an impressive specification: all-independent suspension, four-wheel disc brakes, power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering and semi-automatic transmission with full manual control, and its 110mph performance was perfectly complemented by excellent ride and handling. Sadly, NSU's new owners Volkswagen killed off the Ro80 in 1977 after 37,000 had been built, leaving Mazda to fly the Wankel flag and prove that the rotary engine had a future after all.
    This particular example was used extensively for its first five years, during which period the original engine was replaced, and had covered a little over 60,000 miles when it was acquired in 1991 by Mr Roy Turner, the immediately preceding owner having stored it, with minimal use, for some ten years. Mr Turner sent the car to Ro Technics of Winkfield, Berkshire for re-commissioning and kept a record of this and all subsequent works (on file). These included restoration of the wings and a full re-spray in original Agate Brown (1994), complete clutch and gearbox rebuild (1997), new radiator, new rear shock absorbers and a carburettor overhaul (2002) and refurbishment of the rear brake limiter (2004). Other noteworthy features include a part stainless steel exhaust system, electric slide and tilt sunroof and Jaguar electric mirrors. Also most useful for winter use the NSU is fitted with a "Cold Start" emmersion heater to heat the water to working temperature prior to starting the engine therefore also reducing engine wear.
    In June 2007 the NSU was purchased by ex-Autocar journalist Ronald 'Steady' Barker, who has driven it only 500 miles since then. Benefiting from a recent service by Pryton Engineering of Swindon, Wiltshire, which included a new diaphragm vacuum clutch and clutch servo plus ignition system, the car drove superbly on a recent test run, cruising comfortably at 100mph (on private land) with no noise, excess play or other worries. A superb example of this sought after modern classic, 'HLR 322N' is offered with a good file of history containing maintenance records, sundry bills, a quantity of tax discs dating back to 1978, MoT to March 2013 and Swansea V5C registration document.
  1. Rob Hubbard
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