1908 NSU 3½hp
Lot 13
1907 NSU 460cc Frame no. 163550 Engine no. 11192
Sold for £13,800 (US$ 22,814) inc. premium
Lot Details
1907 NSU 460cc
Registration no. FT 54
Frame no. 163550
Engine no. 11192
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. A host of different models was introduced up to the outbreak of war, including a range of v-twins in various sizes. The marque established a strong presence in overseas markets, being exported widely throughout Europe and even to the USA. Prior to WWI, NSU ranked second only to Indian among imported makes in the UK.

This single-cylinder NSU was gifted to the current vendor in April 2001 by previous owner Peter Guest (see letter on file). Before him the machine had belonged to one John Everard Storey of St Margaret's Bay, Dover, who acquired it in May 1967, while further accompanying correspondence (dated 1958) indicates that the machine was owned at that time by a Squadron Leader H K Knight of Aldershot, Hampshire. Peter Guest missed the 1983 deadline for registering the NSU with the DVLC (as it then was) and had to resort to writing to his local MP, who successfully interceded on his behalf with the Department of Transport to retain the original registration 'FT 54'. Related correspondence is on file.
Restored at date unknown, the NSU was ridden by Peter Guest on the Pioneer Run in 1968 and 1972 (programmes on file) and also on the Sittingbourne & District Motor Club's Annual Rally in 1972 and 1973. On display in the Dover Transport Museum in recent years, the machine is offered with old-style continuation logbook (issued 1967), assorted correspondence and photographs, two expired MoTs (1971-1972, 2000-2001), Pioneer certificate and old-style Swansea V5 registration document.

Saleroom notices

  • It has not been possible to locate the frame number.
Auction information

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