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The NSU Prinz (Prince) is an automobile which was produced in West Germany by the NSU Motorenwerke AG from 1958 to 1973.

NSU Prinz I, II & III[edit]

NSU Prinz I, II & III
NSU Prinz I
Production 1958-1962
Assembly West Germany
Arica, Chile
Australia [1]
Body and chassis
Body style
Engine 583 cc (35.6 cu in) Straight-2 [2]
Transmission 4-speed manual
4-speed manual all-synchromesh[2]
Length 124 in (3,150 mm) [2]
Width 56 in (1,422 mm) [2]
Height 53 in (1,346 mm)[2]

The first post war NSU car, the Prinz I, was launched at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September 1957 accompanied by the advertising slogan "Fahre Prinz und Du bist König" ("Drive a Prince and you're a king").[4] After a pilot run of 150 preproduction cars, volume production began in March 1958.[5]

The Prinz I was available as a 2-door saloon [6] featuring an upright roof line and seating for four people. The doors opened wide enough to permit reasonable access even to the rear seats, although leg room was severely restricted if attempting to accommodate four full sized adults.[2] In addition to a luggage compartment accessed via a hatch at the front of the car and shared with the spare wheel and fuel filler, there was a narrow but deep full width space behind the rear seat sufficient to accommodate a holiday suitcase.[2]

The noisy[2] two-cylinder 600 cc 20 PS (15 kW; 20 hp) engine was located at the back where it drove the rear wheels, initially via a "crash" gearbox. Later versions gained a four-speed all-synchromesh gearbox. Contemporaries were impressed by the brevity of the maintenance schedule, with the engine, gear box and final drive operating as a single chamber and all lubricated by means of oil, added through a filler in the rocker box cover.[2] There were just two grease nipples requiring attention, positioned on the steering kingpins.[2] The engine was also commended in contemporary reports for its fuel economy and longevity.[2] Although noisy, the engine offered impressive flexibility, recalling NSU's strengths as a motorcycle manufacturer.[2]

The Prinz II was released in 1959 with better trim and an all-synchromesh gearbox.[7] A 30E export version was equipped with a 30 hp engine.[7] The Prinz III was launched in October 1960 featuring a new stabilizer bar and the 30 hp motor.[7]

NSU received government approval to build the Prinz in Brazil in the late 1950s, but nothing came of the project.[8]

NSU Sport Prinz[edit]

NSU Sport Prinz
Nsu Sport Prinz 1964.jpg
1964 NSU Sport Prinz
Production 1958 to 1968 [9]
20,831 produced [9]
Body and chassis
Body style 2-door coupe
Related NSU Spider
Engine 583 cc I2 [9]
598 cc I2 [9]

The Sport Prinz was a 2-seater sports coupe variant.[9] It was designed by Franco Scaglione at Bertone studios in Turin. 20,831 were manufactured between 1958 and 1968.[9] The first 250 bodies were built by Bertone in Turin. The rest were built in Neckarsulm at a company called Drautz which was later bought by NSU.

The Sport Prinz initially was powered by the 583 cc (35.6 cu in) Prinz 50 straight-2 engine but a maximum speed of 160 km/h (99 mph) was nevertheless claimed. From late 1962 a 598 cc (36.5 cu in) engine was fitted.[9]

The NSU Spider was a Wankel rotary powered 2-seater roadster based on the Sport Prinz platform.[9]

Sport Prinz, rear view

NSU Prinz 4[edit]

NSU Prinz 4
NSU Prinz cremefarben.jpg
Also called Ramses II (ET)
NSU P-1000 (URU, 1963-1964)
Production 1961-1973
Body and chassis
Body style 2-door saloon[10]
Related NSU P6 (Uruguay, 1963-1967)
Engine 598 cc air-cooled OHV I2[10]
Transmission 4-speed manual all-synchromesh[10]
Wheelbase 2,040 mm (80 in)[11]
Length 3,440 mm (135 in)[11]
Width 1,490 mm (59 in)[11]
Height 1,360 mm (54 in)[11]

One of the revelations of the Frankfurt Motor Show in September 1961,[12] the Prinz 4 replaced the original Prinz. Its new body closely resembled the then fashionable Chevrolet Corvair, but was of course much smaller. Like the original Prinz, it was powered by a two-cylinder air-cooled engine in the rear. The Prinz 4 was much improved and continued to be a well-engineered car, like its predecessors. The engine carried on the tradition of eccentric rod driven camshaft inherited from NSU motorcycle engines and interestingly had a dynastart (combined starter/generator) built into the crankcase. Later four-cylinder engines adopted the more conventional (pre-engaged) separate starter motor and alternator.

In 1968, Britain's Autocar road tested a Super Prinz. They had tested a Prinz 4 in 1962, and in commenting on how little the car had changed in the intervening six years quipped some of their road testers appeared to have gained more weight than the commendably light-weight Prinz in that period.[10] The test car achieved a top speed of 113 km/h (70 mph) and accelerated to 97 km/h (60 mph) in 35.7 seconds.[10] The home grown Mini 850 reached 97 km/h (60 mph) in 29.5 seconds in an equivalent recent test and also managed to beat the NSU's top speed, albeit only by about 3%.[10] At this time, the UK car market was heavily protected by tariffs, and the Prinz's UK manufacturer's recommended retail price was £597, which was more than the (possibly below cost)[citation needed] £561 asked for the 850 cc Mini, but certainly not completely out of touch with it.[10] The testers concluded their report that the car was competitively priced in its class and performed adequately.[10] They opined, cautiously, it offered 'no more than the rest' but neither did it 'lack anything important'.

Prinz 4

Prinz 1000, TT[edit]

NSU Prinz 1000/1000 C/TT/TTS
N.S.U. 1000 C dutch licence registration 45-47-ZV pic2.JPG
NSU 1000 C
Production 1963-1972
Body and chassis
Body style 2-door saloon
Related NSU P10 (Uruguay, 1970-1971)
  • 996 cc air-cooled ohc I4
  • 1085 cc air-cooled OHC I4
  • 1177 cc air-cooled OHC I4
Transmission 4-speed manual all-synchromesh
Wheelbase 2,250 mm (89 in)[11]
  • 3,760 mm (148 in) (1000 C)
  • 3,793 mm (149.3 in) (TT/TTS)
Width 1,490 mm (59 in)[11]
Height 1,364 mm (53.7 in)[11]
Successor Audi 50

The NSU Prinz evolved into the somewhat larger bodied NSU Prinz 1000 (Typ 67a), introduced at the 1963 Frankfurt Motor Show.[13] A sporting NSU 1000 TT (with a 1.1 litre engine) also appeared, which was later developed into the NSU (1200) TT and NSU TTS models. All had the same body with inline-four air-cooled OHC engines and were frequently driven as sports cars, but also as economical family cars as well. The engines were very lively, and highly reliable. Paired with the low total weight, excellent handling and cornering, both the NSU 1000 and the much higher powered NSU 1200 TT/TTS outperformed many sportscars. The Prinz 1000 lost the "Prinz" part of the name in January 1967, becoming simply the NSU 1000 or 1000 C depending on the equipment. It has 40 PS (29 kW) DIN, while the 1200 TT has 65 PS (48 kW) DIN and the most potent TTS version has 70 PS (51 kW) DIN from only one litre.[11] The 1000 received large oval headlights, while the sportier TT versions have twin round headlights mounted within the same frame. The first 1000 TT has 55 PS (40 kW) DIN and uses the engine first introduced in the larger NSU Typ 110.

NSU Prinz 1000

The NSU Prinz 1000 TT was built in 14,292 examples between 1965 and 1967, when it was replaced by the bigger engined TT. This, with a 1.2 liter engine, was built until July 1972 for a total of 49,327 examples. The TT can be recognized by its broad black stripe between its headlights. The TTS was built especially for competition, being successful in both hillclimbs and circuit racing. It has a front mounted oil cooler and was built in 2402 examples from February 1967 until July 1971. It was briefly referred to as the "Prinz 1000 TTS" when first introduced. There was also a competition model of the TTS available for sale, with 83 PS (61 kW).[13] Production of the Typ 67a (NSU 1000) came to a halt in December 1972.

In 1965, an even larger model was added, initially called Typ 110, and from 1967 on NSU 1200. It offered more space, so it was a better family car, but was not as sporty as the smaller models. Therefore, the NSU 1200TT used the 1200 cc engine of the 1200 in the smaller body of the NSU 1000.

1969 NSU TT

End of production[edit]

When NSU was acquired by Volkswagen in 1969, it was merged with Auto Union AG. Auto Union had previously been taken over by VW in 1964 and produced mid-sized cars, resurrecting the Audi marque. The name of the new company changed to Audi NSU Auto Union AG. The small, rear-engined NSUs were phased out in 1973, as they were far too competitive against Volkswagen's own Type 1[citation needed] and production capacity was needed for larger and more profitable Audis. The successor of the NSU Prinz was the front-wheel drive Audi 50, later rebadged Volkswagen Polo.

Related models[edit]

Under license, the Prinz was manufactured in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia, by PRETIS (Preduzeće Tito Sarajevo).

The Prinz was also manufactured in Argentina by Autoar, making mainly models Prinz II and Prinz III / 30. A total of 2.432 units were built between 1959 and 1963. It is told[who?] only 40-45 Sportprinz and a few Prinz IV (less than 10) were imported.[citation needed]

The Ramses was the first car produced in Egypt, and was the result of a co-operation between the new Egyptian car firm Egyptian Light Transport Manufacturing Company, and NSU. The factory was located right next to the Great Pyramids. Plans were to produce around 10,000 cars a year, most of the work being manual labor.


  1. ^ NSU Prinz sedan, 1960 Retrieved on 19 March 2012
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "Knowing Your NSU Prinz 30". Practical Motorist. 7 nbr 79: 709–710. March 1961. 
  3. ^ Die Chronik des Automobils, Chronik Verlag / Bertelsmann-Lexikon Verlag / Weltbild Verlag GmbH ISBN 3-86047-137-6, p. 347
  4. ^ "Not und Spiele: Die 50er Jahre...". Auto Motor u. Sport. Vol. Heft 13 1996. 14 June 1996. pp. Seite 58–65. 
  5. ^ Oswald, Werner (2001). Deutsche Autos 1945-1990, volume 4 (in German). Motorbuch Verlag. p. 392. ISBN 3-613-02131-5. 
  6. ^ Michael Sedgwick & Mark Gillies, A-Z of Cars 1945-1970, page 145
  7. ^ a b c 1960 NSU Prinz III, www.microcarmuseum.com Retrieved 9 February 2016
  8. ^ Shapiro, Helen (Winter 1991). "Determinants of Firm Entry into the Brazilian Automobile Manufacturing Industry, 1956-1968". The Business History Review 65 (4, The Automobile Industry): 897. doi:10.2307/3117267. 
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h Michael Sedgwick & Mark Gillies, A-Z of Cars 1945-1970, page 146
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h "Autotest: NSU Super Prinz". Autocar. Vol. 129 nbr 3785. 29 August 1968. pp. 18–22. 
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h Logoz, Arthur, ed. (1971), Auto-Universum 1971 (in German) (Zürich, Switzerland: Verlag Internationale Automobil-Parade AG) XIV: 140  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  12. ^ "Automobilia". Toutes les voitures françaises 1962 (salon Paris oct 1961) (Paris: Histoire & collections). Nr. 19: 74. 2001. 
  13. ^ a b Braunschweig, Robert; et al., eds. (9 March 1967). "Automobil Revue Modelle 1967/Revue Automobile modèles 1967" (in German and French) 62. Berne, Switzerland: Hallwag AG: 366. 

External links[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NSU_Prinz — Please support Wikipedia.
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