NSU Spi­der


Classics Monthly - - History -

Launched with much ac­claim at the Frank­furt Mo­tor Show in 1963, the NSU Spi­der was the first pro­duc­tion car to be pow­ered by a Wankel en­gine. The Spi­der’s 497cc rear mounted sin­gle ro­tor power unit pro­duced 50bhp at 5000rpm and gave this diminu­tive lit­tle two door roadster an im­pres­sive top speed of 98mph.

Based on the floor­pan of the stylish Sport Prinz, the NSU Spi­der fea­tured front disc brakes and the same trail­ing wish­bone sus­pen­sion set up at the rear as its con­ven­tion­ally pow­ered four­cylin­der sib­ling. Al­though re­li­a­bil­ity was def­i­nitely not the Spi­der’s strong point, its half-litre ro­tary en­gine pro­duced 52lbf.ft of torque at 2500rpm and this in­no­va­tive Wankel pow­ered roadster blazed a trail for NSU’s neme­sis – the twin-ro­tor pow­ered Ro 80 sa­loon.

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