Photographer's Note

My city Ostrow Wielkopolski - Market Square.
XVI Historic Vehicles Rally July 2018.

Presents the NSU Spider.

The NSU Spider is an automobile which was produced by NSU Motorenwerke AG from 1964 to 1967.

The Spider was the first Western production car in the world to be powered by a Wankel rotary engine. The water-cooled single rotor engine and standard front disc brakes differentiated the car from other cars of similar type of the period. The body was designed by Bertone.

Rotary engine
Invented by Felix Wankel, the Wankel engine differed from a piston engine because the quasi-oval design of the combustion chamber, containing a rotor that ascribed within the chamber an epitrochoid shaped trajectory, enabling the combustion pressure to be converted directly into a rotary motion. There was no need to lose energy converting reciprocating movement into rotational movement. The result was a remarkably compact free-revving engine which, in the 1960s, was hailed by some[who?] as the next major step forward in automobile design. It was later found that the characteristics of critical materials selected and applied by NSU to build production rotary engines were inappropriate to the stresses they would bear, and rotary-engined cars earned a reputation for unreliability. Engines required frequent rebuilding to replace worn apex seals, and warranty costs associated with installation of the engine in NSU’s second Wankel-engined model destroyed the financial viability of NSU, forcing a merger with Audi in 1969. The only large-scale automaker to persist with the rotary engine—and then only for niche models—was Mazda: piston engines continued to dominate the world’s automobile engine bays. These events were not foreseen during the Spider’s production period.

Claimed output was initially 50 bhp (37 kW) at 5,500 rpm, though in later models 54 bhp (40 kW) at 6,000 rpm was advertised.

The rotary engine was installed above the rear axle, being compact, light and free revving in comparison with conventional piston engines of the time. By ignoring the manufacturer's recommendations it was possible to rev the engine briefly above 7,000 rpm in the lower gears and thereby to achieve a 0 – 100 km/h (0 – 62 mph) time of 14.5 seconds: other sources, presumably based on following the manufacturer's recommendations, give a time of 15.7 seconds.

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Additional Photos by Krzysztof Dera (Fis2) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 11478 W: 163 N: 19288] (141676)
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