The NSU Ro80 is one of those classic cars that every petrolhead knows for one reason and one reason alone, its Wankel engine. NSU were actually the first car firm to mass produce a rotary engine of this design, paving the way for Mazda, Citroen and several other pioneers. It’s also a car firm notable for no longer existing, a pair of factors which conspire to make a full on, ground-up restoration of an Ro80 something of a challenge!
Said challenge was rendered yet more acute by the condition in which this particular car came to us just over a year ago, partially stripped with the vast majority of its component parts having been removed from the car and placed, unlabelled, in boxes. This presented us a number of problems when the shell, freshly painted, was rolled around to the assembly hall – namely working out which bits went where.
The solution involved sourcing another NSU to act as a donor car, and a complete but fundamentally rotten car has since been dropped off at Retropower HQ. It has since proved something of a godsend when it comes to assembling the Light Metallic Turquoise car, not least as it means we have a point of reference for the rebuild process!
The NSU continues to come together at the time of writing, with various powder coated chassis and suspension components in the process of being reintroduced to the car. The lights and glass area, among the Ro80’s most distinctive features, will be in place within the next few days, meaning we’ll then be able to move onto the interior and, of course, the installation of its Wankel engine.