196? NSU 110 – $1500

“Early sixties I think, runs good, needs clutch pedal repair. Call Jack: 604-723-4934”

Well, apparently karma has come knocking on my door in the form of a completely fried clutch that has left one of (newer) family vehicles completely devoid of the ability to make forward progress. Such is the price of not updating the blog for a week. So, lest a vehicle I feel slightly more strongly about take a liking to its friend’s immobile status, I best bring CYSB back to the fore of my priorities! And what better to do that with than something from good old West Germany that hails from the era of the commie threat, Rusky movie villians, and a socio-political movement that saw the youth of a nation tearing walls down rather than putting tents up. Although undetermined in actual age, this NSU Type 110, by nature of its very existence, must have been made sometime in the short (er… one year) span between  1965 and 1967, as the car hadn’t been created in 1964, and underwent a formal name change in 1968, becoming the NSU 1200. Slightly larger than the better known Prinz, the 110 was NSU’s earlier take on a bigger format of automobile, with the only other (and subsequently hereafter known as “later “) take being the Ro 80 of 1967-77. Powered by a downrated version of the same engine that would find its way beneath the trunklid of the peppy NSU Prinz 1000 TT, the 1,085 cc four cylinder that motivated the NSU 110 produced an advertised 52 horsepower, but certainly won’t be the most interesting feature of the car for any potential owners. No, it’ll probably be the fact that just like the Prinz and wildly successful Beetle of the same era, the engine in the 110 is to be found within the trunk. An attempt to increase traction by locating the engine squarely over the drive wheels, the move led to the car being lauded as a pretty good performer, but criticized as particularly vulnerable to high speed cross winds such as those found on the autobahn.

Now, this particular one certainly won’t suffer from that particular problem because A) it, nor we, are in Germany and B) it doesn’t look like it’s going to be seeing high speed anything for a while. Certainly one of the roughest cars we’ve seen on CYSB, I’d not have featured it if it weren’t for the undeniably alluring combination of the car’s relatively low price, obscure manufacturer, bizarre layout, and, believe it or not, undying reputation for reliability. Although parts are probably nigh impossible to source, NSU’s have enjoyed an almost Eastern Bloc-like status as some of the toughest and longest-lived little cars on the planet due to both their excellent design and ridiculously stoic manufacture. Take, for example, the car’s underside. Typically one of the most rust-prone areas you’re liable to find on a car made of mid-sixties steel, NSU’s are usually nearly rust free thanks to an a zinc coating that nearly amounts to galvanizing the entire underside. Likewise, the mechanics of the cars are both simple and robust, with NSU once claiming that a clutch could be changed on a 110 in just 30 minutes. When it comes to this particular car, however, I’d be more concerned with how long it would take to find interior door panels and new seat covers as it looks as if the interior will need some TLC. But, if you’re the type that wants something truly different, but preposterously Teutonic in nature, this might be just the car.

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