I feel that I cannot start the New Year better than to write to you to add my praise of the NSU Ro80 to that of Mr. Chapman and Mr. Cruttenden.
I have owned and driven such a car for just over two years with complete satisfaction. My first foreign car.
I, too, await with eager anticipation the appearance of a three-rotor version. Certainly, at present, I would consider buying no ether car but the Ro80 or its derivation.
At this time of the year it is appropriate also to look back as well as forward, and in doing so I would like to pay tribute to NSU agents and distributors, namely Normand Ltd. and John L. Cars Ltd., both of whom have rendered me a quality of service previously beyond my imagination. Thank you, gentlemen, very much.
How pleasant it is, after some 20 years of more mediocre motoring to be so satisfied.
A happy New Year to you all and thank you Motor Sport for many years of enjoyable reading.
I have read with interest the correspondence concerning the Ro80 and before you close the discussion would like to add a few points of my own.
I bought my Ro80 in March ’70 with 4,500. miles on the clock as it had been a demonstration car first registered Aug. ’69.
I decided on a Ro80 in preference to a BMW Tilux, a Rover 2000, and Triumph 2000 which my short list also included, on the grounds that its driving position and comfort were near perfect (for me), its handling was very impressive, it had excellent power steering, road-holding and suspension. It is a very roomy car with real seats (not upholstered shelves) and a flat floor, an excellent all usable boot space fully carpeted out.
Driving the car, particularly over long periods is a constant pleasure, it is not a fast car by modern standards, nor is it very fast off the mark by the same standards but it has a certain ‘”magic carpet” feel about its progression.
So far it has given me very good service including towing first a 16 1/2 ft. Sprite Major Caravan and now a 14 ft. Bailey, tasks which it shrugs off with nonchalant ease and minimum fuss (no doubt partly due to its excellent torque converter giving, if needed, maximum torque at nil m.p.h. and also its immensely powerful power-assisted discs, all round). By its very nature the Wankel engine has a tremendous usable range of power and the car has the ability to pussyfoot around town never needing to exceed 3,000 r.p.m. in the middle speed range but once out on the open road the revs. soar up the scale, the exhaust note gets harder and the power really comes in above about 3,500-4,000 revs. It becomes very reminiscent of low flying! Its directional stability, especially in crosswinds is superb. It literally steers as straight as an arrow with minimum effort in the strongest crosswinds.
Criticisms and Drawbacks? Well, it averages 20 m.p.g. of 92 octane around town, 23 m.p.g. on a long run and 17 m.p.g. towing a fully laden van. These mileages have been scrupulously checked over the last 1,400 miles. The original engine developed a bad oil leak and was replaced free of charge at 7,800 miles. It is difficult to manoeuvre in confined spaces as the rear extremities are not visible and the front slopes away out of sight. The Wankel engine is still very much a freak in the conservative atmosphere of the UK motoring scene. I wonder for how long?
To sum up I consider the Ro80 to be a beautifully designed, carefully constructed, family saloon motor car with strong sporting overtones and a futuristic appearance. What criticisms I have are minor. There is no other car quite like it. I think it is a pattern for the future. I could write about it all day.
May I end by saying how much pleasure your publication has given me over the past 25 years. Please continue.
T. C. Walker.