More experiences with the NSU Ro80

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Sir,
Regarding Mr. B. W. Ware’s letter on the NSU Ro80 I feel in fairness to the NSU that a comparison should be made with the later model.

I took delivery on January 1st, 1971, of a Mark III version which has the transistorised single plug engine. Having now completed approximately 16,000 miles in ten months I am in a position to be able to confirm Mr. Ware’s hopes that the later model is an improvement. In common with many early production models the NSU suffered design faults which appear to have been rectified, and with such a revolutionary design this must be expected especially as manufacturers are still having problems marketing a trouble-free piston engine after 70 years’ practice.

Included in my motoring was 2,500 miles on the Continent and, apart from changing the plugs, I could not have wished for a more enjoyable journey. The plug trouble was fully my fault as I had forgotten to put in hard plugs for the motorway and after averaging almost 100 m.p.h. on the motorway the soft plugs decided to give up. Referring to the price of the plugs Mr. Ware must realise that the two plugs required against the equivalent six or eight makes the cost quite reasonable. With trepidation I traded my 280 SE Mercedes against the Ro80 but I have never regretted doing so. Naturally I have had the normal troubles one could expect with a new car but Audi-NSU have in every case endeavoured to cure these. Mr. Ware must be aware that for a car costing approximately £2,600 the noise level, road-holding, steering and general comfort cannot be equalled. After owning most makes of cars I can honestly say this is the first time I would replace my present car with the same make and I am hoping that a 3-rotor version will appear in the near future.

I Should be interested to know what prompted Mr. Ware to buy the NSU in the first place. Prior to purchasing my 280 SE in 1969 I tried the Ro80 but decided to wait for further developments and studied the British cars available under the following headings:

1. Adequate power with suspension to match.
2. Room for myself, wife and three boys and holiday luggage.
3. Discs all round.
4. Power steering so my wife could also use the car.
5. Safety: after a crash in an 1800, front-wheel drive is uppermost in my specification.
6. Reliability.
7. Snob value.

At the time the Citroën SM was not on the market and is outside my price range, and the Pallas did not qualify under item 1, which left the Merc as the obvious buy, no British car being available under the headings listed. I should like to see other readers’ lists on what decided the purchase of their cars and this may show the British manufacturer why more people are buying foreign cars. As this is my first letter to any motoring magazine I should like to wish you strength in pushing our British Motor Industry to produce more advanced designs in the future, now that the Common Market is upon us.

J. B. Chapman.
Norton.

***

Sir,
I read Mr. Webb Ware’s letter with interest and I also read his earlier notes. My experience of the Ro80 may be of interest to you. I have had mine for two years, have now done 28,000 miles on the original tyres, which will have to be replaced within the next couple of thousand miles. Marina Garage, Bexhill fitted a new engine at about 7,000 miles and since then I have had no problems. There have been two irritating rattles and a rusty exhaust silencer. The latter was replaced by Marina Garage at a reasonable cost and both the rattles were on the exhaust system and have now been cured. Total servicing charges in the twenty-five months have come out to less than £50, the car is a joy to drive and is an enormous success,

Charles H. F. Cruttenden.
Maresfield.