The NSU TT – a second look

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Being a journal with an enthusiast orientation, Motor Sport perhaps has more than a fair share of the high-performance and luxury machines available, the past few weeks being no exception. Giving my superbly reliable and comfortable Cortina 1600E a well-earned rest, I jumped at the opportunity to drive an Alfa Romeo 1750 GTV, which one cannot praise enough, and following a most enjoyable weekend in this Italian thoroughbred, General Motors’ 1.9 Opel GT became the order of the day until a telephone call from NSU down in Sussex informed us of the pending arrival of their 1200 TT.

Whereas the previous model we tested back in December 1968 was a trifle tatty in appearance, this latest model arrived with only 2,500 miles on the clock and gleaming red paintwork which set-off the black trim of the interior. The first impression one gets when preparing to move off is the awkwardness of the pedals which are high and set-off, with a gear-shift which is sloppy and long in travel, but by the same token is quick and light in action. Instrumentation is confined to a 110 m.p.h. Vdo speedometer with miniscule tachometer and fuel gauge on either side. Four push-buttons to the right of the facia control the sidelights, headlights, and left- and right-hand side parking lights, whilst a rubber switch operates the windscreen washer and 2-speed wipers. A rather crude cigarette lighter is fitted which has a nasty tendency to deposit hot-ashes onto one’s right leg.

Following so quickly after the aforementioned models one would assume the 1200 TT would be rather an anti-climax, but make no mistake, this far from handsome creature is no sloth with acceleration comparable to that of a Cortina GT, and speeds of 30, 50 and 75 m.p.h. indicated in the lower gears, although the s.o.h.c. air-cooled engine is noisy when using maximum revs through the gears. Cruising at the legal limit sees only 4,300 revs indicated, with the red line on the tachometer coming in when 6,800 revs are reached.

The handling of the 1200 TT is similar to that of a Sunbeam Imp Sport, and this leaves a critical margin between adhesion and “a moment”, although the 135 x 13 Continental radials in general gave good road-holding even in the wet. The seats are large and comfortable, the cloth covering being most acceptable, and priced at £924 the NSU 1200 TT represents jolly good value for money, and must be one of the most nippy cars available in the small-car market—H.G.W.

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