One would think that there was a close relationship between the NSU and the NSU-Fiat companies, but this is not the case. In the late twenties, the majority shareholder in NSU, Jacob Schapiro, held a number of different business interests. He brokered a deal wherein NSU of Neckarsulm would merge with his various companies, which promptly proceeded to go south. This deal caused grave financial difficulties for NSU, so it was decided that the recently built NSU factory in Heilbronn was to be sold. Fiat purchased the plant, which came with NSU shares and the NSU name. Fiat had no dealings whatsoever with NSU in Neckarsulm itself, as the Heilbronn plant and name was purchased from Dresden banks. Fiat, under the name NSU-Fiat, agreed to finish the remaining NSU cars in the new plant and then to manufacture and distribute Fiat cars from there. NSU in Neckarsulm would manufacture only two-wheelers until the mid-fifties, when they returned to car building with the Prinz.
During the thirties, NSU-Fiat at Heilbronn distributed imported Italian Fiats and produced German versions of the Italian Ballila, the Topolino, the 1100, and the 1500, which were bodied by local firms, mostly Drauz and Weinsberg. The Weinsberg roadster on the Topolino chassis was particularly attractive. Post-war, they built the 500C Topolino, the 600 Jagst sedans (171,355 examples), and the 500 Weinsbergs, as well as the 850 Adria, the 1100, and the 1400/1900 series.
In 1955, NSU of Neckarsulm was the world’s largest producer of motorcycles, but they saw the market going soft and began the development of a car that became the Prinz in 1958. To avoid confusion between the two companies, NSU-Fiat changed its name to Neckar, after the nearby river, although cars usually continued to carry the NSU-Fiat badge.
Text and images from RMauctions