NSU-Fiat was a German automobile manufacturer which produced Fiat vehicles under license at a plant acquired from NSU in Heilbronn from 1929 to 1957.
In 1957, following a complicated litigation process over the right to use the by now increasingly high profile "NSU" name on passenger cars, the name used for the Fiat-designed cars was changed to Neckar, and with this name the company continued to produce Fiats in Germany until 1971.
Neckar was in the late 1950s producing fewer than 25,000 vehicles a year, Fiat 500 (Neckar Weinsberg), 600 (Neckar Jagst) and 1100 (Neckar Europa) slightly modified, often more luxurious and sporty than the Fiats produced in Turin.
The launch of the Fiat 1500 in 1961 and of the Neckar Panorama (derived from the Autobianchi Bianchina) allowed Neckar to reach a yearly production of 50,000 units in 1962. A coupe derived from the 1500 and called the Neckar Mistral was designed. A coupe and a convertible based on the Fiat 600 was produced as the Neckar Riviera. The Fiat 850 (as the Neckar Adria) was the last model produced by Neckar.
Text from Wikipedia
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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
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NSU started out as a manufacturer of knitting machines in 1873. Then came bicycles, and not only complete bikes, but also parts for other companies. At that point the name NSU was created, just taking three letters from the name Neckarsulm, the town they were located in. In 1905, the first NSU cars were built, and some were even used (succesfully) in racing.
In the 1928, the manufacturing of cars was stopped. Fiat acquired the rights to the NSU name from a company which had run into severe financial difficulties.
The FIAT company "NSU Automobil AG" started building NSU cars again in 1957, at the same time the then called NSU Werke AG did the same with the (then) new Prinz. This lead to much confusion, and in 1959, the FIAT cars where marked NSU/FIAT. In 1960 the NSU company was renamed to "NSU Motorenwerke AG".
Autobianchi was a partnership between the three Italian companies of Bianchi, Fiat, and Pirelli. Utilizing Fiat platforms, they provided the consumer with an upgrade over the basic Fiat models. This equation proved popular as five body styles were made based on the Fiat 500 chassis.
This car was marketed in Germany as the "Panorama Standard" and the "Panorama mit Sonnendach" (with sunroof)
Text and images from “The Bruce Weiner Microcar Museum”
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The Fiat 500, commonly known as Topolino ("little mouse", the Italian name for Mickey Mouse), is an Italian automobile model manufactured by Fiat from 1936 to 1955.
The Topolino was one of the smallest cars in the world at the time of its production. Launched in 1937, three models were produced until 1955, all with only minor mechanical and cosmetic changes. It was equipped with a 569 cc four-cylinder, side valve, water-cooled engine mounted in front of the front axle, and so was a full-scale car rather than a cyclecar. The radiator was located behind the engine which made possible a lowered wind-cheating nose profile at a time when competitor vehicles confronted the world with flat near vertical front grills. The shape of the car’s front gave it exceptional forward visibility.
Suspension at the back initially depended on quarter-elliptic rear springs, but somehow buyers frequently squeezed four or five people into the nominally two seater car, and in later models the chassis was extended at the rear to allow for more robust semi-elliptic springs.
With horsepower of about 13 bhp, its top speed was about 53 mph (85 km/h), and it could achieve about 39.2 miles per US gallon (6.00 L/100 km; 47.1 mpg-imp). The target price given when the car was planned was 5,000 lire. In the event the price at launch was 9,750 lire, though the decade was one of falling prices in several part of Europe and later in the 1930s the Topolino was sold for about 8,900 lire. Despite being more expensive than first envisaged, the car was very competitively priced. Nearly 520,000 were sold.
In 1955 the mid-size rear wheel drive Fiat 600 was launched by Fiat and that would become the design basis for the new Fiat 500, the Nuova 500. The Nuova 500 is often thought, mistakenly, to be the only model 500 Fiat. Text from Wikipedia
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The original Fiat Multipla and 600 Multipla were based on the Fiat 600’s drivetrain, model 1100 coil and wishbone independent front suspension, and sat 6 people in a footprint just 50 centimetres (19.7 in) longer than the original Mini Cooper. The driver compartment was moved forward over the front axle, eliminating the boot in effect but giving the body very MPV-like one-box look. Behind the front seat the vehicle could be arranged with a flat floor area or a choice of one or two bench seats.
Until the 1970s it was widely used as a taxi in many parts of Italy.
A 633 cc right hand drive Multipla was tested by the British magazine The Motor in 1956 and was found to have a top speed of 57.1 mph (91.9 km/h) and could accelerate from 0-50 mph (80 km/h) in 43.0 seconds. A fuel consumption of 38.4 miles per imperial gallon (7.36 L/100 km; 32.0 mpg-US) was recorded. The test car cost £799 including taxes on the UK market.
Pinifarina designed a remarkable open topped Multipla called the "Marine" with a wooden slat wraparound bench in the rear -photos of it can be found on the Internet
A Fiat 600 Multipla towing a caravan is used in the video clip of the Crowded House hit Weather with You from their 1991 album Woodface.
The Multipla name was re-introduced in the late-1990s for the Fiat Multipla compact MPV. Text from Wikipedia
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One of Fiat’s few failures – but a magnificent one – was the Fiat Tipo 520 "Superfiat", a 6.8-litre V12 of advanced design, unveiled in 1921. Only a handful of these machines saw the light of day, but the overall design was so promising that Fiat simplified and adapted it for production as the Tipo 519, with a 4.8 litre, six-cylinder engine and massive hydro-mechanical, servo- assisted brake drums on all four wheels. The sporting Tipo 5198 version (above) had a handsome vee radiator and flared wings.
The 520 "Super Fiat" An attempt by Fiat to enter into the more luxurious end of the car market, the 520 or ‘Super Fiat’ was the first (and the last) car with that badge to use a V12 engine. Other production-Fiat firsts were coil and distributor ignition, overhead valves and the red circular Fiat badge first seen on the 801 Corsa racecar. Only a couple of cars were built, almost certainly less than five, with Torpedo and Dorsay-Torpedo bodies.
The 520 The 520 name was resurrected for this new model in 1927, after having been used earlier for the ‘Super Fiat’. The new 520 was a medium size car with a 2.2-litre straight six engine. It was well received and over 20,000 were built before production ceased in 1929.
In 1928 the 520T or Taxi was introduced. Designed to replace the 501 Taxi, the chassis remained the same as the 520 whilst the engine, although still a six, had its capacity reduced to 1.9-litres. The bodywork was specially designed for the role, being a Landaulet with a rear opening canvas roof. Four seats were provided for passengers, two being rearward facing on the partition. Around 600 of these vehicles were built up until 1930.
The 520 "Super Fiat"
Engine :6805cc (85x100mm)
overheadvalve V12 with 90bhp
front: rigid axle with leaf springs –
rear: rigid axle with leaf springs
track (front/rear) :1500mm/1500mm
Brakes :drums all round
Gearbox : 3 speed manual
Empty weight: Torpedo : 1850kg
Engine :2244cc (68x103mm)
sidevalve in-line six cylinder with 46bhp @ 3,400rpm
Taxi :1866cc (62x103mm) with 35bhp
front: rigid axle with leaf springs and friction dampers
rear: rigid axle with leaf springs and friction dampers
Track (front/rear) :1400mm/1400mm
Brakes: drums all round
Gearbox: 4 speed manual
Empty weight: Berlina :1280kg
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