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.
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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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NSU’s license to build Lambretta scooters expired in 1955. NSU engineers created their own well designed version. This 174cc Prima V is effectively the culmination and pinnacle of the series that ran through five evolutions. Completely redesigned the Prima V had more streamlined bodywork, a 12 volt system with electric start and a more powerful 174cc engine, sold in the UK as the "Prima 5 Star" it was an expensive and well regarded scooter. Original Twin seats, spot lamp, spare wheel and carrier assembly completes the look of 50’s style and luxury"
Text found on “Motorbike Search Engine”
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