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NSU Prinz 30 (1958 - 1962)

Last updated 7 May 2014

Cheap to run, and challenging to drive if you like that sort of thing
More four-wheeled motorcycle than civilised passenger car
were produced
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The NSU Prinz was the company's first all-new car developed by itself, after brief spell putting together licence-built Fiats. It was an economy car, launched at the Frankfurt motor show in 1957, to compete with Goggomobile and Lloyd on the German market, and like those, was powered by a two-cylinder engine in a lightweight body. The Prinz was air-cooled, though, and was underpinned by fully independent suspension. There was room for four - just - and some luggage space up front, but this was clearly a utilitarian car, completely minimalist in nature - and oddly fun to drive.

The Prinz 30 was offered in a number of variations, through the Prinz I, II and III, with the entry-level model coming equipped with a crash gearbox and 23bhp to play with. But it was easy to maintain, and service thanks to simple motorycycle-like engine and transmission. But like a two-wheeler, it lacked refinement, and was  tad on the noisy side. In truth, there's probably very little interest outside of Germany - where the vast majority were originally sold. But an interesting curio, and a welcome sight when you do happen to spot one.