NSU Prinz 4 (1961 – 1973) Review

NSU Prinz 4 (1961 – 1973) At A Glance


+Great styling, excellent handling, formed the basis of the legendary TT

-Good build but poor rust prevention, low survival rate

The NSU Prinz 4 was a thoroughly modern-looking replacement the original rear-engined Prinz 30. It was introduced at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 1961, and unlike its predecessors, was styled unashamedly to reflect current fashions, even if that meant commentators accused it of looking like a scaled down Corvair. It was similarly priced to the Mini in Britain, and it reflected the small car state of the art in Europe at the time, which was much at variance with its UK rival – the German alternative also looked like a relatively luxurious option, as it came as standard with a heater, an electric clock, parking lights and lots of other niceties.

Its 598cc air-cooled two-cylinder engine gave around 70mph flat out, combined with decent economy. But there was no disguising the Prinz 4's excellent engineering, even if some of it was a little out of the ordinary. The engine used an eccentric rod driven camshaft inherited from NSU motorcycle engines, while it also used a dynastart (combined starter and generator), which was built into the crankcase. It would soon lead to a much larger family of coupes and longer-wheelbase saloons, later powered by four-cylinder engines.