• Rare early German motorcycle
• Restored in the 1960s
• Formerly on display at the National Motor Museum, South Australia
• Offered with an original NSU instruction book
Yet another motorcycle manufacturer with its roots in the bicycle industry, NSU built its first powered two-wheeler in 1900. The firm had originally been founded in Neckarsulm, Germany by Christian Schmidt to manufacture knitting machines, its initials standing for Neckarsulm Strickmaschinen Union. Zédel proprietary engines were used initially but within a few years NSU was making its own power units and was one of the first manufacturers to fit two-speed transmission. Designed by its late founder's son, Karl Schmidt, the first all-NSU model of 1903 was powered by a 329cc engine rated at 2½hp and would turn out to be a huge success by the standards of the day, in excess of 2,000 being sold up to 1905. A host of different models was introduced up to the outbreak of war, including a range of v-twins in various sizes. The marque established a strong presence in overseas markets, being exported widely throughout Europe and even to the USA. Prior to WWI, NSU ranked second only to Indian among imported makes in the UK.
This single-cylinder NSU was recovered from Milang, South Australia in 1961 by Warren Hicks. Discovered partly dismantled in a chicken shed owned by a Mr Lewis Perry, it was bought for £2, lent by Warren's grandfather. The NSU was restored over the next few years, and attended rallies from 1965. It was painted orange, the colour found inside the coil compartment, which later was suggested to be red lead primer. The NSU was subsequently repainted black while on extended loan to the National Motor Museum at Birdwood, South Australia. Noteworthy features include a Germania headlamp and generator, bulb horn, and a Jones 50mph speedometer.
An NSU two-speed engine gear is fitted, which makes riding in traffic possible. There is another two-speed gear, which was acquired for spares, together with an engine, timing gears, and other spares available as a separate lot.