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1958 NSU Sport Prinz by Bertone

Nuccio Bertone’s busy life also led to a long collaborative relationship with NSU of Germany, whose utility Prinz 4 model (two-cylinder 583 cc rear engine, 20 hp at 4600 rpm) seemed sufficient to be accompanied by a faster version (30 hp at 5800 rpm) with a coupé body. Bertone developed a prototype of beautiful lines, exploiting the stylistic criteria in vogue at the time (bonnet low and flat, fastback tail with large rear window, fins in evidence on the rear wings). The NSU Prinz Sport went into production in March 1959, and 18,261 examples had been manufactured by the end of 1965.

Perhaps the best remembered NSU motor car is the Wankel-engined Ro80, but those looking for a small car in the late 50s and early 60s may have considered the diminutive Prinz range. The NSU Prinz was introduced in 1957 when bubble cars were still selling well, and there was a healthy market for small cars that could accommodate four people in moderate comfort. The first NSU Prinz was sold from 1957 through to 1962, by which time a boxier replacement had already been introduced.

In 1958 the first Sport Prinz was launched, featuring a rakish coupe bodyshell designed by Bertone of Turin. Approximately 20,800 Sport Prinz were built, powered by the same twin-cylinder rear-mounted engine as the contemporary Prinz saloons. In 1961 the boxy 598cc Prinz 4 was introduced, replacing the earlier car in 1962. To look, there were hints of Chevrolet Corvair (in miniature) in its styling, and there would be even more in common with the Hillman Imp of 1963, coincidentally also a rear-engined car.

Images: Audi AG