The NSU Sport Prinz is the charming Karmann Ghia alternative
Think of rear-engined German cars, and your mind immediately goes to the Porsche 911 and Volkswagen Beetle, plus the pretty Bug-derived Karmann Ghia. But there’s a lesser-known car from NSU, a small motorcycle and car company that was absorbed into VW’s Auto Union/Audi group in 1969.
The NSU Sport Prinz isn’t a performance legend, but the captivating little car has the power to sweep people off their feet. Might it be your Prinz Charming? Bonhams certainly hopes so. The auction company is offering an enchanting 1966 NSU Sport Prinz Coupe at its Padua sale on October 27, and we’re guessing that someone will find it irresistible.
Built in Germany, styled by Italians, originally purchased by a Belgian, and now back in Italy, this sweet Printz was comprehensively restored in 2004 but still has its original white/gray interior. The white two-door coupe (chassis No. 4119347) was styled by legendary Carrozzeria Bertone and features a sporty fastback with subtle fins. Powered by an air-cooled, 598cc, 30-horsepower, two-cylinder engine, mated to a manual four-speed transmission, it tops out at 81 mph.
The original Prinz’s unveiling at the 1957 Frankfurt Auto Show marked NSU’s return from a 28-year car production hiatus. A total of 20,831 examples were built from 1958–68. Bonhams’ pre-auction estimate for this Printz is $17,000–$29,000.
The NSU Spider, produced from 1964–67, was the first production car powered by a Wankel rotary engine, so it’s natural to assume that NSU coupes of the same period also featured a Wankel. They didn’t.
“With that said, the Prinz still has a bit of charm and exclusivity for the money,” says Hagerty Valuation Auction Editor Andrew Newton. “Especially given its Bertone-penned bodywork and the fact that only 20,000 were built.”
Newton noted that “trouble and expense associated with the NSU Spiders’ rotary powertrains eventually killed the brand.” NSU was acquired by the Volkswagen Group in 1969, and VW merged it with Auto Union to create Audi NSU Auto Union AG—eventually known as Audi.
Looking for a sweet Printz that you can grow old with? Here’s your chance.