1969 NSU Ro80
Photographed in August 2018 at Gosford Classic Cars, NSW, Australia
This extremely nice example of a revolutionary car is the best I've seen for years.. In fact they're getting rather rare and very collectible.
Back in 1967 the Ro80 was released by German manufacturer NSU, and featured the innovative Wankel Rotary Engine design, which had been patented even further back, in 1927!
Having a much more compact design and less weight than a conventional piston engine, a number of engineering challenges were finally overcome, and NSU were the first manufacturer to take a leap of faith and put the Wankel into production.
The Ro80 had 115bhp, but weighed only 1200 kg, so performance was acceptable for a passenger vehicle.
NSU never overcame the criticisms around fuel and oil consumption, and poor reliability of early cars subsequently caused NSU to drop production of Wankels in 1977, leaving the amazing little Rotary to Mazda.
Interestingly (driven no doubt by the release of the Ro80) almost every major manufacturer including GM and Mercedes invested in Wankels, even building prototype vehicles. None of them were ever released into production.