NSU Wenkel Spider

The Lightweight Sports Car

The NSU Wenkel Spider, introduced in 1964, was a pioneering roadster that showcased NSU’s innovative spirit and commitment to performance. Designed for driving enthusiasts, the Spider combined lightweight construction with spirited handling, making it a notable entry in the small sports car segment of the 1960s.


Powered by a 996cc Wankel rotary engine, the NSU Spider produced approximately 50 horsepower. This unique engine design not only provided smooth power delivery but also contributed to the car’s lightweight nature, allowing it to reach a top speed of around 130 km/h (81 mph). The rotary engine’s compact size and efficiency were revolutionary for the time, positioning the Spider as a forward-thinking option in the market.

The design of the NSU Spider was characterized by its sleek and aerodynamic silhouette. The roadster featured a low stance, elongated hood, and a short rear, embodying the classic sports car look. Its minimalist approach to styling, with simple lines and limited ornamentation, enhanced its sporty appeal while keeping the focus on performance.

Inside, the NSU Spider offered a driver-oriented cockpit with comfortable seating for two. The interior was designed with functionality in mind, featuring straightforward controls and clear instrumentation. While it embraced a no-frills philosophy, the cabin was well-crafted, providing an enjoyable driving environment for enthusiasts.

One of the standout features of the NSU Spider was its handling. The lightweight construction, combined with a well-tuned suspension system, allowed for agile and responsive driving dynamics. The rear-engine layout contributed to excellent traction, making the Spider a joy to drive on winding roads and tight corners. This combination of power and precision appealed to drivers seeking an engaging and spirited driving experience.

The NSU Spider was not only popular among casual drivers but also gained a following in motorsport. Its lightweight design and agile handling made it a competitive contender in various racing events, further enhancing NSU’s reputation for producing performance-oriented vehicles.

Despite its appeal, the NSU Spider faced challenges in the marketplace. Limited production numbers and the unique rotary engine design meant that it remained a niche model. However, its innovative approach and distinctive character have earned it a dedicated fan base among classic car enthusiasts.

Overall, the NSU Spider is remembered as a significant model in NSU’s history, reflecting the brand’s commitment to engineering excellence and sporty performance. Its combination of lightweight design, innovative rotary engine, and engaging driving dynamics continues to captivate automotive enthusiasts today. As a classic roadster, the Spider stands as a testament to NSU’s legacy of innovation and passion for performance in the automotive world


Specifications for 1964 Wankel Spyder 


Engine & Drivetrain:

Displacement: 498 cc

HP Output: 63 bhp

Torque Output: 70.5 NM

Transmission: 4 speed manual

Drive: RWD


Length: 3,580 mm

Width: 1,520 mm

Height: 1,219 mm

Weight: 685 kg

Wheelbase: 2,018 mm

Doors: 2

Seats: 2



Top Speed: 153 km/h

0-100 km/h: 15.5 s