The NSU TT – The most successful German car in German hill-climbing
In 1967, NSU added two sports versions to its portfolio – the NSU Prinz TT and the even more powerful NSU Prinz TTS. The NSU TT, with a standard output of 65 PS, was built between 1967 and 1972. Both NSU sports sedans, the TT and the TTS, featured the air-cooled four-cylinder engine in the rear. Both had an excellent power-to-weight ratio, making them guaranteed winners in motorsport: In the TT’s debut year in 1967, Günther Irmscher won the Tour d’Europe in an NSU TT, while Bill Allen was the American champion in the South Pacific the following year. For the TTS, NSU set the camber to between slightly negative and neutral and installed sports shock absorbers. Customers who wanted even more sportiness could order the so-called “Speed Set” – but cars equipped with it were only allowed to be used on the racetrack. The Neckarsulm-based company produced 2,400 units of the standard TTS with 1,000 cc displacement and 70 PS from 1967 to 1971. A total of about 50,000 NSU TTs rolled off the line. A particularly powerful representative is now part of AUDI AG’s historic vehicle collection, the NSU TT Jägermeister: With its enlarged displacement, 1,300 Weber carburetors with intake manifold, dual ignition, and enlarged intake and exhaust ports, the car was suitable for private motorsport. Features such as these gave this car a top speed of 190 km/h (118 mph) with an output of 130 PS at 7,800 rpm.
The Latin proverb “nomen est omen” (English: a name is a sign) was true of Wilhelm “Willi” Bergmeister. (In German, Bergmeister literally means “mountain champion”.) The Langenfeld-born owner of an NSU and later of an Audi dealership was active in motorsport from 1968 and was a fixture on the German racing scene from the 1970s. He made hill-climbing history in an NSU TT, winning the German Mountain Cup in 1974 in the “NSU TT Jägermeister.” Headlines ran: “Bergmeister becomes Bergmeister.” Later, he switched to circuit racing, concentrating from 1978 on the European Touring Car Championship, where he finished second in 1979 and won as the 1980 European champion in an Audi 80 GLE.
The NSU TT was the most successful German car in national hill-climbs until the mid-1970s. As a racecar, it won a total of 29 national championships in Europe and North America. These wins in motorsport made for good advertising: The NSU TT, for example, was advertised by Neckarsulm as a “thoroughbred sports car, inch for inch,” the NSU TTS was marketed as a “constant guest at rallies” and a “notorious class winner.”