Neckarsulm, June 20, 2023 – Two partners, one theme: NSU. In 2023, Audi and the city of Neckarsulm are celebrating 150 years of the traditional brand NSU. That is reason enough for Audi Tradition and the Deutsches Zweirad- und NSU-Museum Neckarsulm (German Motorcycle and NSU-Museum Neckarsulm) to reassert the long history of Audi’s Neckarsulm site and the history of NSU in the new special exhibition “Innovation. Wagemut. Transformation. 150 Jahre NSU” (in English: “Innovation. Audacity. Transformation. 150 Years of NSU”). The exhibition will be on display from June 14, 2023 to May 5, 2024 in the Audi Forum Neckarsulm and the Deutsches Zweirad- und NSU-Museum Neckarsulm. Additionally, an anniversary magazine is being published at the start of the exhibition: a solid 176 pages covering many facets of NSU history.
The company and the NSU brand are closely tied to Neckarsulm right in the name, which is derived from the city where the Neckar and Sulm rivers meet. Moreover, the history of NSU offers a unique perspective on the development of mobility: from the bicycle to the motorcycle to the car. It was 150 years ago, in 1873, when Christian Schmidt and Heinrich Stoll founded a knitting machine workshop under the name “Mechanische Werkstätte Schmidt & Stoll.” That workshop later evolved into NSU Motorenwerke AG and then Audi’s Neckarsulm site. At the start of the exhibition, an anniversary magazine will be published with the same name as the exhibition itself: “Innovation. Wagemut. Transformation. 150 Jahre NSU”. Its 12 articles across 176 pages cover a wide arc and illuminate outstanding aspects of the company’s 150-year history – from a broad range of perspectives. These texts address innovations and transformations that have shaped and co-determined not only the history of the company, but also the city of Neckarsulm over the past 150 years.
Natalie Scheerle-Walz, director of the Deutsches Zweirad- und NSU-Museum Neckarsulm, gets to the heart of the matter: “The history of the NSU brand is characterized by innovations, audacious decisions, and extraordinary personalities.” And she raves about the many highlights in her museum: she notes that the four-cylinder NSU 500 racing bike, for instance, is an absolutely peerless trailblazer for the world champion bikes that came after it. Visitors can see it alongside record-setting vehicles and prototypes in the Deutsches Zweirad- und NSU- Museum. These are complemented by 85 NSU exhibits that are part of the museum’s permanent collection. In all, visitors to the Deutsches Zweirad- und NSU-Museum Neckarsulm can expect to see over 100 NSU exhibitions. Scheerle-Walz says, “The NSU brand was only able to succeed because of its extraordinarily inspired people and faithful, loyal employees. For the new special exhibition in our museum, we are shining a spotlight on 16 of these NSU figures who made critical contributions to the company’s development.”
At the Audi Forum in Neckarsulm, Audi Tradition is presenting a multitude of other NSU exhibits, also under the title “Innovation. Wagemut. Transformation. 150 Jahre NSU”: a total of 19 cars, 22 mopeds, motor scooters, and motorcycles, 9 bicycles, and other exhibits, like the first Wankel engine, the Stoll knitting machine, and a 1:4 scale model of the “aluminum egg.” The “aluminum egg” is a nickname for the NSU type 8/24 PS, a car from the early 1910s. NSU initially made its body out of aluminum – a first step toward lightweight construction at the Neckarsulm site. Stefan Felber, curator of the special exhibition at the Audi Forum in Neckarsulm, says that “working together with our colleagues from the Deutsches Zweirad- und NSU-Museum Neckarsulm on a subject as varied as NSU history was a great joy. Collaboration like that goes together perfectly with the kind of birthday you would want to celebrate with good friends – and you can see the outcome of that cooperation.”
Part of the special exhibition in the Audi Forum in Neckarsulm is the anniversary exhibition “40 Years of Audi Sport GmbH – Fascination meets performance.” It offers an overview of the history of the AUDI AG subsidiary. Founded as quattro GmbH in 1983 with a handful of employees, this Neckarsulm-based Audi affiliate now shapes the sporty and exclusive image of the brand with the four rings. The exhibition provides an overview of four decades of Audi Sport – from the first accessories in the Audi collection, vehicle customization options, and the first car developed at what was then quattro GmbH to customer motorsports and the current high-performance models.