Before the hate mail starts flowing, Neckarsulmer Strickmaschinenfabrik produced the infamous Kettenkrad tank-bike thingy. Moving on. In 1955 NSU was the world's largest motorcycle producer. But, like Dutch truck maker DAF, they knew the real action was in 600cc microcars, and released an ugly, miserable ride with a non-synchronous "crash" gearbox in 1957. Not many cared. But, in 1961, NSU released the Corvair-inspired Prinz 4 and oh baby, did Volk start to take notice. The new car featured a highly precise air-cooled, two-cylinder mill loaded with motorcycle technology and mounted behind the rear axle. Make the jump to see a Prinz 4 attacking the 'Ring and learn a little more.
Central Europeans still race the hell out of the Prinz, albeit in its four-cylinder configuration called the 1000 for its larger displacement. The engine was unusual for its inline configuration — quite different from other rear-engined German cars (think boxer). By doing this, NSU saved a few deutsch marks by only having to fashion a single head, carb, intake and exhaust manifold, which also saved weight. The engines were in fact imbued with a fair amount of Bruce and featured five main bearings for the crankshaft. Best of all by far were the Mopar-a-rific hemispherical combustion chambers!
Holy Christ, do we want one of these.
NSU Prinz [Wikipedia]