The company started as a knitting machine manufacturer ( Neckarsulmer Strickmaschinen Union) and went into the bicycle trade in 1886.
It was a logic step to move into motorcycle production and in 1901 the first motorised NSU bicycle with Zédel clip on engine was produced. Soon the development and production of the company’s own engines were taken up and within a few years NSU was making its own power units and was one of the first manufacturers to fit two-speed transmission.
Designed by its late founder's son, Karl Schmidt, the first all-NSU model of 1903 was powered by a 329cc engine rated at 2½hp and would turn out to be a huge success by the standards of the day, in excess of 2,000 being sold up to 1905.
A host of different models was introduced up to the outbreak of the great war, including a range of v-twins in various sizes.
The marque established a strong presence in overseas markets, being exported widely throughout Europe and even to the USA and Australia.
Prior to WWI, NSU ranked second only to Indian among imported makes in the UK.
This 3 ½ HP model is equipped with the practical NSU two speed gear incorporated in the engine pulley.
An interesting detail is the engine-driven cooling fan.
The 1907 forecars were available in both wood and cane and cost an extra 50% of the motorcycle’s price.
This rare forecar spent a long time in a museum and has been restored a number of years ago.