Designed in Finland and built in China, the Norster 600R seen here may look like, and even drive like, a normal passenger car but it is actually registered in Europe as a “heavy quad” (All Terrain Vehicle in the US).
In the 1950s, NSU was the largest motorcycle manufacturer in the world. Management was still looking into the future, and was concerned that small cars were going to replace the motorcycle as a means of transport.
While the NSU Prinz 1, 2, and 3 were inexpensive, economical cars, they were not considered stylish. NSU realized that if they sought to sell small cars in volume numbers they needed a car with a more appealing style.
The Ro-80 was a truly advanced front-wheel drive saloon. It combined the first commercially developed twin-rotor Wankel engine with front-wheel drive and semi-automatic transmission, a spacious interior, and a low-drag body shape.
A derivative of the Prinz, the Sport Prinz was built on the Prinz platform. Designed by Franco Scaglione while at the Bertone studios in Turin, this new sporty NSU was a hit at the 1958 Frankfurt Motor Show.
Due in large part to the oil crisis of 1973, many startup American car companies were developing and producing electric cars in small numbers into the early 1980s. The Omega Electric Car Company of Huntington Beach, California, was one of these companies.