“The sky’s the limit”:Audi displays convertibles at Techno Classica


The Audi Tradition exhibit at this year’s Techno Classica in Essen centers around convertibles and roadsters. The world’s biggest classic car show provides the perfect stage for eight automotive treasures from Audi’s history from Wednesday, April 15 to Sunday, April 19. The theme of the exhibit from Ingolstadt is “Nach oben offen” (“The sky’s the limit”) – and is rounded out by three NSU racing motorcycles and an NSU “Renndienst” racing service bus.

The inspiration for the Audi theme this year was an anniversary: the sporty line of roadsters from Auto Union first developed 80 years ago. With the 1932 merger of Audi, DKW, Horch and Wanderer into Auto Union AG, sportiness became an established brand value. A convertible two-seater was then developed for each of the brands, and these were debuted in 1935. Three of these sports cars are among the highlights at the Audi stand.

One is the elegant Audi Front 225 Roadster with an elongated hood. Because of the 7,950 Reichsmark price tag for this car, plans for low-volume production did not pan out. In the end, only two prototypes were constructed. The exhibit is an exact replica on a contemporary Audi front chassis.

The DKW F 5 Roadster fulfilled the desire of many customers for a small, two-seater sports car and particularly appealed to young drivers with sporty driving ambitions. In all, 407 models left the production halls. The DKW on exhibit dates from 1937.

With a year’s delay, Auto Union also introduced a roadster from the Wanderer brand – the development work for the six-cylinder compressor engine took longer than originally planned. A vintage 1937 roadster can be viewed in Essen. The timeless elegance of the design of the Wanderer W 25 K was just as thrilling back then as it is today.

Another exhibit – the Auto Union 1000 Sp Roadster – transports visitors to the automotive world of the 1960s. The design is unmistakably inspired by American automotive design of the 1950s. The “Sp” designation stood for “special” – and people quickly began referring to it as “Sputnik” because of its futuristic appearance.

At its side is the NSU Wankel Spider – the first car in the world to include a rotary engine as standard equipment. It celebrated its premier at the International Motor Show (IAA) in 1963. In 1967 and 1968, Siegfried Spieß won the German Hill Climb Championship in all classes in an NSU Wankel Spider.

Audi Tradition is presenting yet another unique specimen at the Techno Classica 2015: the Audi 100 LS Cabriolet. The four-seater convertible was presented by the Osnabrück-based car manufacturing company Wilhelm Karmann GmbH at the IAA in 1969. It used the two-door Audi 100 sedan as its technical basis. A special feature was the electrohydraulic operation of the fully retractable top.

In 1989 the concept car for another Audi convertible caused a sensation – and this one went into volume production: 71,510 units of the first generation of the Audi Cabriolet rolled off the assembly line between 1991 and 2000. With its extravagant color combination of volcano black pearl-effect exterior paint and red leather, the model exhibited in Essen was a big attention-grabber at the 1999 IAA.

The Audi TT Roadster* also arrived at dealerships in 1999. The TTS concept car it was based on had been shown previously by Audi in November 1995 at the Tokyo Motor Show – and the TT has been considered a design icon ever since. Audi built 90,733 units of the convertible variant during seven years of production from 1999 to 2005. A 1999 TT Roadster can be viewed at the show in Essen.

Three NSU motorcycles that were highly successful in racing can likewise be seen there: the NSU 500 SSR, NSU Rennfox and NSU Sportmax.

English racer Tom Bullus won the 1930 Motorcycle Grand Prix of Germany with the NSU 500 SSR. The “Bullus,” as insiders subsequently called the NSU 500 SSR racing motorcycle, could also be purchased at the time as a racing and road sport machine.

About 250 units of the NSU Rennfox were built in 1950 and 1951. Of the first 30 motorcycles produced, 20 went to the ADAC as a gift in support of talented young racing drivers.

The NSU Sportmax on display, built in 1955, was ridden by the legendary German racer H. P. Müller. He was the first private racer in the world to win a world championship title in the 250 cc class on the Sportmax. Eight German championships were won with the NSU Sportmax between 1956 and 1963.

A faithful replica of the NSU “Renndienst” racing service bus from Volkswagen joins the ensemble of motorcycles from NSU’s racing history.

The heritage department at AUDI AG is presenting its treasures across roughly 700 square meters (7534.7 sq ft) in Hall 7. Fans and collectors of miniatures can also purchase this year’s model from Audi Tradition here: an orange Audi 90 quattro IMSA GTO, limited to 333 copies, in 1:43 scale. Members of the Audi Club International (ACI) will display additional classic cars from the company’s history in Hall 7.1.

Organizers for the show expect 190,000 delighted fans of classic cars.

Fuel consumption of the models named above:

Audi TT Roadster:
Combined fuel consumption in l/100 km: 7.5 – 4.3 (31.4 – 54.7 US mpg);
Combined CO2 emissions in g/km: 174 – 114 (280.0 – 183.5 g/mi)