The NSU Prinz IV, Prinz 1200 TT and Typ 110

The NSU Motorenworke AG in then West Germany produced the NSU Prinz (Prince) car from 1958 to 1973. During this time there were several models built. The company founder was Christian Schmidt.

prinz 1200 tt

1967 Prinz 1200 TT

NSU Motorenworke AG

NSU actually began by two young mechanics as a knitting machine manufacturer. Next the company took on building bicycles which at the time was a hot selling item. Next, not surprisingly, were motorcycles. The first being introduced in 1901. By 1903 the company was building motors with some six models available.

Without stooping building motorcycles which were selling well, NSU began building automobiles with the first being introduced in 1905. This car had a 3 horsepower engine. In 1909 the cars sported V-twin motors.

During World War One NSU produced vehicles both cars and motorcycles, for the Wehrmacht. After the war and into the 1920′s,NSU was very active with race cars. When World War Two opened up on the Continent, NSU was told to produce motorcycles and half-tracks for the Nazis. It was during the war that the NSU factory in Nackarsulm, thus the name “NSU”,  was badly damaged in an Allied air raid. Ironically, this occurred just a few weeks before the end of war.

prinz air cooled engines

Four cylinder air-cooled engine

NSU Prinz IV

The  NSU Prinz IV  was introduced in 1961 at the Franfurt Motor Show. The 2-door sedan model replaced the previous Prinz I-III models.

If you think the automobile has a resemblance to the Chevrolet Corvair you’re right. The Prinz was smaller than a Corvair. This Prinz model however was powered by a two cylinder air cooled engine. Top speed for this model was rated at 75 MPH with an advertised 36 horsepower.

NSU Prinz 1000, Type 110 and the 

A larger bodied Prinz 1000 came out in 1963. This automobile had the Prinz IV design with a more lively engine. Coming out in 1965 was the Typ-110 having a larger body as well as a more powerful engine. The Prinz 1000 and the Typ 110 both had air cooled four cylinder rear mounted engines. The Typ 110 and the Type 110 SC, due to the more powerful 66.2 cubic inch engines plus their light weight, could out perform many sports cars. In 1967 the cars were given a 71.8 cubic inch engine.

The Prinz models all had a four speed manual all-synchromesh gear box.

After 1967 the Prinz Typ 110 took on a new name as the Prinz 1200.

The Design for Rear Engined Vehicles

You will find that the rear mounted engine has it’s center of gravity past the rear axle. The fact that the weight of the engine is at the rear, the rear tires have more weight exerted on them thus better traction. Another advantage for automakers is that a rear engine drive trail can be installed as a unit. This can’t be done with front mounted engines and building a rear engine car has manufacturing advantages. With this being said, most automakers no longer build rear engine automobiles with the exception of Porsche.

An iconic automobile with a rear engine you’ve most likely see was the DeLorean DMC-12.

The Wankel Engine and NSU

During the late 1950′s, NSU Motorenworke AG began working with the Wankel engine in which they built a prototype in 1957 and began using it on production models after 1960. The Wankel engine was invented by a German and was an internal combustion engine. In 1961, NSU collaborated with Mazda to do more experiments. The first out with this rotary engine was NSU when they introduced their 1964 Spider model. Mazda displayed their engine at the Tokyo Motor Show that same year.

nsu prinz automobiles

NSU Prinz 1200 TT

The primary operating difference between the Wankel and the piston engine is that instead having pistons moving up and down with a particular firing order, the Wankel has all parts moving in a single direction. The engine by design is lighter than a common piston engine which is a performance advantage.

1961 Prinz 4 Specifications

The Prinz 4 was powered by a four cylinder air cooled engine putting out 36 horsepower. The 1967 Prinz 1200 TT featured in this article is powered by an inline four cylinder engine delivering 65 horsepower. There was also a  1000 cc TTS engine available that could provide 70 horsepower and will a special tune could reach 83 horsepower.

The car’s dimensions included an overall length of 135.4 inches, width of 58.7 inches, height of 53.5 inches and a wheelbase of 80.3 inches.

You may also enjoy the AutoMuseumOnline articles on the links below…..

1967 VW Beetle / Photos, Specs, History

Restored 1957 Karmann Ghia

prinz 1200 tt dashboard

67 Prinz 1200 TT dashboard

Prinz Automobiles as Collector Cars

The NSU Prinz cars are rare in the U.S. but if you can find one they appear to be reasonably priced.

The cars found are primarily in the U.K. and the Continent. NSU was the first licensee company to build a car using the rotary Wankel engine. As mentioned above, the design of the NSU Prinz IV is smaller but has a remarkable body design similar to the Chevy Corvair.

We have seen a low mileage 1969 Prinz 1200 C with an asking price of $3,900. A 1961 NSU Prinz III (last year for the III’s) with a price of $7,600. We found another adorable 1960 Prinz III for sale in the U.S. for $10,000. You may also see NSU Prinz project cars for sale at significantly lower prices than these.

References used for this article incudes….NSU Prinz 4 by NSU Motorenwerke. For more information regarding the NSU company, there are several good articles on website…..

(Article and photos copyright AutoMuseumOnline,


The 1967 VW Beetle / Photos, Specs, History

The car featured in this article is a beautiful 1967 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible. I think most people would agree that the VW Beetle is a true legendary automobile and is a increasingly popular collector car.

1967 volkswagen beetle type 1

1967 Volkswagen Beetle

Germany had built new highways (autobahns) during the 1930′s and the VW Beetle was inspired by it’s then leader Adolph Hitler.

Hitler wanted an affordable car for the masses who could then take advantage of the country’s new autobahn systems. The first VW’s are referred to as a VW Bug and a Volkswagen Type 1. They are also called the “People’s Car

The VW Type 1′s

The Volkswagen Beetle’s design is an interesting story. In the 1920s Joseph Ganz, a motor sport magazine editor, had already made a similar design for a car that was smaller and more affordable than automobiles of that day. Automobile manufacturers showed little interest, but two motorcycle manufacturers were interested. A prototype of the Ganz designed car was built in 1929. The car was called a “Standard Superior“. Three other prototypes were built in 1931, 1933 and 1934. Take a look at the 1934 prototype and you’re just about looking at the VW Type 1.

vw type 1

The VW TYpe 1 Beetle

As it turned out, Adolph Hitler arrested Ganz in 1933 for trumped up charges and after the arrest Ganz’s designs and design specifications were confiscated by the Nazis. Joseph Ganz ended up fleeing Germany in 1934 at about the same time that Hitler contracted with Porsche.

The design for the Volkswagen Type 1 was begun in 1934 by Ferdinand Porsche and his team who were contracted for the project by Hitler. The design wasn’t completed until about three years later. The cars were tested considerably. In 150,000 kilometers of test drives, the Type 1 demonstrated that it could easily maintain a speed of 100 kilometers per hour on the Autobahn. In mountain testing the VW drove pass larger automobiles. In essence, the VW Type 1 has astounding test results.

It was said that Hitler made the following comments after Ferdinand Porsche completed his design…..“Over the past four years, and with continual improvements, we have developed the Volkswagen, which we are convinced not only can be sold at the price we want, but also can be manufactured in ways that use a minimum of workers to produce the maximum amount. The model that has resulted from years of work by Dr. Porsche will undergo testing this year. It will enable millions of new customers with limited incomes to afford a car. We owe the best cars in the world to our directors, engineers, craftsmen, workers, and salesmen. Today, I am convinced that in a short time we will also build the least expensive cars.”

Because the Type 1 VW went into production near the beginning of World War Two in Europe, only a very small number of these pre war Type 1 VW’s were produced. Production resumed for the European market in late 1945. 1967 VW Beetle production was reported to be 7,567 vehicles.

From 1938 to 2003 VW produced various models of the Type 1 automobile including the VW Beetle, the VW Thing and the Karmann Ghia. The Karmann Ghia, produced from 1955 to 1974 was known to some in North America as simply a “Ghia“. During these years just under a half-million sporty VW Karmann Ghias were built and thousands are still on the road today.

Our Featured 1967 VW

The 1967 VW Beetle featured in this article was built in Wolfsburg Germany. Only 7,000 of these automobiles were produced. The year 1967 was significant for Volkswagen in as much as it was the first year of a 12 volt electrical system. It was the last year of all chrome bumpers with overriders and all steel dashboards. The year 1967 was the last year for bumper mounted backup lights.

67 vw beetle convertible

Front view of the 67 Beetle

Transmissions available for the 67 VW Beetle were a four speed manual, a four speed semi automatic and a three speed semi automatic.

The VW Type 1 Engine

The Volkswagen Type 1 engine was an air cooled box shaped four cylinder design. The largest Type 1 engine VW made was 1600 cc. The Type 1 engine has the cooling fan mounted on the end of the alternator shaft and is belt driven.


See additional AutoMuseumOnline articles on the links below…

The 1914 Air Cooled Franklin Series 6 Tourer

The Popular and Small Nash Metropolitan

Reference material for this article and books of interest include…..Hitlers Chariots : Volkswagen-from Nazi’s Peoples Car to New Beetle by author Blaine Taylor….Birth of the Beetle : The Development of the Volkswagen by Porsche by author Chris Barber.

vw beetle dashboard

67 VW Beetle dashboard

From 1936 to 2006 many types of air cooled VW engines were manufactured. The smallest engine was 1100 cc that delivered 34 horsepower. That engine was used in VW’s from 1945 (at the end of World War Two) to 1953. The engines were updated over the years to eventually a size of 1600 cc in 1966.

In 1971 this engine was updated for a final time that had it delivering 50 horsepower. A muscle car engine it certainly was not but the VW Type 1 was considered very reliable and truly was a fuel efficient power plant.

(Article and photos copyright AutoMuseumOnline)


1937 GMC Cab Over Truck / Chevy 454 Engine

Vintage GMC Cab Over trucks are rare. The truck featured in this article is a 1937 GMC COE with a Chevy 454 engine that could make a great restoration project.

1937 gmc coe

1937 GMC COE

Mergers and the Creation of GMC

General Motors was founded by William Durant in 1908. Later that same year Durant started to buy stock in and takeover the Reliance Motor Car Company and Max and Morris Grabowsky’s Rapid Motor Vehicle Company. The Grabowsky brothers built their first prototype truck in 1900.

GMC as a truck brand was created out of both the Reliance Motor Car Company and the Rapid Motor Vehicle Company within GM. The GMC brand was officially introduced in 1912 at the New York International Auto Show. .In 1912, GM produced about 20,000 trucks.  Prior to the time of unveiling the GMC brand, trucks from GM were produced from the merger of both the Reliance and the Rapid companies. By 1913 all GMC truck production was done at the Rapid Motor Vehicle Company plant in Pontiac, Michigan. By 1916 General Motors created the GMC Truck Division.

Two events in 1916 helped publicize General Motors relatively new truck division. In 1916 a GMC truck traveled from Seattle to New York in just over 30 days. In 1930 another  GMC truck drove from New York to San Francisco in 5 days and 30 minutes. Such were the technological advancements made from 1916 to 1930.

Chevrolet was also building trucks for General Motors and by the year 1920 the Chevrolet brand and the GMC brand trucks looked almost identical except for their grilles. During those years Chevrolet was marketing their trucks to individuals while GMC targeted commercial buyers.

The GMC brand obviously is one of the few that started in the first decade of the 1900′s and is still a popular name today. Today, the GMC brand is over 100 years old.  To give you an idea of GMC production during it’s very early years, a total of 759 GMC trucks of Rapid and Reliance designs were built from 1913 through 1915.

The 1937 GMC COE

The first GMC Cab Over Engine truck was produced for the 1934 model year. General Motors introduced 11 COE models in 1937. In that same year GMC introduced their first Suburban Carryall utility vehicle. This was the model that would later become the GMC Yukon XL.

As far as pickup trucks of the 1930′s is concerned, the primary difference between the GMC and Chevrolet models was in the trim. Another interesting fact about the pickups was that the beds on 34 to 39 Chevys interchanged with 36 to 39 GMCs. The GMC’s are the rarer models.

1937 GMC Cab Over’s were used as tanker trucks, flat bed haulers, tow trucks, trailer pullers, beer trucks and more. There were 1930′s GMC COE Tow Trucks with 20,000 lb winches. A company named the Ranier Breing Company at one time owned ten 1937 GMC COE beer trucks. It’s said that there is one in existence today.

See additional AutoMuseumOnline articles on the links below…

A Finely Restored 1949 GMC Suburban

A 1955 Studebaker Pickup Truck

A 1962 Studebaker Champ Pickup Truck

1937 gmc trucks

Grille on the 1937 GMC COE

Values of the 1930′s GMC Cab Over Engine Trucks

If you’re looking to pick up a 1937 GMC COE, there are typically not a large number on the market. There are some that have been restored and others offered that are the cab unit only.

There was a project vehicle that would need a total restoration from top to bottom offered at $2,300. Another full restoration project vehicle is a 37 GMC COE that was once used as a water truck listed at $3,000. A 37 GMC cab only was listed at $1,600. A totally restored 37 GMC COE that is between show and cruise condition was offered at $50,000.

1937 GMC dashboard

Dashboard on the 37 GMC COE

An interesting website you might visit when searching for 1930′s GMC COE project vehicles is …..

Our reference material and an excellent book is…..GMC : The First 100 Years by author John Gunnell. Another excellent book includes…..The Deal Maker : How William C. Durant Made General Motors by author Axel Madsen.

(Article and photos copyright AutoMuseumOnline)

1953 Mercury Monterey / An Early 50′s Standout

The 1953 Monterey was the premium model for the Mercury line of automobiles introduced in 1950. When it came out as a two door coupe, the Monterey was considered a full size near luxury car. The first 1950 model had quite different styling than the 53 model. The 50 model had a very rounded look both front and back but would become very popular to customizers later on.

1953 mercury monterey hardtop

1953 Mercury Monterey 2 Door Hardtop

All Monterey models were built at Ford’s Lincoln-Mercury Division’s St. Louis. Missouri plant from 1950 to 1974.

The 1953 Mercury Monterey model had several engineering advances. A lot of the styling with this car was also shared with Ford’s Lincoln brand as well as Ford models. The Mercury Monterey was positioned between the Ford and Lincoln lines. If you wanted something a little fancier than a Ford but couldn’t or didn’t want to pay the price of a Lincoln, well the Mercury Monterey was your car.

Edsel Ford’s Mercury

The Mercury brand came on the scene in 1938 compliments of Edsel Ford, son of Henry Ford. The line would eventually cease production during the first week of January 2011.

Anyone familiar with the history of the Ford Motor Company during the 1930′s knows that Edsel Ford spearheaded much of the company’s progress.  The plan for the Mercury line was to establish an entry level luxury car. The first Mercurys came out with flathead V-8′s producing 95 horsepower.

53 mercury monterey

Smart styling on the 53 Monterey

When the Mercury was introduced it was part of the Ford Division. After the Second World War Mercury became part of the new Lincoln-Mercury Division.

1953 Mercury Monterey

The year 1953 represented the 50th Anniversary of the Ford Motor Company. One year earlier Mercury had an extensive redesign of all their models.

Mercury’s 1953 model year marked the last year of the  flathead V8 engine. This was also the case for Ford models as well that year. This engine beyond a doubt was one of the most famous, successful and celebrated automobile engines ever built.  Today, you may still see some of these popular flathead V-8′s brought back to life to power a variety of hot rods and customs. The flathead V-8 was replaced in 1954 with a new and advanced Y-block overhead-valve V8 engine.

The Mercury version of this engine had better performance numbers with a standard four barrel carburetor which helped the engine deliver 161 horsepower. A new Y-block overhead-valve V8 engine

1953 Mercury Monterey Specifications

As mentioned above, the 1953 Mercury Monterey came with a 255 cubic inch flathead V-8 engine delivering 125 horsepowwer. This represented an increase over the 1951 model’s 112 horsepower. A new Y-block overhead-valve V8 engine.would replace it in 1954 with a standard four barrel carburetor.

Transmission was a three speed manual. Optional was a  Merc O Matic automatic three speed transmission. Ford Motor introduced their automatic transmission in 1951 which was designed by Borg Warner Corporation. Ford Motor Company was a bit late into the automatic transmission game and didn’t open their first transmission plant until 1950.

Brakes were four wheel hydraulic drum.

Front suspension were independent coil springs and rear were longitudinal leaf springs.

1953 mercury monterey trim package

Classic Mercury Monterey trim

Dimensions for this car included a wheelbase of 118.0 inches,an overall length of 202.2 inches, a width of 74.0 inches and a height of 62.75 inches. , Average weight was 3,400 lbs.

Total 1953 Mercury Monterey production was 148,700 vehicles. Out of that number there were 64,033 four door sedans, 76,115 two door coupes and 8,450 convertibles.

See these additional AutoMuseumOnline articles on the links below….

A Rare 1953 Kaiser Manhatten

A Restored 1953 Studebaker Champion

Serial Number Decodings on Vintage Vehicles

Reference for this article and an excellent book for anyone interested in the history of Mercury automobiles is….55 Years of Mercury : The Complete History of the Big “M” by author John Gunnell.

1953 mercury monterey dashboard and interior

Dashboard on the 53 Mercury Monterey

The Popular Mercury Monterey Collector Car

Classic car collectors are enthusiastic about the Mercury models of the early 1950′s. Collectors like the clean styling and the manufacturing quality including technical sophistication. The Monterey convertible model is the most popular collector car from this first generation.

As of this writing, the first generation Mercury Montereys command strong prices. Restored Montereys for sale are priced in a fairly wide range. Depending on the model and degree of restoration and how old the restoration is, prices can be anywhere from the mid $20,000 range to approaching $50,000..The highest priced models would usually be convertible museum quality cars as opposed to drivers.

(Article and photos copyright AutoMuseumOnline)


1961 Chevrolet Impala / Photos, Specs and History

The Chevrolet Impala came on the scene in 1958. It was created as a new high level, sporty trim package created for the popular Chevy Bel Air. The Impala became a model of it’s own in 1959 in two and four door versions.

1961 chevy impala photo

1961 Chevy Impala

The car featured in this article is a 1961Chevy Impala Two Door Sedan which was added to the line in 1961 and that year only. As a result there were not a great number sold and today the Two Door Impala Sedan is a sought after collector car. The Chevy Impala Two Door Sedan had a 1961 production total of about 153,000 vehicles.

Chevy’s New Super Sport

During mid year production for 1961 an SS “Super Sport” kit was also added. It was available only on the top-line Impala. Along with that was the new big Turbo Fire 409 cubic inch engine that delivered 360 horsepower. Both of these additions proved to be very popular with car buyers. It’s interesting to note that only about  443 of the Impala SS models were produced in 1961. You can run across some people today that may not even know that Chevy produced an SS model in 1961. These are certainly rare collector cars today.

To give you an idea of how well the SS models caught on, production totals for 1962 were approximately 100,000 vehicles…in 1963, approximately 153,000 vehicles and in 1964, approximately 185,000 vehicles. The V-8 hardtop and convertible model SS Impala are the top collector cars as of today.

61 chevy impala tail lights

Distinctive taillights on the 61 Chevy Impala

The 1961 Chevy Impala

The Chevrolet Impala is a full size Chevrolet and was the Chevy Division’s most costly passenger vehicle at the time during the early 1960′s. It was also the best selling full size passenger car in America. It held that position for about a decade. In 1965 Chevrolet sold some 1 million Impalas which achieved a record.

The 1961 Impala was the beginning of the third generation Impala and as such was restyled. Probably the biggest design difference and one you’d readily see is that the 61 Impala’s had no tail fins. The 61 model did still remain on the GM B-Body and kept the 119.0 inch wheelbase. The new 61 Impala was a bit shorter than the 60 model (1 1/2 inches) but still kept the three taillight design that the model was noted for. It was those tail lights that differentiated the Impala from Chevy’s other full size models. In fact, the three taillight design became an Impala trademark.

Chevrolet Impala advertisements for the 1961 model year stressed comfort. Touted were wider doors and bigger seats, easy to reach and see dashboard and an easy to load trunk. Impala was also advertised as elegant and luxurious and with a clean new style. In essence, Chevrolet advertising in 61 was saying…”No matter what you say, you won’t find a car that pays more attention to your comfort than the jet-smooth 61 Chevy.”

1961 Chevrolet Impala Specifications

There were five different engines available for the 1961 Chevy Impala including both six and eight cylinders. The six was called a High Thrift 6 which was 233 cubic inches putting out 135 horsepower. Among the eight cylinder engines were two versions of the Turbo Fire Eight 283 cubic inch models, one delivering 170 horsepower and the other 230 horsepower. The others were two versions of the Turbo-Thrust 343 cubic inch V-8, one delivering 250 horsepower and the other 280 horses.

61 chevy impala ss

Front view of the 61 Impala

As mentioned above, the Turbo-Fire 409 cubic inch V-8 came out during mid year that put out 360 horses. Chevrolet was known to spend a lot of money on engine development and the powerful 409 from 1961 was certainly a product of that.

Five transmissions were available in 1961 which included a Turboglide, Powerglide and Overdrive automatic along with a three and four speed manual Synchromesh.

Dimensions for the 1961 Chevy Impala included a wheelbase of 119.0 inches, an overall length of 209.3 inches, a width of 78.4 inches, and a height of 55.5 inches. Chevrolet Impala also produced a “Nomadstation wagon in 1961 with these exact same dimensions.

See additional AutoMuseumOnline articles on the links below…

1941 Chevrolet Fleetline Convertible

Location of VIN Plates and Serial Number Stamps on Vintage Vehicles

61 chevy impala dashboard

Dashboard on 1961 Chevrolet Impala

The Popular 1961 Impala Collector Cars

The 1961 Chevy Impala’s represented the first model year of the third generation Impala. The distinctive new styling of that year is popular along with the rare Impala Two-Door Sedan offered for that year only.

Asking prices today for restored 1961 Chevrolet Impalas can be found in a range of, in general, perhaps $40,000 to $70,000 depending on degree of restoration and originality. You might find a few higher than this. In addition, 61 Chevy Impala SS models for sale have sold for $90,000 plus and another had an asking price approaching $200,000.

(Article and photos copyright AutoMuseumOnline)