The German brand started producing its in-house designed motorcycles in earnest from 1920 onwards. It was to be a decade in which NSU put significant investment into the manufacture of small-engined motorcycles. Even still, the company maintained the production of some of the more prestigious bikes that it’d assembled in its previous life.
Also, in the same decade, NSU began the development of competition bikes and achieved numerous successes on the German motorcycling racing scene. Racing was a tradition that this German marque would maintain for as long as the factory existed. Following the end of the Second World War, NSU switched to the manufacture of stamped steel frames for its bikes, choosing to drop the more traditional tubular frame designs.
The company did not limit their products to two wheels only. FN ventured into the four-wheeled market in the 1950s with its well-known RO80 car, which was fitted with the W80el engine. Unfortunately for NSU, this was to be its downfall. Huge challenges in financial stability drove the company to bankruptcy until it was finally swallowed up by the VW / Audi family.
The 1911 NSU motorcycle in the Museu do Caramulo was acquired at the beginning of the 19th century in the city of Porto. It was bought from the “João Garrido Establishments” in 1967 for the sum of 700 dolars by a private individual. The bike was sold to João de Lacerda shortly afterward, who bought it for 1000 dolars.
The NSU 399cc was eventually donated to the Museu do Caramulo by Pedro Lacerda Correia de Barros.