Your Next Project Car: Practical Jokes Edition

NSU_Prinz_30Listen, the concept here is pretty simple. I have no garage, limited tools, zero storage space, and a Volkswagen. This means I am wholly unable to start on a new project car, and in fact restricted in my ability to work on the project cars I already have.
To that end, I am forced to live vicariously through you, our commenters and friends.

Oh that doesn't look so bad! It's totally fixable!
Oh that doesn't look so bad! It's totally fixable!

Thus, I am going to choose the project car for you, and tell you why you should buy it and fix it up. Once I’ve done the hard part, all you have to do is… well, go do it. So here’s your first project. Get out your wrenches!
The Craigslist seller doesn’t exactly provide a whole lot of information, nor does he inspire a whole lot of confidence. His description is… well, let’s just say “succinct”. But it doesn’t matter, there are two photos, that’s the equivalent of two thousand words! Here’s his advertisement, in its entirety:

2 early 60’s pranx nsu werke, needs total restoration, you make one car out of two. $3000/obo All offers will be considered! Cash on pick up only! Thanks

So why should we care about this odd-looking little car? Well, for starters, it’s an odd-looking little car. And secondly, it’s an Audi!
Well, kind of. It’s an NSU. Despite the seller’s description, it’s actually a pair of Mk I Prinzes, circa roughly 1961. They are not actually “Pranx”, as the seller describes them, although it is entirely possible you will think that  a more fitting name for them once this whole project is finished. And NSU eventually became a part of the DKW / Auto Union / Audi / NSU amalgamation that were all folded into Audi when they were bought en masse by Volkswagen in the late 1960s. But that’s too much information for the average bystander, so when people ask, it’s an old Audi! Nevermind that NSU was actually a knitting machine and bicycle manufacturer. Those trivial details are on a need-to-know basis.

Okay, that one, maybe no-so-good. Parts car.
Okay, that one, maybe no-so-good. Parts car.

So what are the bragging rights for this car? It has an air-cooled two-cylinder engine from a motorcycle, producing slightly more than twenty horsepower. What? Yes. Twenty, two-zero. All this power is dumped straight into a crash-box transmission, again based on a motorcycle design, although if this is one of the later models, it’s possible you could luck out and get one with syncromesh! Ooooh! I know, it doesn’t sound too exciting at first, but think of the possibilities. The engine is roughly 880 cc’s in displacement… approximately the same as the smallest of the new Harley-Davidson engines. Or, what the hell, upgrade to the biggest Harley engine you can find. Just imagine how awesome this little car would sound when you started it up and got that fantastic V-twin heartbeat rumbling out of the rear! What’s that? Don’t like Harley engines? Fine, we’ll allow you to ‘Busa it, but that just seems wrong, given the German – Japanese rivalry of late.
Sure, it might take you a bit of work, and you might have to put in a few late nights, swearing your lungs out as you try and figure out how you’re going to deal with a missing part for a car, built by a company which no longer exists, because it was absorbed by another company which is notorious for charging an exorbitant fortune for the parts it actually does manufacture for the cars it currently produces, so the odds that they’d have your part are slim to none, and if they did it would cost more than both cars combined. But that’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make.
The seller says he wants $3000, but he’s willing to negotiate. Get in there, get your hands dirty, and get to work. Oh, and send me photos.
Massive hat-tip to Jeremy, off of whom I stole the original Craigslist Ad!

72 Comments

    1. I did have a hat-tip to you in there! I kind of lost it while I was trying to deal with some runaway strikethrough that WordPress seemed to want to add in there. It’s back now!

      1. I don’t like to use the COTD anymore. A bit too mainstream..if you know what I mean?….how about HOTD: Hoon Of The Day?

        1. Uh, that might not work either. Some other site has that covered, I think. Besides, why pick out one commenter to raise above the rest? It’s going to take all of us to make this site great.

  1. Despite current rivalries, the German-Japanese… um… (searches for synonym for axis)… combination has been known to work in the past. So you could ‘Busa it and sleep at night. In Argentina.

    1. Yeah, but the Germans work much better when they’re combined with Americans. I mean, just look at how well that Daimler and Chrysler alliance went!
      Wait… crap, nevermind.

        1. No, sillies; the right way to do is bring your German cars over as an entirely new brand in America, like what Ford did with Merkur.
          Wait… crap, nevermind.

          1. See, this is why AMC was so successful – they spurned the Germans and went with Renault.
            Wait… crap, nevermind.

          2. This just goes to show how smart Ford was when they had the Japanese (Mazda) design the car and the Koreans (Kia) build the car in order to get the best sports car ever – the Ford Festiva.
            Wait… crap, nevermind.

          3. No, no, no, you’re supposed to import cars from your Australian unit, like GM did with Holden.
            Wait… crap, nevermind.

          4. For the record, I fuckin’ love you guys. That thread was absolutely hilarious, you made my day. Good hustle, everyone. Good game.
            I’m stressing a little bit about coming up with enough good material to keep you all engaged and interested, but exchanges like that remind me why it’s worth it, just to keep building this little experiment we have here.
            Thanks guys, I needed that.

          5. Guys, way to be un-American, all you really ever would want in life can be gotten from an all-American, all-awesome, all-incredible Chrysler Sebring Convertible!
            Wait… crap, nevermind.

          6. In the interest of not leaving our Candian friends out in the cold, we should look north. Like Malcolm Bricklin did to produce the SV-1.
            Wait…crap, nevermind.

          7. No, no, no if you are going to import cars from your Australian unit they should be small convertables like the Mercury Capri.
            Wait… crap, nevermind.

    1. BTW, that could also be a sort of Hooniversity post as well. NSU is totally new to me. Neat little car though.

  2. “The engine is roughly 880 cc’s in displacement… approximately the same as the smallest of the new Harley-Davidson engines.”
    Certainly does give you a perspective.

  3. I’m of half a mind to use the intact one for a chuck to make a CF unibody, then stuff an Audi V6 in the front. Think of the mayhem a 330hp car the size of bucket could make in a “silhouette” racing series!

      1. Damn it!!! Did it again. How the hell does it keep doing this? Is there going to be a delete or edit function?

  4. When we bring the Nash Metropolitan in this winter I’ll let you live precariously through me. I’ll even give you a ride if you ever come by.
    Beep! Beep!

  5. Looks like a decently-sized tosser until you realize the car in front of the rusted example is a ginormous Neon.
    Given this newly-realized diminutive state, I’d be more inclined to slap the body on a go-kart chassis, and make some Shriners jealous.

    1. Hell, I’ll cut a hole in the roof, stick my arms out the windows and there’s my Halloween costume.

      1. Ha ha! Totally worth all the dumbfounded kids asking “Which Transformer are you supposed to be?”
        Can’t click here so have this <3 thingy, I'm told less-than-three has some hidden meaning in these here internets.

  6. You could make a “hybrid” by utilizing hamster balls at all four corners. I think it would be a power increase.

  7. You know the BMW motorcycle engines output to a shaft little bit of welding and some hammer..er..engineering later and I bet it would be almost a straight swap! assuming this is RWD. Heck the plunger-diff on the Metro seemed to hold up well…

    1. Oooooh good call. I have a few lying around the garage…what we say, 2332 and a stinger? BWAHAHAHAA!!!!

  8. oh and mitch, its a prinz 1, not mk 1. there is also the prinz 2, 3 and 4. and thats were i stop freely giving away information. i dont want all you heathen to start gobbling up all my prospective purchases.

  9. I think a requirement for my next project car should be that it has less horsepower than my riding lawnmower. The lawnmower has 26HP, this only has 22HP so it qualifies. In the last 15 years or so I have had 2 PCH projects. A Fiat 850 and a 67 Imperial convertible (see avatar). The Fiat ended up scattered across the globe in pieces via ebay, the shell was donated to the church to use as a prop for vacation bible school. The Imperial was sold for parts, never did hear if it broke in half on the trailer on the way back. In keeping with the little then big theme, it is time for something small.

      1. I thought you were going to stop giving away information. I think you just want someone on here to buy these, kindnap you, and “force” you to work on these. Come clean man, come clean.

      2. Now you made me go to the Kohler website and look up the specs. My lawnmower has 44.4 ft lbs. @ about 2400rpm. The lawnmower only has 725cc!

        1. I think somebody found the perfect powerplant for this little Prinze. Better lock up that lawnmower!

          1. Now where would you attach the mower deck to the NSU? I’m thinking dual purpose vehicle.

          2. Under the trunk and some that drop out of the doors, of course. Didn’t you ever watch Monster Garage? 😉

          3. Does that mean I would have to paint it metal-flake/glitter green.
            I’ve tried to forget Monster Garage.

          4. Unfortunately, yes. And there must be at least 15 Iron Crosses on it, and multiple references to Discovery Channel.

  10. BMW motorcycle power comes to mind… Of course, if you are not too attached to the idea of having rear passengers, you might be able to cram a Porsche drive train in there.

  11. “Everybody can relax, I found the car! Needs some suspension work; and shocks, and brakes, brake pads, lining, steering box, transmission, rear end -”
    “how much?”
    “Only forty-eight hundred. And maybe new rings, also mufflers, a little wiring…”

  12. If there’s one thing that works on me everytime, it’s an ad that uses the imperative form. “You make one car out of two.” Sir, yes SIR!”
    So, here’s what I’d do. Buy both cars and, as instructed, make one car out of two. Take them both apart, combine all the parts and put them back together. BUT, do it real half-assed. Don’t catalogue anything, don’t sketch the way things go together, just do an NSU mash-up. Then, if there are any holes that look like they should have something filling them, just grab a random part from whatever car you happen to have lying around, or better yet, MAKE the necessary part out of, hell, anything. Then drive around in your “car” until the fire department comes.
    (You know how in “Jurassic Park” they took amberized dinosaur DNA, sequenced it together, and used frog DNA to fill in the gaps? Same principle. Probably get the same results, too.)

    1. Actually, he states “You make one car out of two”, but doesn’t say that those two cars have to both be these little NSUs. So you could take one, maybe add in a little E39, and voila!

  13. A British ex-pat radio host who used to claim to be from Tooele,Utah always wondered why a car company would name itself after an STD; non-specific urethritis. Needless to say, here in Utah his audience was self-limited but very entertaining.

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