1929 NSU 501; NSU; 1929; CMM192
1929 NSU 501About this object
NSU began motorcycle production in 1901 with a 1.5hp Zedel engine in a bicycle frame marketed under the Neckarsulm Motorrad trade mark. Two years later, the company developed its own single-and twin-cylinder engines and embarked on the production of motorcycles with advanced design features including a contracting band front brake and pioneering the use of rear suspension to offer a coil sprung frame as an option prior to the First World War.
The model range was expanded during the 1920s with unit construction singles in the smaller capacities complimented by large-capacity V-twins. However, as the decade drew to a close, the effects of the Great Depression had an adverse effect on the company’s fortune. In response it employed former Norton designer, Walter Moore, who was responsible for the introduction of an overhead-camshaft single that was clearly influenced by his design for the Norton CS1 engine. The 494cc 501 was launched with a three-speed, hand-change gearbox and girder front forks. The model name indicates that it had a 500cc with the ‘1’ indicating a single-cylinder engine. It met with considerable success through several model variations and updates, and helped to promote the company’s range of unit construction, road-going singles.
This 1929 example was acquired in May 2016 by Transport World from the Nelson collection NZ Classic Motorcycles, who acquired it via a US auction house in January, 2009. It had been kept in storage by the vendor’s family for the previous 30 years and while its frame and body parts had been powder coated and a new seat cover, tyre and battery fitted, the engine had never been stripped down.