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Blunder Buses: NSU Ro80

2 months ago

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Writer:

Richard Bremner | Journalist

Date:

2 January 2024

It had all the hallmarks of a shady deal. A man turns up at a vehicle storage compound with a low-loader and a bag of cash. The cash is counted in front of witnesses, before one of them is sent to the local bank to pay in a £4000 wad of notes.

A lot of money in 1978, but decidedly less than the £7765 list price of the brand new car that low-loader man was buying. What he had bought was the very last NSU Ro80 available from UK importers Audi NSU, at not much more than half price.

The witness to this scene – though not one of the money-counters – was a young David Ingram, long-time Audi PR man and new vehicle development specialist. He started his new job in April 1978, ‘the location the Ramsgate import centre, my place of work until October that year when we all relocated to Milton Keynes. The office overlooked the vehicle compound, and languishing in the corner was a sad looking Ro80. Still covered in rather grimy protective wax, it was the last such car in importer stock. None of the official dealers wanted it, so my boss was tasked with finding a customer. I wasn’t involved at all, but I do remember a low-loader arriving one morning, and the driver handing over a bag of cash…’

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