In the roster of glorious automotive failures, few can compete with the NSU R08O. which may have been the Car of the Year in 1967, but that was no guarantee of commercial success. Although it offered superb high-speed refinement, the Ro80’s rotary engine proved to be horrifically unreliable and the semi-automatic transmission was unpopular. NSU was brought to its knees by the warranty costs of engines failing in under 10,000 miles; the company would end up being absorbed into the VW/Audi empire.
It wasn’t just the NSU’s engineering that impressed; it was the world’s most aerodynamic production road car, which is why it was so quick and refined.