The NSU motorcycles became legends, and for a while the cars did okay too. In the Weimar era, however, NSU overextended itself trying to build inexpensive cars in volume. The company even built a second factory on the banks of the Neckar river, near Heilbronn in 1926-27 to build larger volumes of cars – but the cars got clobbered by Opel and Ford, among others, and the big wave of production never happened.
Fiat stepped in to help – buying the new factory in 1929 by setting up a local subsidiary in Germany (NSU Automobil AG) with the help of NSU’s financiers and with some limited cooperation from NSU itself.
In 1931, “NSU” (Neckarsulmer Fahrzeugwerke AG, later NSU-Werke AG) dropped cars altogether while Fiat began had already begun building “NSU-Fiats” at Heilbronn. So it was that two completely separate companies were selling motorized vehicles as NSUs built in factories just miles apart. NSU-Fiats were sort of like early Simcas or Zastavas – licensed local Fiats.
NSU Werke built motorcycles, which after WW2 became ever more famous; and the “real” NSU came to dislike NSU-Fiat using the name. When the “real” NSU wanted to make cars again in the mid-50s, the two companies clashed in court; with the original details of the 1929 agreement hashed out and reviewed. Ultimately, a Judge decided that the 1929 documents did not bind the name to Fiat’s subsidiary even though the company was officially named “NSU Automobil”. NSU-Fiat was allowed to continue using that name for a short time and then change it’s products “Neckar,” and NSU Werke launched the 1957 Prinz – a car which directly competed with some of the NSU-Fiat/Neckar range.
After WW2, Fiat concentrated its efforts on supplying reliable, low-cost products to the high volume market, leaving others to serve the needs of the high-performance sector. Thus customers wanting increased performance from their FIAT had little option but to turn to independent tuning concerns such as Nardi and SIATA. SIATA (Societa Italiana Auto Trasformazioni Accessori) was founded in 1926 by Giorgio Ambrosini and specialised in modifying and tuning Fiats.
SIATA placed a small series of vehicles on the market that were directly derived from the Fiat 600 and 1100 models. Encouraged by these experiences, with the launch of the Fiat 1300/1500 medium saloon, SIATA prepared a streamlined coupé derived from this car, the bodywork of which was the work of Michelotti and was inspired by one of his fuoriserie built on a Jaguar XK140 chassis. The 1300TS and 1500TS naturally had an upgraded engine compared to the standard one and decidedly sportier finishing: the 1500 went from 73 to 94 horsepower.
In 1963, the Necker showed much interest in the car and decided to produce it, and to sell it under the name Mistral. So, the Siata 1500 TS sold in Italy became the Neckar Mistral for the European market. Production ended in 1965. Very limited quantities of this model were built and certainly only a very few examples survive today.
The car was purchased in 1995 by the last owner, having already been restored by its preceding owner, who had acquired it in 1978. This stylish Italian rarity starts 'on the button' and is described as in good overall condition.
Neckar Mistral 1500 TS
Fiat Siata 4 cylinder inline
|Bore x Stroke||
77 x 79,5 mm
94 pk at 6.200 rpm
420 x 155 x 130 cm
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