Motorworld’s newspaper № 36

In early 1930s, the NSU company was actively developing a design of an engine with an innovative valve train: the OHV, or overhead valve configuration, was a very new solution at the time. This work was headed by Walter Moore, an engineer from England who had been previously working at Norton. The necessity of improving own engine was dictated to NSU due to a serious competition with BMW и DKW and DKW, which were installing twin-cylinder engine on their machines. NSU motorcycles using mostly single-cylinder engines were losing the competition in terms of engine rating.

An OHV engine resulting from the NSU design effort was decided to be tried out on racing models, in engines with 200, 250, 350 and 500 cc capacity.

Finally, model 601 OSL was produced by 1938, having an OHV, 562-cc engine with 20 h.p. at 3800 rpm. The “OSL” abbreviation meant “overhead, racing, luxus-class.” The look of the motorcycle was magnificent indeed, what with aluminum cylinder and chrome-plated tail pipes.

Model 601 OSL was adopted by the Wehrmacht. The military version of this model was featuring a second seat, large pouches, and an exhaust system painted black. In the army the motorcycle was used as a transportation means for couriers and orderlies, which was only to be expected taking into account its maximum speed of 100 km/h.

In 1939 the production of model 601 OSL was terminated.

Material from the article «True Old-school. NSU 501/601 OSL».

Manufacturer Neckarsulmer Fahrzeugwerke, AG, Neckarsulm (Germany)
Years of manufacture 1938-1939
Quantity produced, units 4 962
Price 1 250 RM
Today’s value 8 079,65 $
Type Single-cylinder, vertically-arranged, OHV
Engine capacity, cc 562
Bore and stroke, mm 85 х 99
Engine rating 24 h.p. at 5000 rpm
Sparking Magneto Bosch
Carburetor Amal
Battery 6 V
Clutch Multiple-plate
Transmission 4-speed
Frame type Tubular
Front suspension Parallelogram, with frictional damper
Rear suspension Rigid
Brakes Drum type
Wheel size Front – 3.50×19, rear – 4.00 х 19
Length, mm
2 180
Width, mm
Height, mm
Wheelbase, mm
1 420
Ground clearance, mm
Seat height, mm
Mass, kg
Gas tank size, l
Maximum speed, km/h
Range, km