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Motorworld’s newspaper № 36

In the 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 true novelty at the time. This work was headed by Walter Moore, an engineer from England, who had been previously working for Norton. The necessity of improving own engine was a result of a serious competition with BMW and DKW, which were installing twin-cylinder engines on their machines. The NSU motorcycles, using mostly single-cylinder engines, were losing the competition in terms of engine rating.

The new OHV engine was decided to try on racing models with 200cc, 250cc, 350cc, and 500cc capacity.

Finally, in 1938, the 601 OSL model was produced, it had the OHV, 562-cc engine with 20 hp at 3,800 rpm. The “OSL” abbreviation meant “overhead, racing, luxury.” The look of the motorcycle with an aluminum cylinder and chrome-plated tailpipes was magnificent indeed.

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

In 1939, the production of NSU 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