German Motorcycles

NSU 501 SS 1936

Frame Number: 1104808
Engine Number: 160741
Body Colour: Black / Aluminium
Cc: 494
MOT ExpiryDate: N/A
NSU had been established in 1873 to manufacture knitting machines before progressing to cycle production in 1889. 1901 saw the introduction of the first NSU motorcycle powered by a Swiss ZL engine which was quickly followed by models powered by their own single and vee twin cylinder inlet over exhaust engines. During the First World War the company supplied motorcycles to the German armed forces and the 1920's range included a series of unit construction models. NSU recognised the value of competition as a way of promoting their products at an early stage, offering a production racing machine as early as 1905.

During the first half of the thirties a pair of overhead cam singles represented NSU in competition. Typed the 501SS and 601SS the machines had a distinctly "English" appearance, hardly surprising given that they were created by former Norton designer Walter Moore.

Moore had joined the Bracebridge Street company in 1924 and had overseen Norton's competition efforts during his stay with the firm. In 1927 he had designed the first "cammy" Nortons for the works team. When the new machines made their debut at the 1927 TT first Stanley Woods and then Alec Bennett led the race, both by a considerable margin until both were forced to retire due to clutch problems. With the design proven on the track production versions were quick to follow with the CS1 490cc model making its debut at the 1928 Show quickly joined by the 348cc CSJ. NSU had been endeavouring to secure Moore's services for a number of years and succeeded at the end of 1929 with Moore joining the German company for 1930, taking his camshaft design with him to create the 501 and 601 Supersports.

Built between 1930 and 1935 the two models were equipped with a four speed gearbox, Bosch magneto, hairpin valves and a Fischer Amal carburettor. The engine dimensions for the 501SS were different to those