From kindergarten to racetrack

Family Business: The remarkable story of an NSU 1000 C

Most car enthusiasts’ careers traditionally begin in childhood and almost always, the father is the one who lights the spark. And that was how it was with Robin Podak, although his mother and grandparents also played an important part.

But, first things first. Robin Podak is passionate about the NSU 1000 and its particularly sporty versions the TT and TTS, which were manufactured by NSU Motorenwerke AG between 1965 and 1972. “I had no choice really”, says the 36 year-old. “My grandmother and grandfather both drove NSUs. And the cars quickly became a hobby that I shared with my father”.

But the word “hobby” barely does justice to his passion for the brand. Robin bought his first NSU at the tender age of 14. And he was only 18 when he did his first hill climb in proper style – in an NSU TT of course. Since then, the man from Hagen, Germany has competed in countless races in different disciplines – hill climbing, slaloms and rallies – though Robin has always stayed true to the NSU brand.

His current project is an NSU 1000 C, which he has been restoring for about eight years. The car was built in 1970 and has been in the family since 1987; it will come as no surprise that Robin’s mother was its most recent owner. “This was the car I was driven to kindergarten in”, says Robin matter-of-factly.

The NSU no longer bears much resemblance to the old family limousine. The interior has been completely stripped, including the driver’s seat. The interior is now fitted with a roll cage. And the bodywork was also built with the racetrack in mind.

“I built the car in line with the old Group 2 rules”, says Robin. As befits its status as a racing car, the company Spiess have fitted a thoroughbred rear-wheel drive system. Engine power: 124 kW at a weight of only 628 kilograms!

A look beneath the bodywork shows just how highly Robin values his racing machine. Polished, shiny motorsport technology everywhere and not a speck of dirt or even rust in sight. “I’ve used a lot of original parts, but a lot of new ones as well”, says Robin.

The chassis is a case in point. “Back in the day, BILSTEIN developed a suspension for my NSU TT. It was so good that BILSTEIN is now the go-to company for almost every other NSU TT driver”, says Robin, who has excellent contacts on the NSU scene.

So, obviously, when shock absorbers were needed for the latest project, it was to us that he turned. “BILSTEIN has built a customised uniball chassis mount with aluminium absorbers for my NSU 100 C”, says Robin.

No wonder Robin can hardly wait to send his brand new NSU onto the racetrack. However, he’ll have to wait a while yet, because Robin’s racer will be one of the highlights on show at the BILSTEIN stand at the Techno Classica from 21st to 25th March.