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January 22nd, 2018

NSU were a German manufacturer of cars, motorcycles and pedal cars founded in 1873. They were acquired by Volkswagen in 1969 and eventually began part of what we now know as Audi. The Second World War saw a number of unique machines being developed by German manufacturers to help in the war effort and this Kettenkrad type HK 101 is no exception. Built by NSU between 1941 and 1948, the HK 101 used a fork and motorcycle wheel up front while the rear sat on tracks not dissimilar to a tank. A 1.4-litre Opel engine powered this contraption and its was intended for use mainly by airborne divisions of the German Army. Extremely maneuverable given its narrow track and its single side track locking capability, the HK 101 could ferry two soldiers across challenging terrain quite easily.

This example- NSU HK 101 Kettenkrad from 1942 is up for auction at Artcurial’s Retromobile 2018 sale. Partly restored and still including the standard axe and shovel, this is a unique example of the engineering ingenuity that was a highlight of the Second World War. Photos courtesy Artcurial Motorcars

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