This past weekend, Otto and I piled into the Pao and determinedly tootled an hour and a half to the NC Transportation Museum where the RAD Carolina car show was being held. I drew a bunch of quick car drawings for the good people, helped judge, and generally devalued the property with my presence. As always, it was a blast, with some great cars showing up, some of which I’ll likely be featuring in future Cold Starts. Right now, though, I want to focus on one very unexpected and very tiny car, which you can see above.
The museum has pretty extensive model railroad setup, and in the process of scrutinizing it, a tiny model car caught my attention, because it’s a really unexpected car to see, both in reality and in miniature, especially in America. It’s this:
You know what I think that is? That filthy, tiny, plastic little car? I think it’s one of these:
An NSU Ro80! Arguably the finest full-sized rotary four-door sedan ever made, the Ro80 is one of those few cars of the 1960s that, were you to update details like bumpers and mirrors and maybe some lighting, could pass for a modern car, even today.
The Ro80 was built for 10 years, from 1967 to 1977, with well under 40,000 examples made, so it was never a common car. It was always wildly rare in America, too, so seeing it represented so casually in a model railroad is a shock as massive as the model car is tiny.
It’s likely the only Ro80 in Spencer, NC. I’m actually not certain there’s a real Ro80 in the entire state, even?
Also, I think this may be the smallest subject of any Cold Start, so please annotate the event accordingly.