Factory-produced electric restomods have been having a moment over the past few years. From the Ford F-100 Eluminator to the Toyota AE86 BEV, battery-powered versions of iconic cars have inspired both awe and derision, depending on your perspective. Now Audi’s had a go, electrifying an NSU Prinz for several very good reasons.
Audi, as we know it in the modern era, incorporated in 1969 as Audi NSU Auto Union AG, after merging with NSU. While the NSU brand has been long dormant, the Neckarsulm plant where the Prinz was built is still used today to assemble Audi’s flagship A8 sedan, midsize A6 sedan, and A7 liftback. To celebrate the factory’s 150th anniversary, Audi has taken a late NSU Prinz 4L and gone mental.
If you don’t know what that is, it’s this little German car (which, incidentally, is for sale on Hemmings for $13,000):
Specifically, the marque handed a friendly little economy car to a team of 12 trainees and told them to go nuts. Consider it a capstone project of sorts, renewal of a careworn classic using all the tools in the shed. Yes, don’t worry, a pristine example wasn’t cut up to build this. As apprentice bodywork and vehicle construction mechanic Mizgar Doman Hassan said, “When we got the car, its body had several rust spots. These areas were the first thing we fixed.”
Once the rust was tended to, Audi’s trainees turned their attention to the powertrain. Around back, the standard 598 cc air-cooled two-cylinder engine has been ditched in favor of the 240 horsepower motor from a 2020 e-tron, while the battery pack comes from a Q7 plug-in hybrid. The entire chassis comes from an A1, albeit with modifications, effectively making this Prinz 4L a very unique body drop. In the end, the result is a box-flared winged terror of a small German car sporting a 700 percent power increase over stock.
Speaking of those box flares, they’re nifty 3D-printed parts that are very necessary to tuck modern tires underneath this bite-sized car, and they aren’t the only racing-style tweaks made to the exterior of this Prinz. The rear wing actually goes through the rear window to mount to the cage, while a deep chin spoiler is a hard throwback to ‘70s race cars. Lighting elements reminiscent of the hot NSU 1000 were also grafted onto standard Prinz sheetmetal, and the Suzuka Grey paint job is punctuated by splashes of Signal Yellow and pixel-like graphics.
On the inside of this Prinz, things are, erm, spartan. Mind you, it’s not like the original car was the paragon of luxury, but with this one-off, you get a yellow cage, seats, a steering wheel, and all the air inside the vehicle included as standard equipment. Still, that should keep this Prinz as light as possible for a converted EV, and everyone knows that more lightness equals more quickness.
Once all the modifications were done, this Prinz was granted a new moniker: The Audi EP4. It all adds up to a digital hot rod for the electrified age that Audi’s trainees can be proud of. Now, let’s see Audi put it on a track. Wouldn’t that be wicked?
(Photo credits: Audi)
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