The NSU Company was founded in 1873 as a manufacturer of knitting machines. In 1886 the company began manufacturing bicycles and by 1892 bicycle manufacturing had completely replaced the production of knitting machines. The first NSU motorcycle appeared in 1901 followed by the first NSU car in 1905. In 1931 automobile production was sold off to Fiat Motors, only to restart automobile production in 1957. WWII left NSU's factories completely destroyed, but they resumed production of their pre-war models in 1946 and introduced the MAX in 1953. The Max had some very innovative features including a monocoque frame made from pressed steel which was later inherited by the Supermax. By 1955 NSU had become the largest motorcycle producer in the world. In 1955 the first man to ever exceed 200mph on a motorcycle at the Bonneville Salt Flats rode an NSU. In 1956 NSU introduced the Supermax with it's 250cc engine, larger gas tank, and dual rear suspension.