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History of 4×4’s

Who invented the all famous four-wheel drive?

Ferdinand Porsche planned and built a four-wheel drive electric vehicle for the K.U.K Hofwagenfabrik Ludwig Lohner & Co. At Vienna in 1899, presented during the 1900 World Exhibition at Paris to the public. The automobile was powered by an electric hub motor at each wheel. Although awkwardly heavy, the vehicle proved a powerful sprinter and record-breaker in the fingers of its owner E.W. Hart. Due to its uncommon status the Lohner Porsche is not extensively credited as the first four-wheel drive automobile.

The first four-wheel drive car, with an internal combustion engine, the Spyker 60hp, was presented in 1903 by Dutch brothers Jacobus and Hendrik-Jan Spyker of Amsterdam. The two-seat sports car, which was also the first ever car equipped with a six-cylinder engine, is now a display in the Louwman Collection at Raamsdonksveer in The Netherlands.

The first 4WD vehicle in the history had an electric hub motor on each wheel – the engine powered a generator for power supply. Porsche was 25 years old when he planned the vehicle. NASA used the idea of electric wheel hub motors to put its lunar vehicle in motion.

The First motorized 4WD was built by the Dutch company Jacobus Spyker in 1902. Since the Lohner/Porsche four-wheel drive has such an uncommon status with its electric hub motors the Spyker is well-thought-out to be the world’s first four-wheel drive car.

The world’s first automaker, Daimler Benz had a firm place in 4WD history as well. Mercedes began building 4WD vehicles 1903, some of them already with all wheel steering.

The first US four-wheel drive vehicle, was built in 1911 by the Four Wheel Drive auto business. The establishment was formed by Zachow and Besserdich, and the latter was later convoluted in forming a company that took its name from the town of Oshkosh and built 4×4 trucks. FWD supplied 4×4 trucks to both the British and US armies throughout World War One. Mercedes and BMW introduced really refined four-wheel drive vehicles in 1926.

If you appreciated this article and interested in the all-wheel/4×4 driving experience then please visit South Africa’s favourite 4×4 driving portal, South Africa 4×4, whereby you are able to experience this first hand with the entire family with a fully equipped 4×4 vehicle. The vehicles include all camping gear if requested and organized accommodation is also available if you plan on staying a bit longer to enjoy the more intricate parts of life out in the outdoors.

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