first-4x4-awd
In the Spotlight

Who is … the oldest swinger

The continuing banter battle between 4×4 owners over who was the original 4×4 designer never loses pace, so we thought we would do a little digging to see how far back we could go, and to determine who came up with the original idea to have all four wheels driven.
Who built the first 4×4 has always been a heady debate with first thoughts jumping to Jeep or Land Rover but these two brands have always allowed their owners to enjoy a competitive banter and neither were the first.
4×4 history goes right back to the end of the nineteenth century with the first patent in
The Diplock
The Diplock
1893 by British engineer Bramah Joseph Diplock, the design included differentials and four wheel steering for a traction engine which Bramah built making it officially the first patented 4×4.

 

 

The Porsche Hist
The Porsche Hist
In 1900 Ferdinand Porsche yes the Italian car designer built an electric powered car the Lohner-Porsche with a motor at all four wheels, because it wasn’t fitted with transfer cases etc, it is not commonly accredited to being a 4×4, suppose he’s the first designer of the ‘All Wheel Drive’ then? Ironic that car manufacturers are now harping back to this idea. The Lohner was considered to be a heavy and cumbersome car but proved to be a record-breaking sprinter.

 

 

In 1903 a Dutch company called Spyker built the Spyker, with the first six cylinder
The Spyker 60
The Spyker 60
engine, 60HP, four wheel drive, two seat Grand Prix Racer, the company was founded by two brothers Hendrik and Jacobus Spijker in 1880 building carriages, they built their first motor car in 1898 closely followed by the Spyker with driveshafts etc. qualifying it to be the worlds first 4×4 car.

 

 

The Americans were close on the heels in 1905 when the Twyford Motor Car Company at Brookville trademarked their 4×4 Stanhope, named after the family. They only produced six of them in 1906 so are very rare indeed, some are still believed to exist but only in private collections.
The Quad Truck
The Quad Truck
1913 saw the American Thomas B. Jeffery Company make headway with their four wheel drive truck the Jeffery Quad, in 1916 the company was purchased by Nash Motors adapting the name slightly to the Nash Quad. The Quad had a high clearance, four wheel drive, four wheel brakes and four wheel steering which made it a success with the military during WW1. The Quad sold nearly 42,000 units in the fifteen years of production. This was the very first mass produced 4×4 truck.

 

 

 

1941 The Willys-Overland (Jeep) this was the first mass produced 4×4 “car” with nearly 400,000 being produced for the military by the end of the war between Willy’s MB, Ford’s GP and Bantam’s BRC60, all built to the Willys specifications for the military. Before the end of the war Willys started advertising the Jeep and it’s accomplishments in a bid to make the trademark theirs. They had no opposition from the original designer the American Bantam Company because the owner Roy Evans had a majority share holding in the Willys-Overland Company. The name Jeep is believed to have derived from the military term “General Purpose” that was shortened to “G.P.”  … hence “Jeep”
As they say ; the rest is history ….

 

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