View Full Version : The 1st 4wd..Netherlands?

07-30-2009, 19:29
I'm updating our website with a little history. I thought the 1st 4wd was in Norway but it looks like it is in the Netherlands. I guess it is still on display. Has anybody seen it?

Vic Carroll
Advance Adapters

this what I have so far

Although Jeep made 4 wheel drive a mainstay in America. The first inventors of 4 wheel drives precede Jeep by some 40 years. The exact inventor of four-wheel drive is not irrefutably known. If credit is to be given however; English engineer Bramah Joseph Diplock patented a four wheel drive system including four-wheel steer in 1893, which he shortly thereafter built. Credit can also be given to Ferdinand Porsche who designed, built and displayed a four-wheel drive electrical vehicle for the 1900 World Exhibition in Paris.

These predecessors of 4 wheel drive technology were not really 4wd vehicles as we recognize the term today. The first actual 4 wheel drive car was built in 1903 by Dutch brothers Jacobus and Hendrik-Jan Spijker of Amsterdam. The two-seat vehicle was also the first car ever outfitted with a six-cylinder engine. Ironically the first four-wheel drive car was designed as a hill-climb racer, a sport still popular in parts of Europe today. The vehicle is currently on exhibition in the Louwman Collection in the Netherlands.

The first American contribution was that of the Twyford Company in 1905. Although there were only a handful manufactured, The Twyford vehicle lays claim to the first 4wd truck ever made. Shortly thereafter the 2nd U.S. four-wheel drive vehicle was built in 1908 by the Four Wheel Drive Auto Company. FWD would later produce over 20,000 of its four-wheel drive Model B trucks for the British and American armies during World War I. Thousands of other four wheel drive trucks would also be manufactured By the Jeffrey motor company known as “Jeffery Quads”.

Following World War I, There was little development for 4 wheel drives, as the United States Government was not overly seeking military advances in this field. The Marmon-Herrington Company did however recognize a growing market for reasonably priced four-wheel drive vehicles. Marmon-Herrington focused in converting Ford trucks from 2wd to 4wd drive. The demand grew rapidly as the U.S. military saw the benefits of 4wd aircraft refueling trucks and 4wd vehicles for transporting light weaponry. There was also demand in the growing petroleum market where 4wd vehicles were needed for ever expanding oil pipelines. The 1930s would see other 4wd advances mostly in agriculture and vehicles needed for the many work projects developed throughout the great depression. It wasn’t until America was forced into another major war that 4wd would see significant technological advances.

In 1940 as tyranny and war spread throughout Europe, The United States Government realized American involvement would be inevitable. The decision was made to put out a request to American auto companies: Submit a small light vehicle for the war effort and do it in 49 days. Auto companies were given guidelines such as weight, strength, power and numerous other specifications including 4 wheel drive. This was the first steps of the development of what would become known as the Jeep

Several companies submitted blueprints and design concepts including Ford and Willys, but only Bantam was able to actually submit a complete working vehicle. It would only seem logical that Bantam would be awarded the contract; however, top military brass had reservations as to their production capabilities. Instead the War Department sent the Bantam blueprints to Ford and Willys, maintaining the government was the rightful owner of the designs. Bantam did not dispute the issue as the company was already in financial disarray. To expose any finacial weakness would have resulted in the loss of any future contracts. In the end, Ford and Willys would reap the benefits, Willys built 363,480 Jeeps by war’s end; Ford built 280,150.