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Reliving The Past: History of 4x4 at a Glance

Shortly after Karl Benz introduced his gasoline powered Motorwagen in 1885, 4x4 automobile was introduced by another automotive legend, Ferdinand Porsche. Porsche built a specialized 4x4 hybrid vehicle in 1899, just four yeas after Karl Benz launched first production vehicle in 1894. Porsche’s creation was centuries ahead of its time as it was powered by electricity, provided by both batteries and a mounted generator. All four wheels had separate hub motors, delivering power in range of 2.5 to 7 hp. Lohner-Porsche, as it was called, laid ground works for modern day hybrid vehicles and also for NASA’s Lunar Rover project.

The first complete gas powered, combustion engine, 4x4 vehicle was a sports car built by Jacob and Hendrik Spijker in 1903, called Spyker 60. It was designed and built specifically for hill climb races, and is regarded as the first ever 4x4 by most historians. American Twyford Company built America’s first 4x4 in 1905 and by 1908 another American automaker FWD (Four Wheel Drive) developed 4x4 trucks, more than 15,000 of their trucks were used by US and allied forces in WW1.

On other front of war, Germany also built 4x4s, far superior than their American counterparts. Mercedes started producing 4x4s as early as 1903 but it wasn’t until 1926 that German auto industry focused on 4x4s. Strict orders were given by German command to built 4x4s according to the laid out specifications, thus Mercedes G Series and BMW 4x4 came into existence in 1926. Both were identical in looks and specs, both employed clever designed to carry troops and face harsh terrains with 4x4 and four wheel steering. G Series’ bigger version (G3, G4 etc) were also produced for higher official and specific military tasks but their weight, in access of 2470kg, became their biggest drawback, rendering their off-road capabilities rather limited. These gigantic vehicles also came with four wheel drive and steering, coupled with independent suspension and 3 differentials.

Then in 1938, it was Russia’s turn to have a go at 4x4, their GAZ-61 which became the very first passenger vehicle with 4x4 capabilities. America’s Willy’s Jeep, on the other hand didn’t emerge till early 1940s but proved itself more functional because of its nimbleness and light weight. It also became the first vehicle which could go anywhere and later in 1948, Rover introduced land Rover with similar capabilities in a refined shell. By 1970 an up scaled, luxurious version, Range Rover, was also launched. Mean while Kaiser Jeep was launched in America in 1963 with ingenious innovations like automatic transmission and front independent suspension, fitted in a 4x4. British automaker, Jensen, launched Jensen Interceptor in 1966, which became the first vehicle with AWD system, sending 40% torque to front and 60% to rear wheels.

By 1980, Audi introduced its clever Quattro, AWD, system, which comes as standard in its vehicle lineup and in 1982. Mitsubishi launched Pajero to challenge American and British SUVs, most recent automaker joining AWD bandwagon is, Italian icon, Ferrari. Till now, most dominant SUVs and 4x4s remain under Mitsubishi, Land Rover, Toyota and Ford’s badges. Though Spyker initiated use of 4x4 in racing, the likes of Mitsubishi Pajero and VW Touareg took it to another level by becoming most dominant Dakar performers, winning multiple championships.

Joyce Quarles is an expert in Mitsubishi Pajero Engine. If you are interested in learning more about quality Mitsubishi Pajero Diesel Engine Problems, please contact us by visiting our main Mitsubishi Pajero Diesel Engine Problems site: Mitsubishi Pajero Diesel Engine Problems or by calling us at 442085960396


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