All-Wheel-Drive vehicles are renowned for providing increased safety and improved handling. They can confidently overcome various weather conditions and stony road surfaces. The all-wheel drive cars are reliable partners for both daily commuting and off-roading.
Among the wide range of models, there is sure to be one that fits your preferences and budget. To know more about the differences, check this comparative review of AWD vs 4WD before buying.
Behind the wheel of these cars, you will feel like a king of the road. Now, let’s delve into the history of all-wheel drive and trace its origins.
A long time ago…
- The history of all-wheel drive (AWD) has its origins in Europe. In 1893, English Bramah engineer Joseph Diplock patented and created a locomobile with AWD – a groundbreaking innovation. Six years later, Ferdinand Porsche, inspired by this design, made the first AWD electric car. This pioneering vehicle debuted at the 1900 Paris Exposition and had four wheels, each powered by an electric motor.
(1893 version by Joseph Diplock)
- In 1903, Dutch brothers Jacobus and Hendrik-Jan Spyker succeeded significantly with the world’s first AWD car, the Spyker 60/80 HP racing car. Remarkably, this car was the first ever equipped with a 6-cylinder engine. It was already fitted with an inter-axle differential in those early years, further cementing its place in automotive history.
- In 1907, Daimler-Benz played a crucial role in shaping the history of AWD by introducing the Derndurg-Wagen all-wheel drive chassis. This vehicle found its way on long off-road journeys across Africa, emphasizing the need for AWD to enhance off-road capability. The Daimler Dernburg set a precedent for recognizing the importance of AWD system for demanding environments.
- In 1905, the Twyford Company, located in Brookville, Pennsylvania, began producing four-wheel drive trucks. Following it in 1908, the Four Wheel Drive Auto Company (FWD) from Wisconsin became the second American manufacturer of 4-wheel drive vehicles. Model B received considerable recognition: about 15 thousand trucks were produced and delivered to the American and British armies during the First World War. Notably, this model was not only 4-wheel drive, but also had brakes on each wheel.
AWD in passenger vehicles
Today, AWD systems are not limited to rugged SUVs but are also fitted to compact hatchbacks. But I, for example, have chosen the Grand Cherokee, one of the most popular Jeeps for sale in Missouri.
This vehicle has become my faithful companion and assistant, so I am unlikely to ever return to less powerful models.
An AWD system is now available for almost any car body type. But that wasn’t always the case.
The advent of all-wheel drive (AWD) on passenger cars was a major milestone in the automotive industry. Since the inception of AWD, it took several decades to develop an efficient system for passenger cars.
The breakthrough came with the release of the iconic Audi Quattro in 1980. This car, known for its success in Group B rally racing, won the WRC World Rally Championship twice, forcing the automotive industry to rethink the potential of all-wheel drive for passenger cars.
The Audi Quattro truly revolutionized the industry by demonstrating the benefits of AWD in challenging road conditions. Subaru also played a key role in popularizing AWD in more affordable vehicles.
AWD is now standard equipment on a wide range of passenger cars. Technological advances have refined AWD systems with electronic controls and sensors that optimize power distribution between the wheels for maximum efficiency, traction, and stability. Today, AWD is not just a niche feature, but an expected standard contributing to safer and more efficient driving in various conditions.