Hints and Tips - Front Wheel Drive

From: James Holland
Sent: 24 January 2003
To: British-Cars Pre-War
Subject: Front Wheel Drive

Dear Listers,

Can anyone tell me who made the world's first production front wheel drive car ? Was it Alvis,or was there something earlier?

James Holland


From: Mike Rambour
Sent: 24 January 2003
To: James Holland; British-Cars-Pre-War
Subject: Re: Front Wheel Drive

>Can anyone tell me who made the world's first production front wheel drive car
>? Was it Alvis,or was there something earlier?

Citroen with the "Traction Avant" ??? Its been around forever and I remember seeing advertising about it being a ground breaking car, not sure it was the first though and I could not confirm that with a quick surf of the net.

mike


From: Graham Orme-Bannister
Sent: 24 January 2003
To: british-cars-pre-war
Subject: FRONT WHEEL DRIVE

The earliest reference I can find to production front wheel drive is the Cord L-29 (in 1929). Several race cars had it before then, Cord actually got the technology from Miller who used it on his Indianapolis cars. The Citroen Traction Avant did not go into production until 1934.

Graham Orme-Bannister


From: Brian Kelly
Sent: 24 January 2003
To: british-cars-pre-war
Subject: Re: FRONT WHEEL DRIVE

G.N.Georgano states;

"The first F.W.D. Alvises had been racing cars, made since 1925, and a production sports car had been put on the market in February 1928."

They raced F.W.D. as early as 1925. They took second place on the first Ards T.T.1928. Driven by Leon Cushman.

There is also a photo of a "1928 Alvis FA 1-1/2 litre FWD ' Le Mans' two seater." Presumably, this is the one referred to in the text. It shows it having no less than eight 1/4 elliptic springs on the front.

Brian Kelly.


From: Ray
Sent: 24 January 2003
To: Graham Orme-Bannister; british-cars-pre-war
Subject: Re: FRONT WHEEL DRIVE

The first FWD car was built over the years 1895-97 by the three Graf brothers in Austria. It had a single cylinder De Dion gasoline engine in the front. Later, in 1902, they joined with Willy Stift to found the Graf & Stift company; they became the Rolls-Royce of Austria, with the monarchy using the cars. Archduke Ferdinand and his wife were assassinated in one of the cars. And that is the rest of the story!

Source: The Complete Encyclopedia of Motorcars- GN Georgano

Best,
Ray
"Protecting man from folly only assures a world full of fools."


From: Ray
Sent: 24 January 2003
To: british-cars-pre-war
Subject: Re: FRONT WHEEL DRIVE

I neglected to add that the cars went into PRODUCTION in 1897. After 1902, they shifted in interest from light cars to heavy cars. REALLY big cars!

Wonder where you get parts now?? "Hi, you got a CV joint for a '97 GrafStift?"
"Who makes that? GM?"

Best,
Ray
"Protecting man from folly only assures a world full of fools."


From: Richard Feibusch
Sent: 24 January 2003
To: Mike Rambour
CC: british-cars-pre-war
Subject: Re: Front Wheel Drive

Listers,

I know that Cord L29 had FWD in 1929 and Miller racing cars had it earlier but I'm not sure if one would consider a Cord a "production car." I mean, they really wanted to be . . . . . The Traction was introduced in 1934 and was built until 1954/5. They were built in the UK with RHD as well.

Cheers,

Rick Feibusch
Venice Beach, CA


From: mike tebbett
Sent: 24 January 2003
To: British-Cars-Pre-War
Subject: Re: FRONT WHEEL DRIVE

Also BSA - mid-1929 I think, and the fwd Alvis was available from 1928 I think. There is of course some argument as to what is meant by "production", but surely The first FWD would be the American Christie of 1904, which by 1907 was a V4 of nearly 20 litres(!) these were racing cars, but they also had production versions, and even a taxicab I believe. They also all had transverse engines!

Mike Tebbett


From: Andrew Mace
Sent: 24 January 2003
To: british-cars-pre-war
Subject: Re: Front Wheel Drive

Of course, ignoring the "production" aspect, one could go all the way back to

Nicholas Cugnot's cannon-hauling steam tractor of 1769, which was essentially front-wheel drive. :-)

--Andy

Andrew Mace, Vice President and 10/Herald/Vitesse Vehicle Consultant
The Vintage Triumph Register www.vtr.org
North American Herald/Vitesse Database: http://members.aol.com/herald1200/database/


From: Ray
Sent: 24 January 2003
To: british-cars-pre-war
Subject: Re: Front Wheel Drive

Or, even the 3200 B.C. oxen-powered pottery haulers .......

Best,
Ray
"Protecting man from folly only assures a world full of fools."


From: Graham Orme-Bannister
Sent: 25 January 2003
To: british-cars-pre-war
Subject: Re: FIRST FRONT WHEEL DRIVE

It all hinges on the word "production". The car built by the Graf brothers in the years 1895-7 seems to be the first, but it sounds as if only one was made. The Victoria Combination built by Parisienne was apparently in production in 1899. The De Dion engine was between, and drove, the front wheels and the whole assembly turned by tiller to steer ther car. Ain't Georgano wonderful (page 1194).

Graham Orme-Bannister


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