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10 Four Wheel Driving (4WD) Facts You Didn’t Know
In recent years, 4×4 has evolved from a hobby into a quintessential automotive lifestyle for large families, industries and businesses. 4WD vehicles provide that much-needed support to families who are often on the move, industries that need access to places that common vehicles cannot, and a person’s need to have something larger and more powerful for those “just in case I need them” instances.
After years of improvisation and evolution, 4WD has its share of facts and anecdotes that are both fun and useful. Here are a few that are sure to increase your interest in 4x4s.
- 1898, Latil (French) Built a 4×4 gun tractor during World War II. This concept originated from his making power packs as replacements for front axle shafts and cart horses.
- The first 4×4 vehicle was designed by Ferdinand Porsche (founder of Porsche cars). He designed the vehicle when he was 25 years old.
- The first mechanical 4×4 was built by the Dutch company Jacobus Spyker in 1902.
- The four-wheel-drive (FWD) automobile company built the first American vehicle in 1911. FWD supplied 4-wheel-drive trucks to the British and United States Marines during World War I.
- Mercedes and BMW followed in 1926 with their range of 4×4 vehicles for commercial use.
- “Wankertank” or “Toorak Tractor”: colloquial names for 4WD commonly heard in and around the Melbourne area. Wankertank are 4x4s that are only driven in town, while Toorak Tractor is a name belonging to the exclusive eastern suburbs of Toorak where these vehicles are mostly seen.
- The first 4WD Formula 1 racing car was the Ferguson P99 Climax. He remains the most famous specimen to have won two titles of glory. The first 4WD car and the last front engine car to win a place in an F1 event.
- The most radical 4WD vehicle is one made by a Russian armored vehicle manufacturer Russo Baltic, which among all the other details of the vehicle used whale penis leather as the seat cover. The Russian automaker manufactures security vehicles for Russian czars and high officials. The vehicle is called the Dartz Prombron Monacco Red Diamond Edition which is considered the most expensive vehicle in the world at the time. It’s expensive, with gold-plated bulletproof windows, a tungsten escapement, diamond and ruby-encrusted gauges, and Kevlar coating for the exterior. A shortage of whale penis leather was a concern until facts came to light that a Blue Whale penis can reach 2.4 meters. The manufacturer has not mentioned so far what type of whalebone he gets the penis leather from.
- The world’s first 4×4 pedal vehicle was created by a German, Frank Fraune, and called it the Trailcart. The Trailcart is a metamorphosis of an ATV and a 4×4 with 290Nn of torque. 400mm of axle travel helps it master rough terrain. This invention is the subject of serious criticism from investors, including Land Rover, which tested the vehicle at its obstacle park in Wulfrath, Germany.
- Australians are the biggest buyers of 4×4 vehicles in the world.
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