Also see

The Four Wheel Drive Auto Co., FWD, was formed by Zachow and Besserdich, initially under the name of Badger, and selling its first 4×4 car in 1911 [Bal87].

Besserdich went on to help start another famous 4×4 truck company that came to be known after the town of Oshkosh.

The first world war gave FWD's fortunes a boost with many of their 4×4 trucks being used by the US and British armies. The truck pictured (below) is an FWD model B of 1917, serial number 3002, held by the Imperial War Museum (UK). Forward control was required to give the drivers a better view of the road close to the front wheels.


Engine Wisconsin 4-cyl petrol 56bhp; chassis weight 6200lbs; loa 215", width 70.5", height 89".

note transmission

Note the solid rubber tyres! The ride must be rough beyond description; just give the drivers of past years a moment's thought when you are debating whether to fit Super Swampers or Desert Duellers to your own truck.

The transfer case with propeller shafts to the front and rear live axles can be clearly seen on the left hand side of the truck. The transfer case provided part-time four wheel drive and high and low ratios.

1929 FWD (UK) started building trucks in England in cooperation with AEC.

1931+/- The model CU6 or CU6-A debuted in about 1931 and was rated for 3-1/2 to 4 ton capacity. It used an FWD model 6-SRS, 6-cylinder engine with 91hp@2300rpm, 260lb-ft of torque and displaced 411cid with a 4-1/8"x5-1/8" bore and stroke.

It used a 5-speed manual trans, full-time 4WD system with a manually locked center diff'. Gear ratios ranged from the standard 7.35-1, through 8.9-1, 5.65-1, 10,15-1 and 12.05-1. Top speed was 58mph with the taller gear option and 19mph with the lowest.

As far as I can tell, this model was built almost unchanged until 1937. I don't think it ever saw military service in any numbers (if at all).

It was a second generation upgrade of the firm's first truck, the familiar model B of WW1 fame. The B evolved into the BF, the main differences being had a conventional type cab. The BF mechanicals were nearly identical to the B. The CU6 looked very similar but had the upgraded engine, an FWD 6 instead of the Wisconsin 4cyl. -- Jim Allen.

1932 FWD sponsored the FWD Special four wheel drive racing car by Harry Miller which raced at Indianapolis.

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