Automobile

The History of AWD Vs. 4WD – MotorBiscuit

The history of 4WD Vs AWD is intertwined with the history of American engineering–and America itself. American auto manufacturers pioneered mass-produced four wheel drive (4WD) vehicles during WW2. After the war, the Willys Jeep and Dodge Power Wagon were the first factory 4WDs available to civilians. But 4WD drivetrains in historic cars suffered from two technological shortcomings. Until engineers finally solved these problems, full-time all wheel drive (AWD) chassis were not feasible.

4WD vehicles were first mass-produced during WW2

American auto manufacturers pioneered mass-produced four wheel drive (4WD) vehicles during WW2 | Jim Heimann Collection/Getty Images

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