Four Wheel Drive Auto Company, Model B

The Model B

In 1908, Otto Zachow, A blacksmith and car dealer in Clintonville, Wisconsin built a passenger car which drove through both front and rear wheels. He found that this gave much better traction on steep and muddy country roads, and after making a few passenger cars he and his brother-in-law William Bessersdich began to build trucks using the same principle. The most famous of these, the Model B, was forward control 3-tonner powered by a 4-cylinder Wisconsin engine developing 56 hp. Drive was via a Hele Shaw multi-disc clutch, 3-speed Cotta gearbox and transfer case built in with the gearbox. This incorporated a central differential from which drive was taken by shaft to the axles, on each of which was an ordinary differential. To prevent all the power going to one axle, on soft or snowy ground, the central differential could be locked to provide equal power to each wheel.

The Four Wheel Drive Auto Company was formed in 1912, and production of the Model B began …

Excerpt c/o Zoe James Memorial Library Archive


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