4WD Internet Magazine
The world's premier 4WD magazine since 1995
Click here to return to the 4WD homepageIndex of 4WD vehicles and manufacturersThe Four Wheen Drive Picture Gallery4WDOnline.com ClassifiedsThe 4WD Online Clubs Database is a user-driven collection of clubs around the world4WD Online Links DatabaseHave your say on the Auto ForumsChat with others who have an interest in 4WDEnquiries and Contributions for 4WDonline.com

main Four Wheel Drive page


The Four Wheel Drive Auto Co., FWD, was formed by Zachow and Besserdich, initially under the name of Badger, and selling its first 4X4 car in 1911 [Bal87].

1917 FWD 4X4 truck

Besserdich went on to help start another famous 4X4 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 4X4 trucks being used by the US and British armies. The truck pictured (right) 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.

rear view of 4WD

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

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.
- L_A11ison

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

FWD truck pictures jpegs

This FWD truck (right) was spotted in Jerome Arizona USA by Don Incoll.

Jim Allen writes:- The FWD truck [right] is a model CU6 or CU6-A. This truck 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.

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


1957 four wheel drive FWD fire engine (right). Kari Laurikainen would like to find more information on this model of truck and is also looking for parts for it.

Mark Hayward has a 1968 6x6 FWD lime spreader, a 1969 8x8 dump truck, and various other FWD trucks, some for spare parts. He would be interested in hearing from others with historical information on FWD trucks and/or spares parts etc.

Any more information on FWD Trucks - please email:4WD@sofcom.com.au

Go to 1947 ex-USAF, #2255 blower, 1954 snow blower, 1957 fire tender, 4x4 History and AEC pages

4WD Magazine
4WD Vehicles A-Z
4WD Gallery
4WD Conversions
Mechanical Info
Military Vehicles
Travelling Tales
4WD Toys & Models
History of 4WDs
Contact 4WDOnline

4WD Databases
Book Database
Gallery Database
Purchasing Database
Personal Homepage Database
Add | Modify

Automotive Sites
Hot Rods & Muscle Cars

Top border of the 4wdonline.com site