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105 years of four wheel drive

By FaezClutchless on 24 Aug 2012

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If you are familiar with Mercedes-Benz vehicles, then you would be familiar with the term 4Matic. 4Matic is the name given to Mercedes-Benz’s four wheel drive system and the 4Matic system was first introduced in the 1986 on a W124 E-Class. But did you know that Mercedes-Benz released the world’s first commercial vehicle that was equipped with four wheel drive?

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In 1907, Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft (which later became Mercedes-Benz after a merger with Benz and Cie) released a vehicle known as the Daimler Dernburg Wagen (top picture). The Dernburg Wagen was the first commercial vehicle that has four wheel drive and was also fitted with four-wheel steering in order for it to move around easily in tight corners.

The Dernburg Wagen had a ground clearance of 12.6 inches (32cm) and was fitted with a 6.8-litre four cylinder engine which generates around 35bhp. It sits five people and the Dernburg Wagen was considered the Unimog of its time. Right now, you might be wondering what a Unimog is.

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1948 Unimog

Unimogs were first developed as agriculture equipment in Germany, just after the second world war. When Daimler-Benz took over the manufacturing of Unimogs in the early 1950s, the Unimog ox horn logo was replaced with the Mercedes three-pointed star. From that time till today, Unimogs have been used in all sorts of applications; from military trucks to ambulances and even snow ploughs.

In the early 1970s, Mercedes-Benz began developing a vehicle which was a bit more practical than the Unimog and that vehicle would later be the Gelandewagen (off-road vehicle) or more commonly known later as the G-Class. The Gelandewagen was first developed as a military-purpose vehicle and was later offered as a civilian vehicle during the late 1970s.

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The G-Class of today is equipped with features such as permanent four wheel drive, four-wheel electronic traction control, anti-locking brakes, electronic locking differentials and etc. The G-Class delivers comfort for its users, no matter what the road condition is like.

It has been 105 years since the company released the world’s first four wheel drive commercial vehicle and over the years, we have seen the drastic change in four wheel drive technology within the company. And without them, we might not get to feel the fine handling of the cars that Mercedes-Benz produces today.

Photo credit: emercedesbenz.com, Wikipedia and Net Car Show

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Written by FaezClutchless
Some say that his blood is actually RON98 petrol and some say that his right foot weighs over 20kg. But all that we know about Faez is that he loves to drive and is a JDM enthusiast.

  • 1
Lammy84 Aug 25 2012 12:08 AM
" And without them, we might not get to feel the fine handling of the cars that Mercedes-Benz produces today."

Are mercs even reowned for their handling?

Do at least get your grammar checked before you publish.
Racing Aug 25 2012 09:17 AM
Noob a$$. Merc handling sux.
  • 1
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