Front wheel drive car production had stopped
by 1941 when the last Adler Trumpf-Juniors was produced. It took time after
peace came to restart production in the factories that were in a condition
to do so, but Citroen had the Traction Avant back in production in 1945.
BSA Group in Britain and Hotchkiss in France had decided not to restore
production of their front wheel drive models and Adler in Germany chose
not to make any cars at all. Auto Union, the group that had made Audi and
DKW cars had lost their factories with the division of Germany and were
unable to produce anything for the time being.
Panhard were the first offer a new front wheel drive model after the war, in 1946. In the new DDR (East Germany) a new company I.F.A. was set up to produce cars in the factory in Zwickau that had produced DKW cars before the war and restarted production by 1948. The next year saw the first SAAB the 92 and the first Citroen 2CV on the road.
The Auto Union management had re-established itself in Dusseldorf in the West German republic and DKW cars were in production by 1950. Also in that year Hotchkiss produced another front wheel drive Gregiore design. The only new front wheel drive cars in Britain were 11CV Citroens assembled at Slough.
The "Dyna" was the Panhard version of the Gregiore designed "Aluminium Francais-Gregiore" mentioned previously. J.A. Gregiore sold drawings of the A.F.G. to Henry J. Kaiser in the United States, and to Hartnett in Australia, but neither took it any further and submitted prototypes to Simca and Panhard in France. The Dyna Panhard, was based on the A.F.C, but Panhard made many changes to the design while retaining the principle features of the Gregiore design. First produced in 1946, with a 610cc engine that produced 25bhp, weighed 1052lb and could reach 60mph.
In 1950 the engine size was increased to 750cc producing 33bhp and a top speed has risen to 71mph despite a weight increase of 220lb. By 1954 an 850cc engine was standardised on all models.
Also that year the original Gregiore devised chassis that had been made for Panhard by Facel Mettalon. It was replaced in a new model, the Dyna 54, but it was still constructed of aluminium, as was the body. The Dyna 54 was a six-seat car and could reach 80 mph, on 42bhp. In 1957 the aluminium construction was replaced by steel with an increase in weight of 440lb.The Dyna 54 was replaced by the PL17 in 1959, the most prolific model, with one hundred and thirty thousand examples produced by 1964.
The last of the breed the 24CT, which was the last Panhard car produced was a 2+2 coupe made from 1963 until 1967. Citroen had taken over the company in 1957 and from 1967 Panhard only produced armoured cars. Despite it's advanced layout the Dyna had not been properly developed and was expensive to produce never reaching mass popularity.
Panhard Dyna 54.
Citroen had started work on the 2CV in 1938
and had 300 prototypes running in France before the country was occupied
by the Germans during the Second World War. It took until 1948 before the
car was first shown to the public at the Paris Show. Citroens aim was to
provide rural France with a car that would replace the horse and trap,
as Henry Ford had done for America with his model T thirty years before.
To carry up to four people at speeds up to 40MPH along French country roads
in a car that needed a minimum of maintenance at minimum cost, required
an exceptional design and the 2CV was that. Every part of it was new from
the power train to the basic almost crude body. Initially the air-cooled
flat twin engine was of only 375cc producing 9bhp. As the drawings on this
page and the next show,
2cv Chassis 1954.
It was at the front of a platform chassis,
with the drive going to the front wheels with at first, simple universal
joints at both ends of the drive shafts. This didn't matter at first due
to the low performance and the need to keep the cost down. The drawings
also show the unique suspension devised to deal with those country roads.
Long travel leading arms at the front, were linked to long travel trailing
arm at the rear by rods that operated on coil springs located at the side
of the chassis. Suspension movement at the front was transmitted to the
spring and then to the rear by the linkage, leading to a smother ride.
To make the car as usable for it's designed purpose, the body was very
simple with most components removable to provide access and space as required.
The 2CV at first glance could be taken for a crude car but looks aredeceiving
and where it mattered everything was produced to a high standard, with
hydraulic brakes, inboard at the front and rack and pinion steering. The
engine was increased to 424cc in 1954 and later 602cc, but performance
wasn't what the 2CV had been designed for, it was as a work horse. Total
production was 3,872,583 of 2CV's alone by 1990, not counting the models
derived from it.
After the war, two versions of the DKW, F series were produced. The factory at Zwickau where the DKW were produced before the war was then in the DDR, the eastern communist part of Germany and a car named the IFA F-8 was produced there from 1948 until 1955. The new model that DKW had ready for production in 1939, the F9 was shown at the Leipzig Show in 1948, as the IFA, F9. Produced from 1950 until 1956, almost forty one thousand were produced, after 1953 in the former BMW factory at Eisenach. After 1956 and new body, the F9 reappeared as the Wartburg 311. With various body changes but the same mechanical layout and two-stroke engine, The Wartburg was manufactured until 1988.
SAAB was and is a Swedish aircraft manufacturer. In the early nineteen forties they felt that with only one customer, the Swedish government they were very vulnerable. Their solution was to diversify, to manufacture cars. Before the Second World War Sweden only had one motor manufacturer Volvo and most cars were imported. Until the flow of imports stopped due to the war, DKW cars were becoming increasingly popular in Sweden, so SAAB decided to design and produce a car similar in principle to the DKW but incorporating the latest design thinking. The first car the "92", designed by two Swedish engineers Gunnar Ljungstrom designed the car while Sixten Sason designed the body. Having limited manufacturing capabilities Ljungstrom opted for a twin-cylinder two-stroke engine, located in front of the front wheels, transversely with the gearbox in line and the final drive behind, using the minimum space inside the wheelbase, which could then be utilised for passenger space. (This was the layout used in the Trabant, produced by IFA in the DDR for thirty plus years). The car had a low drag unitary chassis/body, rack and pinion steering and all independent suspension with torsion bar springs. Just over twenty thousand SAAB 92’s were produced in six years when discontinued in 1956 after the introduction of the SAAB 93 in 1955. This had a similar layout to the DKW F9, also with a three cylinder two-stroke engine.
The pre-war management of Auto Union set
up in business in Ingolstadt, West Germany after the war, at first making
spare parts for the remaining DKW cars produced before the war. But by
1950, began producing new a DKW car in the form of the F-89 New Meisterklasse.
It was made in Dusseldorf also in West German. Based on the pre-war F-8
but with the 684cc engine moved ahead of the front wheels in a new chassis
and clothed by the body designed for the F9. This was in production from
1950 until 1954. Between 1931 and 1955 around 300,000 transverse engined
DKW or IFA car from the FA to the F-89 had been made, and many others made
under license. It took another three years before they could get their
version of the F9 in to production as the F-91 Sonderklasse. The F-91 evolved
into the F-93 then the Auto Union 1000, with a larger engine. Four hundred
thousand examples of this design were produced from 1953 to 1963. By then
the F-9 layout was established as the standard at AUTO UNION and later,
when owned by Volkswagen the name was changed to AUDI.
1955 DKW F-91.
In 1950 another Hotchkiss car the "Hotchkiss-Gregiore",
was produced. Again with an alloy chassis and body. With independent suspension
on all four wheels and fitted with a water cooled flat four engine of 2
litres, ahead of the front axle, it was fast, with a top speed of 94mph,
but the car was expensive and only 250 examples were made by 1954. In
1956 Gregiore produced a two seat convertible with a 2.2 litre supercharged
flat four engine producing 130bhp, and as in the case of the cars mentioned
previously front wheel drive. All of ten cars made were fitted with
bodies designed and built by Henri Chapron.
The Citroen Traction Avant remained in production until 1957. It was replaced by an equally revolutionary design the DS19 first produced in 1955. The front wheel drive assembly had no revolutionary features, as it was similar to Traction Avant in principle with the engine inline behind the front wheels but with the double hook joints accommodated in the massive front hubs. It was the hydraulic systems fitted to the car, power steering, load-levelling suspension and gear change that was new. The DS19 and DS21, DS23 and simpler ID19 were large cars. Almost one and a half million examples were made in twenty years of production.
Front Wheel Drive Links