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Hemmings Motor News Blog

Hemmings Motor News has been around since 1954. We're proud of our heritage, but we're also more than the Hemmings full of classifieds that your father subscribed to. Aside from new editorial content every month in Hemmings, we have three monthly magazines: Hemmings Muscle Machines, Hemmings Classic Car and Hemmings Sports and Exotic Car.

While our editors traverse the country to find the best content for those magazines, we find other oddities related to the old-car hobby that we really had no place for - until now. With this blog, we're giving you a behind-the-scenes look at what we see and what we do during the course of putting out some of the finest automotive magazines you'll ever read.

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Three Driveshafts or Seven?

Posted May 06, 2010 12:01 AM by dstrohl

While American innovators were experimenting with converting Ford trucks to four-wheel-drive as early as the 1910s, and largely for exploration or farming purposes, over in Europe there was a pressing need to convert to four-wheel-drive as many trucks as possible for the impending war. Enter DAF.

In the latest issue of the American Truck Historical Society's excellent publication, Wheels of Time, John Bodden wrote on DAF's late 1930s conversions of two-wheel-drive Ford and GM trucks into both four-wheel-drive and six-wheel-drive vehicles, mostly for the Dutch military, in what was possibly one of DAF's first moves away from building just the trailers that figure into the company's name and toward full vehicle production.

The four-wheel-drive conversions were aimed at retaining the Ford and GM front axles and suspensions, making the conversions less complicated and less expensive than contemporary conversions, which scrapped the axles and suspensions for entirely new setups. To do so, DAF engineers developed a transfer case, as normally used on four-wheel-drive conversions, but one with dual forward outputs – one aimed at each front wheel. Individual diagonal driveshafts then transferred power to bevel-drive gears that replaced each front hub.

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