Four Wheel Drive is older than we think Innovation automotive technology was not only found on the continent and in the USA, as was shown by a small Australian company, Caldwell Vale Motor & Tractor Construction Co of NSW. > 4WD History Part 3 1910 Australian built Caldwell Vale truck loaded with hay. It had a top speed of 6 miles per hour! Founded by Felix Caldwell and Norman Caldwell of South Australia the company developed its own 4WD system in 1907. They applied for a patent to cover ‘Improvements in and connected with driving and steering a motor propelled vehicle’. The patent described four wheel drive with four wheel steering. Drive to front and rear axles was by propeller shafts and bevel gears, with half shafts carrying the drive along live axles to open style steering knuckles. Steering was via universal joints, and drive through hollow stub axles to drive fully floating hubs and the wheels. The Caldwells combined with Henry Vale of NSW to form the Caldwell Vale Motor and Tractor Construction Company in 1909. Caldwell demonstrated his patent on a 30hp 4WD touring car with 4WD steer- ing. The unique vehicle was demonstrated on Sydney’s soft sand dunes near Botany Bay in 1913, with his company establishing at nearby Auburn. A few 4WD trucks were ordered by the NSW government and a road test of the Caldwell system is published in the Shire and Municipal Record of August 1911 saying. “It is claimed that the patented four-wheel-drive system gives enormous pulling power and will revolu- tionise all kinds of haulage work from the lightest car to the most powerful tractors...the problems of four wheel drive remained unsolved until two young Australians, F and N.L. Caldwell, after extensive experiments, devised the combined driving and steering axle used in this vehicle. These tractors have a 6.5 inch stroke and 6.5 inch bore which gives 70hp at 1800 rpm. Only a short while ago one of these vehicles hauled 24 tons of bricks from the Auburn Brick Works to the wharf at Duck River. These vehicles are being ordered by the State Government of NSW.” The company produced 40 massive 4WD tractors with wheels of five foot diameter, three speed gearboxes and power steering worked by chains and cone clutches. Some were used as early road trains, with one on display at the National Road Transport Hall of Fame in Alice Springs. The company was to unfortunately fail after a lengthy lawsuit with an unhappy client! The company was taken over by Purcell Engineering in 1916. Brian Tanner 1914 Caldwell Vale tipper 1910 80hp Caldwell Vale tractor featuring four wheel steering and an additional cooling tank on the rear to supplement the front radiator TRACKWATCH JUNE 201 27