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Rear Drive (rear engine)


Due to the increasing prosperity among the people after the Second World War, in the middle of the last century, their requirements slowly changed from the two-wheeled vehicle to the motor-car, the compact, rear engine with rear-wheel drive was in demand. At that time a reliable universal-joint, with a permanent grease-filling was not yet available. Due to the low diffraction angle of the final drive at the rear, the first modest dreams of an independent suspension were realised. The two joints of a double-jointed pendulum axle could be lubricated by the gear-box oil and be protected by fairly long-lasting rubber casings. Unfortunately, still no joints to the wheels were possible, which is why the wheels went into a positive camber when the springs rebounded...

How it works

The above figure shows the combination with a four cylinder boxer engine. Its short construction method, low centre of gravity and low construction height harmonise ideally with the above shown rear-wheel drive. Nonetheless, in most cases the drive was produced by (more economical in the production) in-line engines. The drive was transferred by the final drive forwards to the also straight- mounted, non-coaxial gearbox. From there it then went back to the horizontal final drive between gearbox nd engine from where it was redirected by 90 ° to drive the rear wheels through the two half-shafts.


This drive configuration makes the vehicle very tail-heavy. It is difficult, with this axle load distribution, to achieve a well-balanced chassis. Only when braking and on slippery surfaces, does it have the ideal weight distribution. Due to the centre of gravity lying further to the rear, the crosswind sensitivity is enhanced. Only by taking drastic measures could the oversteer in curves be reduced. Together with the possible positive camber of the rear axle, these vehicles tended to spin out or overturn before they could be checked by determined countersteering. In the rear engine car, larger, more variable, and more easily accessible boots, cannot be found.

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