De Dion Rear Axle 2
De Dion-axle re-appears after a long break.
The task of developing the Smart was especially awkward for the designer. He was instructed to develop, inside a very narrow financial frame and a particularly small space, an independent suspension for the rear axle
with competitive handling characteristics. If the connection between both sides was not constantly stable, one could mistake the construction for a twisted beam suspension.
A simple , bent tube guides the driven rear wheels.
The axle shown in the above picture is actually only the lower part consisting of a tube shaped into a 'U'. The profile section above it is part of the frame and in addition, it carries the complete drive train. We are looking at the axle construction from the rear right hand side. The only, indeed stable connection between the two parts is found in
front in the middle, this gives the axle, through tipping, a certain amount of freedom of movement. There is no stabiliser.
Wheel-guiding tube surrounds the complete drive-train.
Furthermore, to be seen between the two parts are the coil springs and the shock absorbers. At the two ends of the 'U' shaped axle-tube, the mountings for the wheel-hubs and the brakes of the driven rear wheels are welded. The
complete inside area, up to the height of the shock absorbers, is sufficient for the entire drive including the cooling and charging. Proving once again, how space-saving and how brilliantly simple todays suspensions
are being built. 07/10