The First Front-Wheel Drive Four-Cylinder Debuted in 1905

What's that saying about fundamental truths? "First, people deny it. Second, they say it conflicts with the Bible. Third, they say they've known it all along."

That's how the evolution of the fundamental truth of the practicality of front-wheel drive went, anyway. Except for maybe the Bible part; there may be a passage in Deuteronomy about not putting horses before carts, but I'll have to get back to you on that.

But the "people denying it" and "people saying they've known it all along" bits work for sure.

When Walter Christie (no relation to this guy, as far as we know) came up with one of the first modern front-wheel drive cars in 1905, promising similar vehicles'd be the wave of the future, he was essentially laughed at and kicked in the pants.

His four-cylinder prototype FWD taxis and tanks got just as much derision, and the guy was flat broke when he died forty years later.

The First Front-Wheel Drive Four-Cylinder Debuted in 1905

Sort of sad he never got to see what Sir Alec Issigonis did with the same basic layout in the late 1950s—design the iconic Mini Mk. I, I mean. That car was, unlike Christie's, hugely popular, and earned Issigonis exactly zero kicks to the pants, according to our research.

We've got some more details on the history of front-wheel drive – starting with Cugnot's Fardier; those crazy French – over on your friendly neighbourhood Autofocus.ca.