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The Badger Automobile & The Badger Four Wheel Drive Auto Co.

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The Badger Four Wheel Drive Auto Co.
Clintonville, Wisconsin

The Badger Four Wheel Drive Auto Co. was founded in Clintonville, Wisconsin in 1908. They made the first American Automobile with four wheel drive. Otto Zachow and William Besserdich were co-owners of a machine shop in Clintonville when Otto Zachow developed the first simple and effective design for transferring power to all four wheels of an automobile.

1908 Badger Touring Car
1908 Badger Touring Car

The Badger was equipped with a water cooled four cylinder engine that developed 60 horsepower. Only a large Touring Car that cost $4,500.00 was produced by The Badger Four Wheel Drive Auto Co. Very few cars were made.

1912 Badger Four Wheel Drive - U. S. Army
1912 Badger Four Wheel Drive - U. S. Army

The success of the Badger four-wheel drive trucks in early military tests prompted the company to switch from cars to trucks in 1910. The company name was then changed from The Badger Four Wheel Drive Auto Co. to the Four-Wheel Drive Auto Company. A 1912 U.S. Army test of four wheel drive trucks as replacements for mules and wagons gave the company its first major publicity, and the outbreak of World War I opened new markets in Europe and the United States.

Early 1900s Badger Four Wheel Drive Trucks
Early 1900s Badger Four Wheel Drive Trucks

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