Here we have something a little different, but all the same something important and relevant to the automotive industry as a whole – the first American front-wheel-drive production car. Talking us through the history of this shocking purple (or is it pink?) classic car is Leslie Kendall, chief historian at the Petersen Automotive Museum on their YouTube channel.
Based in Los Angeles, the museum is host to many diverse cars, all curated and displayed in an Aladdin’s cave of cars – there is even a hypercar section that features a McLaren Speedtail.
The First Front-Wheel-Drive Car In America
The subject of the video is a Ruxton – a name you might not have heard of before, displayed in gleaming chrome, wood, and a very noticeable bright pink.
It comes from an era of hope and dreams and people were willing to spend big on an expensive car and wanted others to know what they were driving.
It’s a late 20s car, 1929 to be exact, and beat others to market the first front-wheel drive car in America, with a man named Archie Andrews as the driving force behind bringing it to market.
Actually, there’s a lot more to the story of how Archie did that; Arcadia Publishing released this article on the history of Archie Andrews and Ruxton which explains the whole story. Needless to say, the car is innovative in more ways than just driving its front wheels.
The Ruxton Is A 100-Year-Old Supercar
Ruxton’s innovation stems from a few key features; firstly the car is low, much lower than contemporary cars of the time as Leslie explains.
With this lower height – which was a result of not having the driveshaft needing to go under the car to the back wheels – it also has a gearbox in front of the engine, necessitating a very long gear lever which extends right from the driver’s delicately-leather-gloved hand all the way past the engine to the gearbox up front.
The Ruxton corners very well, apparently, with power coming from a straight-8 engine, supplied by Continental.
Perhaps the most interesting part of the entire car is the rumble seat which Leslie kindly demonstrates for us: a seat which amazingly appears when the rear trunk opens, revealing a kind of luxurious perch hidden under the trunk lid, allowing a passenger to sit gracefully in the wind as they get taken to the theater.
There’s plenty of other dust-covered classics including a 1951 Dodge Wayfarer Business Coupe and Kaiser Traveler.
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