The Evolution Of Car Suspension

Have you wondered how suspension for cars came to life? The suspension system in your cars allows you to have a comfortable drive, and if we didn’t use them, we would all be wearing crash helmets while driving. This begs the question, how did the system come into effect in the first place? If you’re interested in the history of this incredible technology, here’s the answer below!

Let’s go back to 1904 and meet a young man by the name of William Brush, who, when cruising through the countryside, decided to take a corner a bit too fast, causing the front wheel to skitter on a dirt shoulder and slam into a deep rut. This caused the wheel to shake violently, sending shock waves throughout the front of the car and resulted in William ending upside down in cow pasture.

The car belonged to his brother Alanson, who wasn’t exactly charmed to hear about what had happened to his vehicle, but the whole accident did triggered a thought with Alanson, because he was trying to design a new car at the time.

By 1906, Alanson and William unveiled the Brush Two-Seat Runabout, a car featuring two innovations that had never been seen in a car at the time – front coil springs and shock absorbers mounted on a flexible hickory axle. At the time this was seen as very unusual, as most car manufacturers were still using leaf springs, since they were cheaper and could be reshaped to support different vehicle weights.

Coil springs then went on a hiatus for 25 years before General Motors, in 1934, reintroduced the coil spring front suspension. Their unique feature was that each wheel now sprung independently from each other, which lessened the effect of spring bounce. Since then, most car manufacturers switch the type of coils – leaf vs coil – depending on the weight of the car.

The problems that arose from coiled suspension was that when made too stiff, the ride was extremely uncomfortable, since the coils respond quickly to large bumps in the road. When the coils were made more flexible, the driver and passengers experienced a constant state of motion.

No situation was ideal here, but then came along shock absorbers to save the day and the blend of spring coils with shock absorbers created the template for the modern car suspensions of today.

If you want to find out more about your car’s suspension system, contact us today!