All-wheel drive hybrid system in a car from 1917? That's brilliant!

How do you celebrate a birthday? Call your friends, plan a party, and have fun, right? Yes, it’s that simple. But Mitsubishi takes celebrations for its 100th birthday to a whole new level – the brand will rebuild its first-ever passenger vehicle with modern hybrid technology.

The vehicle in question is the Model A, which debuted in 1917 and will be recreated by West Coast Customs. Interestingly, the modern reincarnation of the car will be based on the platform of the Outlander Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV).

Basically, this means this lovely classic Model A you see on the picture above will be powered by a 2.0-litre gasoline engine, supported by two electric motors and a 12-kilowatt hour lithium-ion battery pack. There’s one electric motor for each axle, giving the machine four-wheel drive through the company’s Super All-Wheel Control (S-AWC) system.

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It would be very interesting to see how all the electronics of this complicated hybrid system will be integrated into the body of the Model A. Will it get modern safety features like a blind spot monitoring system with rear cross traffic alert, and a forward collision mitigation system with pedestrian detection technology?

As for the original Model A, it was actually launched by the Mitsubishi Shipbuilding Company, a member of the Mitsubishi conglomerate which would eventually evolve into Mitsubishi Motors. The vehicle used the architecture of the Fiat Tipo 3 and featured a seven-seat layout. Power was provided by a 2.8-litre straight-four engine with 35 horsepower, channeled to the rear wheels and giving the car a maximum speed of 60 miles per hour (96 kilometres per hour).

Only 22 examples were manufactured, including prototypes, between 1917 and 1921 – all of them made by hand. It was an expensive vehicle and couldn’t compete against the cheaper American and European models of that era. The Model A wasn’t a great success for the company, which instead of passenger cars focused on its successful Fuso commercial vehicles.

Note: 2017 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV pictured in the gallery.

Source: Mitsubishi

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