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Ford’s Cruise-O-Matic and the C Family of Automatic Transmissions (Part III)

Ford’s Cruise-O-Matic and the C Family of Automatic Transmissions (Part III)

Ford’s Cruise-O-Matic and the C Family of Automatic Transmissions (Part III)We select up our Cruise-O-Matic automatic transmission coverage again these days, as Ford’s initially mass-developed gearbox identified its stride in the Fifties. As buyers turned towards automated transmissions in their two- and four-door domestic iron, they also turned towards additional strong V8 engines and massive chrome bumpers and tail fins. Detroit’s companies experienced to respond, and Ford’s respond to was a second-generation Ford-O-Matic, the Fx and MX. Each transmissions had been marketed under the new Cruise-O-Matic moniker, when a new era two-pace automobile turned the deal basement Ford-O-Matic.

As we reviewed in our last entry, in 1957 and 1958 Ford supplied fiddly Keyboard Manage. The whiz-bang new characteristic meant the Cruise-O-Matic was operated by confusingly marked dash-mounted buttons on pick Mercury cars. And though Keyboard Handle was minimal to Mercury, an even even worse variation of the exact thought was reserved for Edsel.

Ford was determined from the early portion of the Fifties that it could a person-up General Motors with a new brand of car. The new model would search various, have different attributes, and a one of a kind product vary all its individual that was “independent” of Ford-Lincoln-Mercury. The conclude outcome of those suggestions was Edsel, which we’ll deal with individually in Abandoned Heritage.

The new and nuts-hunting Edsel cars and trucks debuted for the 1958 design year and presented a variation on the Keyboard Handle strategy on give at Mercury. It was the wave of the long term, and it was called Teletouch! While you may be expecting Ford basically ported the Keyboard Command on to Edsels, not so.

Keyboard Manage applied easy mechanical activation and was carried out in the dashboard of Mercury’s autos. Teletouch was a powered electro-mechanical program and was additional to the centre of Edsel’s steering wheels. So though the two techniques requested the same actions of the Cruise-O-Matic transmission, they labored quite in a different way.

Teletouch was component of Edsel’s endeavor to marketplace its way into relevance. The new button procedure was promoted as the potential of the particular car, where the steering wheel turned the central concentrate not only of driver awareness but of the vehicle’s controls. Teletouch buttons have been placed in the center of the steering wheel in idea, useful since they ended up in basic sight of the driver. Moreover, much less of the dashboard was obscured when ye olde cumbersome gearshift selector was taken out.

Opposite to the confusing labels of Keyboard Command, the Edsel Teletouch was uncomplicated: P, R, N, D, L, in that order. Drive was further more stated as “Dr,” and Lower was “Lo.” The button arrangement was quickly turned into a festive and creepy experience mask for dealers to (presumably) put on and give to intrigued consumers.

Edsel hyped Teletouch in its advertising and made it normal on the upmarket Corsair and Quotation. The unsafe and historic typical equipment degree remained an option for Edsel’s wagons, as perfectly as the Pacer and Ranger.

Virtually quickly, Teletouch ran into issues. Homeowners and the media assumed it was distracting, and contrary to the pure movement they were being utilized to with a column-mounted gear lever. Motorists ended up also applied to horn functionality of the center of the steering wheel, and in crisis circumstances sometimes slammed the Teletouch with a hand or fist. Those activities rarely led to the variety of a different gear but did sometimes harm the Teletouch button panel. In a get for the driver, the Teletouch pod was stationary and did not transform with the wheel.

Aside from the locale and usage difficulties, the mechanical execution of Teletouch was also unsuccessful. The program essential a servo motor to translate a driver’s recommendations to the transmission. The motor was located concerning the Cruise-O-Matic’s bell housing and the exhaust and hung earlier mentioned the road. The motor was accompanied in that incredibly hot, dirty, and exposed spot by wires and relays.

Unsurprisingly, the area of the Teletouch electronics intended transmission operation proved unreliable. All fault lay with the servo and its linked elements, as the stationary steering wheel buttons by themselves had been trustworthy. The buttons incorporated an inhibitor swap for their activation that worked with fluid force, so a diverse gear could not be picked accidentally at speed. But it was not fool-evidence: If Neutral was pressed first the hydraulic stress was taken out from the inhibitor swap, and Reverse or Park could then be selected. Such motion potential customers to a broken parking pawl, a massive crash, or both equally.

Like Edsel alone, Teletouch was not long for the earth. It was employed only in 1958, and in 1959 the feature was slash together with part of the Edsel lineup.  And about the time Teletouch was about to come to be the scourge of Edsel, Russian automaker GAZ was in improvement of an automated transmission for its new automobiles.

As we acquired previous time, Ford and GAZ experienced a formal relationship in the Twenties and Thirties. The first autos GAZ developed had been accredited Fords. Immediately after that, the business took Ford’s Model A in a truck course and then branched out into a lineup of its have cars. By the Fifties, the enterprise was Russia’s leading automaker, with a lineup of off-highway passenger vehicles, utilitarian trucks, and govt luxury cars for the communists who did not believe that in becoming government or deluxe – until eventually they did.

In the Fifties, component of Russian luxury intended an automated transmission. GAZ sought to insert an automatic to the new GAZ-21 Volga midsize executive sedan (1956-1970) and to the GAZ-13 Chaika (1959-1981), the most lavish motor vehicle the corporation experienced at any time developed. The Chaika (“seagull” in Russian) was a substitute for the 1st luxury car GAZ at any time produced, the American-wanting GAZ-12 ZIM.

GAZ did a minimal investigation into automatic transmissions on offer at western automakers and decided the two-pace Ford-O-Matic and 3-pace Cruise-O-Matic were being the most effective. Then GAZ set about engineering their very own copy and adding Russian spice to the current Detroit flavor.

GAZ switched the Ford transmissions above to metric factors so they’d be simpler to handle. And the two variations of the automated obtained a new parking brake style and design that labored with a centrally-located drum involving the bell housing and driveshaft. Ford’s parking brake grabbed the rear wheels. The GAZ set up meant a parking pawl was needless and saved income.

For the lesser Volga, GAZ swapped the torque converter for an air-cooled edition and then paired it to a 2.5-liter inline-four that was fantastic for 65 horsepower. The Volga made use of a column shift, and drivers place it in H. Volga named its Ford-O-Matic consider a three-velocity, even nevertheless it operated in only two gears in Drive, like the true Ford-O-Matic. The transmission was re-geared for Volga use.

The Volga computerized was not a hot seller and was discontinued in just two yrs. The transmission was considered much too complicated to preserve for the average driver, as couple support stations could operate on automatics and there was a normal scarcity of transmission oil. Considerably less than 800 had been made, and a conversion to guide transmission enthusiasm was a common prevalence.

Cruise-O-Matic was the beginning place for the lavish Chaika limousine, and supplied the car or truck utilised a 195-horse 5.5-liter V8 (of GAZ structure) it needed a bit much less adaptation perform than on the Volga. GAZ implemented a dashboard push-button shift like the Americans used at the time, and the Chaika even wore American styling. The transmission operated like a frequent Cruise-O-Matic but was yet again geared to match the Chaika’s smooth sailing specifications. GAZ left in a liquid cooling method for the transmission specified all the electric power and torque.

The Chaika was accessible only with the GAZ-Cruise-O-Matic, and under no circumstances created with a manual. There have been not any proletariat upkeep issues, as the Chaika was delivered only to state officers and by no means marketed privately. With limited variations, the Chaika existed in its Fifties guise as a result of 1981.

In the early Sixties, GAZ took the 5.5-liter and the a few-velocity Ford duplicate and set both of those into a midsize Volga. The development was recognised as the GAZ-23, and the unassuming sleeper sedan was delivered in constrained quantities to the KGB’s ninth directive. The 23 was mainly applied as a fast escort motor vehicle in own protection operations.

It is a little bit unclear just how long GAZ autos relied on the Cruise-O-Matic copy for their motivation, but it’s harmless to think it was at minimum by means of portion of the Eighties, even outside the Chaika. We’ll return to domestic affairs subsequent time, and discuss the Cruise-O-Matic’s transition into a C.

[Images: Ford, GAZ, YouTube]

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