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

We keep on our Deserted Historical past protection of the Ford Cruise-O-Matic transmission nowadays, shortly after the 3-pace computerized founded by itself as a trustworthy motivation resource for Ford, Lincoln, and Mercury items. Developed by the Warner Equipment division of Borg-Warner, the new automated caught Ford up to the competitiveness as far as an automated featuring was worried. Economical and cost-effective to construct, Studebaker obtained in on the Cruise-O-Matic motion for their autos far too.

Following the box proved itself on Ford and Mercury automobiles, it spread to the high-class ’55 Lincoln lineup exactly where it changed the four-speed GM Hydra-Matic. We pick up there, as efforts obtained underway to boost on the initial Borg-Warner structure and increase whiz-bang capabilities. This entry doesn’t conclude up the place you’d hope.

The activation technique of an automatic transmission was anything well worth marketing and advertising in the Fifties. Though levers were so tedious, pushbutton automatics grew to become all the rage. Chrysler obtained the bounce on the other Detroit automakers when it launched a pushbutton TorqueFlite automatic into its lineup in 1956 (we’ll have a TorqueFlite sequence shortly). Ford resolved immediately that it required a comparable function.

Dearborn began the enhancement of pushbutton controls of its individual, which it released beneath the title Keyboard Management. The element debuted in 1957 on the Mercury line and applied five individual buttons. All those buttons weren’t labeled how you’d be expecting: The longest button was at the leading of the manage panel as Drive. Beneath, the four scaled-down buttons had been Brake (park), Neutral Start off (neutral), Hill Control (low), and Reverse.

People entertaining names lasted on Mercury vehicles for just 1 design yr. The Keyboard Regulate was reworked for 1958 and renamed to Multi-Travel Keyboard Handle. New labels appeared on the buttons, which then numbered 6. Push was split into Performance and Cruising, whilst the Park button grew to become a lever that moved ahead and backward. When pushed in the auto was in park, and the buttons had been locked from activation till the lever was pulled back out.

The two versions of the pushbutton automated were a little bit of a gimmick and did not confirm all that preferred with people. The technique went absent right after 1958, and in 1959 Mercury autos were equipped with a ho-hum column gear selector.

When bewildered customers pressed buttons in the Mercury showroom, transmission growth carried on at Ford. The Ford-O-Matic was utilized as a setting up level for two new transmissions Ford on their personal. The corporation required more variations of the a few-pace as domestic passenger automobiles, in common, grew greater, sprouted fins, and carried ever higher quantities of weighty chrome.

The larger sized bejeweled vehicles weighed a lot more and required larger engines to press them throughout the region. But customers desired far more than adequate electricity the latter fifty percent of the Fifties was the unofficial begin of the horsepower race in Detroit. More horses and more torque meant a require for a more durable transmission.

What Ford produced on the foundation of the Ford-O-Matic have been its MX and Fx versions. The MX was the larger sized transmission, while the Forex was more compact. Still three-velocity automatics, both versions employed the very same planetary gearset as the primary F-O-M but relocated the transmission’s pump from the rear to the front of the box. The MX and Forex also carried a new valve overall body that allowed them to commence in initial equipment in travel, rather than next.

The much larger MX was destined for use in the strong V8 motor vehicles from Lincoln, Mercury, and better-end Ford vehicles. All MX packing containers had been created at Livonia Transmission (1952-existing) in Michigan. Forex was made use of only in Ford and Mercury styles, and typically in midrange offerings. The Forex was built in the Fairfax Transmission plant in Cincinnati, alongside the then-dated Ford-O-Matic.

The new transmissions’ capacity to get started in very first gear posed a branding challenge for the previous Ford-O-Matic. When it was technically also a a few-velocity, it differed in that it didn’t get started in initially equipment like the Forex and MX. Ford resolved to market it as a two-speed right after Fx and MX debuted, which certainly baffled some current proprietors who regarded as their cars and trucks a a few-velocity prior to 1958. Additional, the two new variations of the transmission have been marketed under a new spouse and children title: Cruise-O-Matic.

But that wasn’t adequate naming confusion, as a new variation of the Ford-O-Matic arrived for the ’59 model year. It was a easier version of the primary Ford-O-Matic and employed a torque converter with a compound planetary gear set. There was a multi-disc clutch at the front that handled significant equipment, while a band on the clutch drum handled reduced equipment, and a band on the rear equipment drum made reverse. The simplified two-speed was provided only on select Ford and Mercury designs, as very well as Edsel.

The environment of computerized transmissions stayed in stasis at Ford for the next couple many years with the gen-two Ford-O-Matic, and MX and Forex 3-velocity Cruise-O-Matics ample for all of the Blue Oval’s passenger autos. In other places in the globe, other nations had been also wading into the waters of the automated. But rather of struggling via the development of their own transmission, they stole Ford’s. Let us communicate about the Soviet Union and GAZ.

Ford Fairlane & Fairlane 500 – 1958

Gorkovsky Avtomobilny Zavod (GAZ) did have a reputable romantic relationship with Ford in the Twenties. In 1929 as The Wonderful Depression approached, Ford contracted with GAZ: The brand new Russian company was to make the Product A less than license. Ford supplied the engineering paperwork to GAZ, who set to operate. The agreement was by way of the USSR’s global commerce division, referred to as Amtorg Buying and selling Corporation (1924-1998). Amtorg was the initial small business presence the USSR experienced in the United States, and it was headquartered in New York Town.

While Amtorg was contracted with Ford, it also contracted with Albert Kahn’s architectural organization. Kahn built quite a few Ford vegetation but was battling for American organization all through the Melancholy. Kahn labored for Amtorg and cooperated by using the corporation with Ford to design the incredibly 1st GAZ plant in the USSR, at Niznij Novogrod. They had been heading to develop Ford automobiles anyway, why not?

Soon after cooperation with Amtorg started, Kahn assisted start off a govt business office in Moscow to assist with the advancement of Russian architects and engineers. The office environment, Gosproektstroi, worked especially with regard to popular factory style and design in the established Ford and Kahn versions. Top rated rating personnel from Kahn’s organization moved to Moscow to do the job at Gosproektstroi. The office was in demand of the standardization of setting up design across the USSR. This activity did not go down properly with many persons in the United States, who immediately accused Kahn of supporting communism.

The deal with Amtorg and the USSR business office didn’t previous very long nevertheless, as the GAZ factory was opened in November 1930, and Kahn’s contract with Amtorg finished in 1932. The first GAZ was the A – a near copy of the Model A, which then was designed into the AA pickup truck. Cooperation concerning GAZ and Ford lasted by 1935, and just one miracles how a lot of calls of communistic aid had been directed at Dearborn.

Some 20 many years later, it was no shock that when GAZ needed an automated transmission an evaluation of Ford items was at the leading of their to-do listing. By then GAZ was amid the most highly regarded automakers in Russia, with a whole lineup that integrated executive and luxurious automobiles for significant-rating customers of the politburo, as properly as off-road motor vehicles and trucks of varying obligations. We’ll decide up our story with the GAZ translation of the Ford-O-Matic next time.

[Images: Ford]

Turn out to be a TTAC insider. Get the latest news, attributes, TTAC requires, and every little thing else that receives to the real truth about cars and trucks 1st by subscribing to our publication.