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


We proceed our Abandoned Record coverage of the Ford Cruise-O-Matic transmission today, soon immediately after the three-velocity computerized recognized alone as a responsible motivation source for Ford, Lincoln, and Mercury items. Developed by the Warner Equipment division of Borg-Warner, the new computerized caught Ford up to the levels of competition as far as an automated presenting was anxious. Productive and inexpensive to build, Studebaker acquired in on the Cruise-O-Matic action for their cars much too.

Immediately after the box proved itself on Ford and Mercury autos, it unfold to the lavish ’55 Lincoln lineup the place it changed the four-pace GM Hydra-Matic. We select up there, as endeavours bought underway to boost on the unique Borg-Warner design and style and incorporate whiz-bang functions. This entry doesn’t conclude up where you’d anticipate.

The activation approach of an automated transmission was a thing value marketing in the Fifties. Although levers were so monotonous, pushbutton automatics turned all the rage. Chrysler bought the leap on the other Detroit automakers when it launched a pushbutton TorqueFlite automated into its lineup in 1956 (we’ll have a TorqueFlite collection before long). Ford made the decision promptly that it required a identical characteristic.

Dearborn commenced the improvement of pushbutton controls of its individual, which it introduced under the title Keyboard Control. The feature debuted in 1957 on the Mercury line and carried out 5 independent buttons. All those buttons weren’t labeled how you’d assume: The longest button was at the top rated of the regulate panel as Generate. Underneath, the four smaller buttons ended up Brake (park), Neutral Get started (neutral), Hill Control (lower), and Reverse.

All those enjoyable names lasted on Mercury vehicles for particularly a single design yr. The Keyboard Regulate was reworked for 1958 and renamed to Multi-Drive Keyboard Command. New labels appeared on the buttons, which then numbered 6. Travel was break up into Overall performance and Cruising, although the Park button grew to become a lever that moved ahead and backward. When pushed in the car or truck was in park, and the buttons were being locked from activation until the lever was pulled again out.

Both equally variations of the pushbutton automatic have been a little bit of a gimmick and did not confirm all that common with people. The method went absent after 1958, and in 1959 Mercury motor vehicles ended up geared up with a ho-hum column equipment selector.

When bewildered consumers pressed buttons in the Mercury showroom, transmission development carried on at Ford. The Ford-O-Matic was utilised as a beginning stage for two new transmissions Ford on their very own. The company wanted far more variations of the 3-pace as domestic passenger automobiles, in standard, grew bigger, sprouted fins, and carried at any time greater quantities of hefty chrome.

The larger bejeweled autos weighed additional and needed even bigger engines to thrust them throughout the nation. But people wanted additional than adequate electric power the latter fifty percent of the Fifties was the unofficial start of the horsepower race in Detroit. Additional horses and more torque meant a have to have for a tougher transmission.

What Ford created on the basis of the Ford-O-Matic ended up its MX and Forex versions. The MX was the larger transmission, whilst the Forex was smaller sized. Nevertheless 3-velocity automatics, both versions utilised the exact same planetary gearset as the authentic F-O-M but relocated the transmission’s pump from the rear to the front of the box. The MX and Fx also carried a new valve overall body that allowed them to start out in to start with equipment in drive, somewhat than next.

The bigger MX was destined for use in the potent V8 cars from Lincoln, Mercury, and greater-end Ford cars. All MX bins were created at Livonia Transmission (1952-existing) in Michigan. Fx was utilized only in Ford and Mercury styles, and typically in midrange offerings. The Fx was made in the Fairfax Transmission plant in Cincinnati, along with the then-dated Ford-O-Matic.

The new transmissions’ capability to begin in 1st equipment posed a branding difficulty for the outdated Ford-O-Matic. Though it was technically also a three-pace, it differed in that it did not start out in initially gear like the Forex and MX. Ford decided to sector it as a two-speed soon after Forex and MX debuted, which definitely perplexed some existing homeowners who deemed their vehicles a three-velocity prior to 1958. Further more, both equally new variations of the transmission had been marketed under a new spouse and children identify: Cruise-O-Matic.

But that wasn’t ample naming confusion, as a new model of the Ford-O-Matic arrived for the ’59 product yr. It was a less complicated variation of the unique Ford-O-Matic and utilized a torque converter with a compound planetary gear established. There was a multi-disc clutch at the entrance that dealt with high equipment, when a band on the clutch drum taken care of lower equipment, and a band on the rear equipment drum produced reverse. The simplified two-velocity was available only on decide on Ford and Mercury models, as nicely as Edsel.

The earth of automated transmissions stayed in stasis at Ford for the next several years with the gen-two Ford-O-Matic, and MX and Fx three-pace Cruise-O-Matics sufficient for all of the Blue Oval’s passenger cars and trucks. In other places in the globe, other nations were being also wading into the waters of the automated. But in its place of struggling by the growth of their possess transmission, they stole Ford’s. Let’s chat about the Soviet Union and GAZ.

Ford Fairlane & Fairlane 500 – 1958

Gorkovsky Avtomobilny Zavod (GAZ) did have a reputable partnership with Ford in the Twenties. In 1929 as The Terrific Despair approached, Ford contracted with GAZ: The manufacturer new Russian business was to build the Design A less than license. Ford supplied the engineering paperwork to GAZ, who established to work. The deal was by way of the USSR’s global commerce division, identified as Amtorg Investing Corporation (1924-1998). Amtorg was the initial business presence the USSR experienced in the United States, and it was headquartered in New York Town.

Though Amtorg was contracted with Ford, it also contracted with Albert Kahn’s architectural company. Kahn intended lots of Ford plants but was struggling for American business for the duration of the Depression. Kahn labored for Amtorg and cooperated via the firm with Ford to style the extremely very first GAZ plant in the USSR, at Niznij Novogrod. They were heading to create Ford autos anyway, why not?

After cooperation with Amtorg began, Kahn aided commence a governing administration office environment in Moscow to help with the development of Russian architects and engineers. The business office, Gosproektstroi, worked specially with regard to popular factory structure in the set up Ford and Kahn types. Top rated ranking workers from Kahn’s company moved to Moscow to perform at Gosproektstroi. The business was in cost of the standardization of developing development throughout the USSR. This action did not go down nicely with many people today in the United States, who swiftly accused Kahn of supporting communism.

The deal with Amtorg and the USSR office environment didn’t very last long while, as the GAZ manufacturing unit was opened in November 1930, and Kahn’s agreement with Amtorg finished in 1932. The to start with GAZ was the A – a in close proximity to copy of the Product A, which then was developed into the AA pickup truck. Cooperation involving GAZ and Ford lasted through 1935, and a single wonders how many calls of communistic support ended up directed at Dearborn.

Some 20 many years afterwards, it was no surprise that when GAZ necessary an computerized transmission an evaluation of Ford goods was at the leading of their to-do list. By then GAZ was amid the most highly regarded automakers in Russia, with a complete lineup that provided govt and luxury cars and trucks for superior-position associates of the politburo, as perfectly as off-street vehicles and vehicles of various duties. We’ll select up our tale with the GAZ translation of the Ford-O-Matic upcoming time.

[Images: Ford]

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