Video: Click On The Button: How The Most Unusual Automatic Selectors Appeared
2023 Author: Natalie MacDonald | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-11-26 13:59
The recent appearance on the market of the new generation Hyundai Sonat with the choice of gears using the R, N and D buttons caused a storm of surprise: the sticks sticking out of the central tunnel, it turns out, are no longer needed ?! In fact, the Koreans did not come up with anything fundamentally new: humanity learned to switch gears with buttons back in the middle of the 20th century.
First of all, the Americans should be thanked for this - they at all times fiercely disliked "mechanics". Imagine, even the transmission on the Ford T was semi-automatic. The usual manual gearbox lever on the "Lizzy's tin" was absent, and the second (also the highest) gear was engaged automatically when a speed of 30 km / h was reached and the clutch was squeezed out.
The gearbox with the so-called "preselector", which appeared on the expensive Delahaye (France) and Cord (USA) models in the 1930s, looks much more convenient and at the same time more elegant. A switch placed closer to the steering wheel allowed the driver to select the desired gear with a light movement of his fingers, which was then engaged when the clutch was pressed.
The era of buttons came a little later - in the mid-1950s. It was then that Chrysler, considered the foremost technical innovator among the Detroit Big Three brands, introduced shift keys for automatic transmissions in 1956 cars. Even the relatively inexpensive Plymouths with a 3-speed Powerflite automatic transmission have a four-button panel to the left of the steering wheel. The assignment of the R, N, D, L keys, if it was not possible to guess on the move, is Rear (reverse), Neutral (neutral), Drive (drive) and Low (mode of holding low gear).
On the models of the top "Chrysler" brand Imperial, it was additionally possible to include 1st and 2nd gears. There is no particular sense or convenience in this, but the fact remains. Later, the same scheme will be applied to the more affordable De Soto, Chrysler and Plymouth.
On the Imperials, push-button operated machines were already standard, and on Plymouths they were installed for an additional payment of $ 120, weighty at that time. But this option was very popular: over 60% of 1956 Plymouth buyers preferred to pay extra for the newfangled button box. The most surprising thing is that the mechanical linkage of the Powerflight worked quite reliably and did not cause any inconvenience to users.
Alas, the same could not be said about the Touch Button Ultramatic automatic transmission, all in the same 1956 model year, presented on the production models of Packard. Standard on the top Caribbean model and an option ($ 52) for any Automatic Packard, this box (in theory) looked more advanced than the Chrysler variant. The buttons on the panel, located on the right hand of the driver, activated an electric motor, which itself included the desired gear.
But a more aesthetic and advanced solution in practice turned out to be capricious and unreliable. The Ultramatic motor often overheated and refused to engage the required gear. However, by that time Packard already had one foot in the grave, so no one began to bring the Touch Button Ultramatic to mind.
The public reaction to the button story ultimately inspired the managers of the Ford Motor Company. Already in the next 1957, keys also appeared on the models of the Mercury line. On Mercury models, the Keyboard Control was located to the left of the driver and, like Chrysler's Powerflite, provided a mechanical link between the buttons and transmission rods.
However, the optional Teletouch push-button shifting circuitry, which debuted on Ford's newest Edsel brand for model year 1958, gained much more prominence. But this fame was not the most enviable. In theory, the Teletach seemed like an interesting idea: the gearshift buttons were located right at the end of the steering wheel, thereby sorting together all the main controls.
In reality, however, this scheme brought more problems. Some drivers habitually pressed the Teletouch buttons when they wanted to beat. In addition, due to poorly sealed contacts, the electromechanical push-button automatic transmission quickly began to be capricious. Teletouch lasted only one year in Edsel catalogs. Later, when the brand itself leaves the market in disgrace, the Teletouch transmission will be called one of the reasons for the Edsel's failure. Which, to put it mildly, is not entirely true …
In conclusion, we can say that General Motors remained on the sidelines of the "button boom". But on the models of "Chrysler" brands, the automatic transmission keys were installed on absolutely the entire model range, including even the budgetary "Valiant". Pushbutton machines simultaneously disappeared from all Chrysler models after the 1964 model year. A new wave of madness began in America, known as the oil and pony cars …
Hyundai Santa Fe has a major update: a new platform, push-button "automatic" and hybrids in the News section
New Hyundai Tucson: a very unusual tidy and push-button "automatic" in the News section
It will be possible to register an accident in Russia with a single button in the News section
Very special purpose: unusual machines for unusual tasks in the Featured section
An unusual hybrid of a tractor and a pickup truck with a 52-speed gearbox appeared on sale in the News section