Automatic Drive

Last updated

Automatic Drive was the trade name for Studebaker Corporation's first automatic transmission, designed in conjunction with Borg-Warner's Detroit Gear division. Studebaker was one of two independent American auto manufacturers to invest in development and tooling for automatic transmissions, the other being Packard with its Ultramatic product.

Automatic Drive, which combined a three-speed planetary gearset and a lock-up torque converter, debuted in early 1950 as a $201 option on all Studebaker models. Ford, which was without an automatic transmission in 1950, approached Studebaker about buying Automatic Drive units. Studebaker's management refused and thereby lost out on what could have been significant "plus" business.

By 1955, Studebaker was forced to abandon the Automatic Drive because of high production costs, replacing it with a less-expensive Borg Warner unit based on Ford's Ford-O-Matic, which Studebaker called Flight-O-Matic. Borg-Warner continued to build Studebaker's Automatic Drive and market the unit overseas. It was used on British marques including Jaguar, Daimler, Humber and Ford Zephyr/Zodiac.

Related Research Articles

Automatic transmission Type of motor vehicle transmission that automatically changes gear ratio as the vehicle moves

An automatic transmission, also called auto, self-shifting transmission, n-speed automatic, or AT, is a type of motor vehicle transmission that automatically changes the gear ratio as the vehicle moves, meaning that the driver does not have to shift the gears manually. Like other transmission systems on vehicles, it allows an internal combustion engine, best suited to run at a relatively high rotational speed, to provide a range of speed and torque outputs necessary for vehicular travel. The number of forward gear ratios is often expressed for manual transmissions as well.

Packard Hawk car model

The Packard Hawk is a model of automobile. It was the sportiest of the four Packard-badged Studebakers produced in 1958, the final year of Packard production.

A semi-automatic transmission is an automobile transmission that combines manual transmission and automatic transmission.


Hydramatic is an automatic transmission developed by both General Motors' Cadillac and Oldsmobile divisions. Introduced in 1939 for the 1940 model year vehicles, the Hydramatic was the first mass-produced fully automatic transmission developed for passenger automobile use.

Ultramatic was the trademarked name of the Packard Motor Car Company's automatic transmission introduced in 1949 and produced until 1954, at Packard's Detroit, Michigan East Grand Boulevard factory. It was produced thereafter from late 1954, thru 1956 at the new Packard "Utica" Utica, Michigan facility.

Chrysler PowerFlite transmission

PowerFlite is a two-speed automatic transmission engineered and produced by the Chrysler Corporation and used in their passenger cars from 1954 to 1961. Production began in late 1953; despite the launch of Chrysler's three-speed TorqueFlite automatic in 1956, the simple and durable PowerFlite remained available on Plymouths and Dodges through the 1961 model year, after which it was discontinued.

Ford-O-Matic was the first automatic transmission widely used by Ford Motor Company. It was designed by the Warner Gear division of Borg Warner Corporation and introduced in 1951 model year cars. In contrast to Detroit Gear Division's three band automatic originally designed for Studebaker which became superseded by this unit, a variation of Warner Gear's three-speed unit named Ford-O-Matic continued to evolve later into Cruise-O-Matic named transmissions in 1958 and finally the FMX named transmissions in 1968. This line continued in production until 1980, when the AOD was introduced. Like Ford, variations of this same Borg Warner design were used by other automobile manufacturers as well, such as AMC, International Harvester, Studebaker, Volvo and Jaguar, each of them having the necessary unique adaptations required for the individual applications.

The Ford C6 is a heavy-duty automatic transmission built by Ford Motor Company between 1966 and 1996. It was marketed as the "SelectShift Cruise-O-Matic". Compared to its predecessor MX transmission, the C6 offered lower weight, less complexity, less parasitic power loss, and greater torque capacity for larger engines. It did this without exceeding the packaging dimensions of the MX. These design goals were in line with those of the C4 for smaller engines.

BorgWarner Inc. is an American worldwide automotive industry components and parts supplier. It is primarily known for its powertrain products, which include manual and automatic transmissions and transmission components such as electro-hydraulic control components, transmission control units, friction materials, and one-way clutches, turbochargers, engine valve timing system components, along with four-wheel drive system components.

Roto Hydramatic was an automatic transmission built by General Motors and used on some Oldsmobile, Pontiac and Holden models from 1961–1965. It was based on the earlier, four-speed Hydramatic, but was more compact, providing only three forward speeds plus a small 8" fluid coupling with a stator inside of the fluid coupling. Oldsmobile, one of the users of this transmission, called the fluid couplings stator the "Accel-A-Rotor." The lightweight, aluminum-cased transmission was sometimes nicknamed the "Slim Jim." HydraMatic Division calls the Roto a four range, three gear HydraMatic. It counts the stator multiplication at 3.50:1 as a first gear, and when road speed and the two coupling halves speed match, it counts the same gear with fluid now passing straight through the stator as 2nd gear at 2.93 to one. Second gear has a ratio of 1.56 and because the fluid coupling is drained for this gear ratio making the front clutch apply makes this a rare automatic that is in FULL mechanical lock-up in second gear. Fourth range the coupling fills releasing the front clutch makes a ratio of 1 to 1. This transmission, like single and dual range, and dual coupling hydramatics also have the feature of split torque in the transmission whereby in fourth or high gear only 40-to 50% depending on transmission, 40% in Roto's case, but because of the design the coupling is only required to carry 40% of the engine torque. The rest is (60%) is in full mechanical connection making these hydramatics the most efficient automatic until the wide spread use of the lock-up torque converter.

Studebaker Champ

The Studebaker Champ was a light-duty pickup truck produced by the Studebaker Corporation from 1960-1964.

Studebaker Coupe Express

The Studebaker Coupe Express was a passenger car based pickup truck, produced by the Studebaker Corporation of South Bend, Indiana, between 1937 and 1939. Unlike other concurrent pick-up trucks, the coupe express mated Studebaker's passenger car styling to a full size truck bed.

Automatic transmission fluid Fluid used in vehicles for self-shifting or automatic transmissions.

Automatic transmission fluid (ATF) is a kind of transmission fluid used in vehicles with self-shifting or automatic transmissions. It is typically coloured red or green to distinguish it from motor oil and other fluids in the vehicle.

Vehicles made by American Motors Corporation (AMC) and Jeep incorporated a variety of transmissions and transfer case systems. This article covers transmissions used in the following vehicle models and years:

ControlTrac four-wheel drive is the brand name of a selectable automatic full-time four-wheel drive system offered by Ford Motor Company. The four-wheel drive system was designed and developed at BorgWarner under its TorqTransfer Systems division in the mid 1980s. BorgWarner calls the system Torque-On-Demand (TOD). ControlTrac was the first automatic system to use software control and no planetary or bevel geared center differential. Instead of a planetary or bevel geared center differential, the system uses a variable intelligent locking center multi-disc differential.

The Borg-Warner 35 transmission (BW-35) is an automatic transmission produced by the BorgWarner company. This article also applies to variations—the M-36 and M-37. When this article refers to "M-3x" it refers to all models. When model number specific it will use the exact model number.

Dual-clutch transmission type of automatic transmission or automated automotive transmission

A dual-clutch transmission (DCT) is essentially an automated manual transmission in automobiles, closely related to a manual transmission. It uses two separate clutches for odd and even gear sets. It can fundamentally be described as two separate manual transmissions with their respective clutches contained within one housing, and working as one unit. Although usually operated in a fully automatic mode, many also have the ability to allow the driver to manually shift gears in semi-automatic mode, albeit still using the transmission's electrohydraulics.


MERCON is the trade name for a group of technical specifications of automatic transmission fluid created by Ford. The name is a registered trademark of Ford, which licenses the name and specifications to companies which manufacture the fluid and sell it under their own brand names. Not all Mercon fluids are licensed for reselling under another brand name. All licensed Mercon fluids must have a license number on the container. If no license number is found, the fluid may not be Ford approved and the fluid cannot be guaranteed to meet Ford specifications. Ford, like many automobile manufacturers, uses transmissions sourced from other suppliers or transmission manufacturers around the world; these transmissions are not manufactured by Ford. Many of these automatic transmissions use unique fluids that might not be shown on this page.