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The Evolution of Automotive Transmissions

Last updated 2 years ago

Getting power from the engine to the wheels of an automobile was once the biggest challenge for automobile makers and engineers. But thanks to the modern day transmission, this problem is a thing of the past. To learn more about the history and evolution of the modern day transmission, read this brief overview:

· Panhard-Levassor Transmission

In 1895, a pair of French engineers named Louis-Rene Panhard and Emile Levassor invited the press to a demonstration of “the most revolutionary advancement to date in the brief history of the motor car industry.” That revolutionary advancement was a sliding gear manual transmission that would later be the inspiration for the modern day automatic transmission.

· Planetary Gears

After Panhard and Levassor’s sliding gear manual transmission was introduced, there were numerous attempts at making it easier for the driver to shift gears. One of the most significant attempts was the planetary transmission. First introduced in the 1908 Ford Model T, this transmission had a central gear, called the “sun” gear, surrounded by three “planet” gears. This planetary gear design is still widely used in automatic transmissions.

· Wilson’s Preselector

In 1930, Walter Wilson developed an elaborate manual transmission that was called the Wilson Preselector. Using four individual planetary gearsets, the Wilson Preselector allowed the driver to preselect one gear ratio by moving a small lever on the steering column. In turn, this allowed the driver to disengage one gear and simultaneously engage to preselected gearset.

· GM’s Dynaflow Automatic Transmission

All transmission designs following the Panhard-Levassor unit had one goal in mind: to make shifting easier. Building on numerous technological improvements that had been made on the manual transmission, Buick introduced the Dynaflow, the first fully automatic transmission to make use of the hydraulic torque converter that we still use today. The Dynaflow was the model for present-day automatic transmissions.

Here at Miramar Transmission, we pride ourselves on knowing the ins and outs of the transmission inside your vehicle. Our knowledge and experience serving the San Diego area make us the best place to go for all of your transmission and clutch repair needs. To learn more about our vehicle repair services, contact us online or dial (858) 457-3777.


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