Going way back in the past, the first automatic transmissions in the Chevrolet (the PowerGlide) and the Buick (the Dynaflow) were, in a sense, continuously variable transmissions. The torque converter varied the ratio without gears and these transmissions were very inefficient. I have a friend that has both a Prius and a Ford Escape hybrid. Both have the CVT transmissions and the Ford Escape always reminds me of the old PowerGlide Chevrolets and Dynaflow Buicks as the Escape Hybrid takes off from a standing start. However these new CVT transmissions don’t slip and apparently are more economical than the manual transmissions.
Yes, I know all about those guys. They are mostly the same people who think I’m lying when I say that my Yaris gets 43-45 mpg.
Dag–As you apparently remember, that Dynaflow had an incredible amount of slippage.
I think that when people look in the dictionary for the defintion of “inefficient”, it should say, “see Buick Dynaflow”.
Oh, yes. I remember when the Buick first offered the Dynaflow transmission back in 1948 and when Chevrolet introduced the PowerGlide for its 1950 models. The engines for the Buicks and Chevrolets with the automatic transmissions came equipped with hydraulic tappets, while the standard transmission equipped Chevrolets and Buicks had solid lifters. I would guess that, due to the inefficiencies of these tranmissions that the valves would make too much noise with solid lifters as the engines revved up to get these cars underway from a stop.
I think history repeats itself. In the old days one could choose between a hydramatic with a fluid coupling (no torque multiplication)) and 4 forwand speeds or the PowerGlide/Dyanflow arrangement where the torque converter multiplied the torque for getting away from a stop. Now one has the choice between a CVT or a 5 or 6 speed automatic transmission.
Auto is a upgrade,spent my formative years with a three on the tree-Kevin