The other day while driving one our testers its struck us that an 8 speed automatic that is intelligently mated to an engine with some power is a wonderful thing.
At the same time our thoughts floated to the evolution of transmissions, and several rules of thumb and/or guidelines that have less validity today than they did some years ago.
In no particular order:
If you remember 3 speed column shift transmissions with an unsynchronised irst gear tell us about it.
If you remember 2 or 3 speed automatic transmissions with the smooth (slush) torque converters, tell us about it.
If you remember modulator valves, hydraulic valve bodies, kick down rods from the engine to the transmission tell us about.
If you remember the rule of thumb that the torque converter was comparable to one gear in an manual transmission, tell us about it.
You surely remember that in a drag racing application an automatic transmission is preferable to a manual to run consistent times.
For years the Hydra Matic (4 speed) with various levels of modifications was the drag racing transmission work horse.
Perhaps you even remember manual transmissions with spur cut unsynchronised gears, that required double clutching to downshift (rev matching).
We could keep on going, but you surely get the thought vector, while we fast forward to today.
At one time to achieve a 0 to 60 time in the 6 second range, one needed a 4 speed manual with 4.11 gears in the differential, accompanied by atrocious cruising abilities...we were trading off acceleration for cruising. You were taching 3,000 RPM at 100 KPH. Today 6 seconds is slow, and highway cruising is effortless, in most instances taching below 2,000 RPM at 100 KPH.
The multispeed transmissions are the enabler of such performance improvements.
The old school automatics were easy to modify, while creating compromises, raise the oil pressure with a deterioration of shift smoothness, dowshifting was an inexact action at best, raising the stall speed of he torque converter improved acceleration while deteriorating street driveability, downshifting with the accelerator often became a stick the pedal through the floor exercise.
Leading edge technology, electronic controls, shift algorithms have eliminated all of the previous shortcomings.
Think of the following in a medium truck a 5 speed manual with a 2 speed rear axle for a total of 10 splits/gears has been an established standard for decades. We have 8 speed automatics for passenger vehicles with talk of a 9 or 10 speed on the horizon.
Its another Friday and another Vroom Room, come in and make yourself comfortable, enjoy the cappuccino and biscotti, join the conversation.
This week we were all reminded that we live in a dangerous world, that most of the time is safe, and in an instant can turn very ugly. One of our friends was near the finish line watching one of his friends participate in the Boston Marathon. As you can imagine there were a few anguishing moments for our friend's family, and you can quickly imagine what it was like for all the other families.
For a fleeting moment you would think that in a interconnected, interdependent planet this sort of behavior, and actions would end permanently.
This past week we had a nostalgia moment about some of our Porsche experiences, if you missed them just scroll down, and we published our e-book on Canadian sales for the 1st quarter of 2013. Fascinating to us that our Canadian sales quarterly ebooks are becoming increasingly popular.
If you have been following the various write ups, on Ford reviving the Lincoln brand, a few years ago we had a conversation with an individual at Ford, and we got the impression back then that their effort seemed inward oriented for some reason. We saw photos of the new MKZ and were quite excited the car looks cool especially from the front.
This week we have an MKZ, lets just say that more folks at Ford should have benchmarked more luxury cars, and we remember reading that Alan Mulally used to drive a Lexus...it begs the question...what happened?
We all know that its easy to read about "something" and a slightly different story to go out and execute what at times we read about...especially when it involves change. If its easy to the point that anyone can do it, how worthwhile is it, how meaningful is it?
If you want an idea of how and where the auto industry will expand and focus in the coming years, while you have been reading about BRIC (Brazil-Russia-India-China) take a look at The New Global Economy.
The other day we were looking at sales consultants that were nominated across Canada as part of an exclusive circle for a specific manufacturer, from a total of 45 there was 1 woman...truly a wow moment.
Some old cars from the Copperstate 1000 Rally...enjoy!