I have spent a lot of time over the past few weeks undertaking an extensive update of the 2010 article on the original GM Hydra-Matic transmission. The goal was to clear up various errors and points of confusion as well as trying to do a better job of explaining the operating principles of both Hydra-Matic and its precursor, the Automatic Safety Transmission.
This endeavor, which has reminded me why I’m neither a mechanic nor an engineer, was actually a good deal more work than the original draft. However, since people continue to read and refer to this article, I felt it was appropriate to try to sort out its inaccuracies and confusing points.
You can read the full article here.
Click below for two additional notes on this update.
Continue Reading A Hydra-Matic Update
I’ve updated the site’s Reprint/Reuse Policy (which is now linked in the Administrative Pages menu on the right for ease of reference) and I encourage everyone to read it. The policy is not significantly different than it has been, but I’ve reformatted it to make it easier to read and to clarify a few points.
As with all of the site’s policies, I’ve tried very hard to balance what I reasonably need to do to protect myself and my rights with an appropriate respect for common sense and the principles of fair use. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.
ETA (Jan. 13, 2016): I have made a further update to the policy — including reorganizing and reformatting parts of it — in the interests of clarity, avoiding inadvertent contradictions, and trying to balance a bunch of conflicting priorities. I encourage you to read the updated policy if you’re interested in excerpting an article, reusing photos, or anything like that, and to let me know if you have questions or concerns. My intent is not to be scary or unduly restrictive while covering myself and the people who are kind enough to let me use their photos and other material.
The other day, I got an email from author Michael Lamm with some exciting news: one of my favorite automotive books — and one of the most important resources on U.S. automotive styling — is back in print.
Continue Reading Back in Print: A Century of Automotive Style
Most English-language automotive histories will tell you that the four-door hardtop became extinct in the late seventies, a victim of American safety regulations. That may have been true in the U.S., but Japan’s love affair with hardtops continued well into the nineties, including some models you probably didn’t know you knew. In this installment of Ate Up With Motor, we present a brief survey of the Japanese four-door hardtop.
Japanese cars have a reputation for appliance-like reliability, but are often criticized (fairly or not) for lacking character. Character is a quality of which British cars have rarely been short, but dependability is quite another matter. In the early eighties, Honda and Rover decided to collaborate on two shared-platform luxury cars that promised to bridge that gap: the 1986–1990 Honda / Acura Legend and 1986–1999 Rover 800 (a.k.a. Sterling 800). The long and complicated story of how that project came about and what became of it is our subject in this installment of Ate Up With Motor.
Although frequently misunderstood and often misspelled, MacPherson struts are one of the most common suspension systems used on modern cars, found on everything from the Proton Savvy to the most formidable Porsche 911 Turbo. In this newly revised and updated installment of Ate Up With Motor, we’ll take a look at the origins and workings of the MacPherson strut, including modern variations like the Toyota Super Strut, GM HiPer Strut, and Ford RevoKnuckle.
Continue Reading The MacPherson Strut
Before it became a Lexus in 1991, the Toyota Soarer enjoyed a decade of success in Japan through two successive generations, becoming the favored choice of Japanese yuppies. A cousin of the Toyota Supra, the Soarer was a sporty, sophisticated personal luxury coupe boasting an array of high-tech features that have only recently become commonplace on high-end cars. In this installment of Ate Up With Motor, we look at the complete history of the Soarer, including the 1981–1985 Z10, 1986–1991 Z20, and 1992–2000 Z30, with a brief look at the final 2001–2005 Z40.