Topic: Liquimatic Transmission

GNWolohon    -- 05-16-2011 @ 7:27 AM
  I was at our regional group's, Dearborn Regional Group #67, annual Dustoff Party & Inspection event last Saturday. I brought my '48 Ford Tudor Sedan & was comparing it to a '48 Mercury Convertible. I noticed that there are a cutout in each of the inner panel of the front fenders. I asked what was the reason for the cutouts. The owner stated that Lincolns & Mercurys in 1942 only, had a "Liquimatic" transmission. Since this transmission was so long they had to move the engine forward about 4" & they cut out the inner panel of the front fender so they could move the radiator forward to accompany this "Liquimatic" transmission. The owner of the '48 Merc. also stated that almost all of the Liquimatic transmissions were recalled & destroyed.

Do any of you know anthing else about the "Liquimatic" transmissions? This is the first time that I have ever heard of a "Liquimatic" transmission. Thanks, Larry/owner of a "41 & a "48.

nelsb01    -- 05-16-2011 @ 7:30 AM
  The Foundation has one that was not returned to Dearborn. Check out their website for more information.

ford38v8    -- 05-16-2011 @ 11:37 AM
Larry, the '42 Merc did indeed have the option of the new Liquimatic transmission. It was an instant failure, and all were recalled to replace with standard transmissions. The other information you received about cutouts in panels, I suspect to be speculation, as well as the installation in Lincoln cars, of which I had never heard of till now.

As stated above, there is a complete Liquimatic engine assembly at the Foundation museum, and yes, it's a monstrous looking thing that is likely to have required a forward mount.


supereal    -- 05-17-2011 @ 12:22 PM
  There are two pages of info on the '42 Liquamatic drive, including the gear box and controls, in the Canadian Ford shop manual, pages 126-127, if you are curious. If interested, I can scan it and e-mail or post it. It was also offered in the Lincoln, but included an overdrive, according to the text. It was a curious experiment with a torque converter, and a vacuum shifter, plus relay controls. It was devised to compete with the HydraMatic that GM debuted in the late '30s, but was a huge failure and resulted in a total recall, as mentioned above.

Stroker    -- 05-17-2011 @ 2:54 PM

I don't know whether anyone else cares, but I for one am a lover of obscure stuff. I'd love to see the Liquimatic info. Like a few of us, I didn't even know they existed until I read about the Foundations example a while back in the V8 Times. I believed until recently that the first FoMoCo built automatic was the air-cooled Fordomatic that debuted in the 51's. I had a classmate in the 50's that had a 41 Cheebie with a vacuum clutch, and other buddies that had 40's Plowmouth's with "Fluid-Drive", but I had never heard of the "infamous Liquimatic". Goes to show that you CAN teach an Old Dog.

My mom had a 57 Country Sedan (312 T-Bird Special) with a "Fordo" in it. I used it as a tow car for our little fuel-burning 2-Port Reilly 33 Ford powered rail job that we raced at the Colton Drag Strip. One night, after shucking a rod in the 33-4 banger, I decided to enter our tow vehicle. It was classed (in 1957), as a AA-Stock-Automatic. In the final round, I was up against a 283-4bbl Cheebie coupe with a Powerslide. You could put that Fordo in low, lift up a notch to get it to shift, and then pull the selector back into low, which would lock it in second. Mom's wagon cleaned the Cheebie's clock, but I then had a bit of a dilemma. Since I'd borrowed her car only to tow the digger, I couldn't take the trophy for the tow vehicle home without a long explanation.

ford38v8    -- 05-17-2011 @ 7:37 PM
  Dan, lover of the obscure, did you know that Lincoln used the Hydromatic coupled to its big block flathead? The Lincoln 337 used in the Cosmpolitan had a Hydro. Yes indeedy. Remember the Muntz? It also used the Lincoln 337 coupled to a Hydromatic, licenced as a package from Lincoln Motors.

About the Dodge Fluid Drive, it was a good transmission. My father couldn't destroy it, so it must have been good! I remember that he once tore his bumper off trying to pull a stump with his Dodge. My father could wreck any car, but never had a problem with those Fluid Drives. Poor man would sit in his car for an hour waiting for a tow truck driver to change his flat tire. He had his talents, but automobiles were as strange to him then as computers are to me today.


Stroker    -- 05-18-2011 @ 5:58 AM
  Alan: I was aware of the Hydromatic Lincoln's but the Liquimatic was a new one on me. I wonder what Lincoln would have done if GM hadn't opted to sell them their trans? Might have been worse than the time when the worlds only Hydromatic plant burned down. Imagine buying a new Caddie with a Buick Dynaflush trans! Dan

v8teditor    -- 05-18-2011 @ 6:46 AM
  Dave Cole authored a two-part article in the V-8 TIMES - Jan/Feb 1993 and Mar/Apr 1993 on the LIQUAMATIC. The thing required a special block. Had many problems primarily because it was a mixture of mechanical and electrical controls and the mechanics that knew how to work on the things went off to war. There was also an article on how the Foundation acquired the one they have published probably in 1992. Fortunately the thing was in a crate as removed from a vehicle for return to Ford and had ALL the controls, canisters, wiring harness, etc. still attached! The engine/tranny was cosmetically restored but all the internal components are still there! Probably one of the only remaining examples of what was not a "better idea!"

v8teditor    -- 05-18-2011 @ 6:57 AM
  Here's a photo of the Foundation's Liquamatic. The piece of plexiglass contains the dash controls. Note the vacuum canister along the back of the block. Paperwork at bottom of picture details the engine and how it was discovered. There's also a photo of the engine in a crate as it was when acquired by the Foundation. The crate was jammed with Model A dash inserts and the donor thought it was only the engine block. When all the inserts were removed, the entire engine, tranny and ALL the controls were discovered. What a find!

This message was edited by v8teditor on 5-18-11 @ 6:58 AM

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