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1938 L-38 Aldmobile with the AST transmission started it and Electric will end it.


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1938 Oldsmobile Convertible Coupe with Autoamatic Safeaty Transmission [CREDIT: Hemmings Motor News]

The 1938 Oldsmobile Automatic Safety Transmission started the greater adoption of auto driving and increased safety by keeping both hands on the steering wheel. This is what eventually morphed into the 1940 Hydra Matic automatic transmission.

1938 Oldsmobile Convertible Coupe with Autoamatic Safeaty Transmission [CREDIT: Hemmings Motor News]

The last of this car known to exist is going up for auction according to the Hemmings blog.  This is one of 475 1938 L-38 Convertible Coupes built which is also the last for Oldsmobile with a rumble seat. The AST was a $100 option. This car also had the optional dual side mounts $65, deluze radio, $66.50, electric clock $15, fog lamps $6.25 and optional heater $15. This car is expected to sell for between $55,000 and $75,000 dollars.

Yes as this car started the automatic transmission story, the event of electric cars seems to be ending it as the lack of need for a transmission is pretty common. The only exception to this is in 200 Mph EVs. Seems technology is truly replacing what allowed for mass movement of people in a new form.

1938 Oldsmobile Convertible Coupe with Autoamatic Safeaty Transmission [CREDIT: Hemmings Motor News]

Green Car Report Story

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Multi-speed transmissions that require shifting today seem an anachronism, tied to the internal-combustion engine and its narrow power band. Internal combustion engines don't produce enough torque at very low speeds to get a several-thousand-pound car moving except with very low gearing (lots of engine revs for very little movement.) These low gears can't sustain higher speeds for the highway or even more moderate thoroughfares. Those roads require longer-legged gears that couldn't get the car moving.

Well, certainly not everyone is going to agree with much of this paragraph!

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9 hours ago, balthazar said:

 

 

Well, certainly not everyone is going to agree with much of this paragraph!

But the Car is a Sexy convertible! :metal:

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Crying shame that car is the last of its kind. 

Buying oats for horses when electric cars have not taken over. A Horse with no name will be pulled around by a horse with no name.

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35 minutes ago, A Horse With No Name said:

Crying shame that car is the last of its kind. 

Buying oats for horses when electric cars have not taken over. A Horse with no name will be pulled around by a horse with no name.

I drop a few Oats in your bucket my friend along with a new wood chisel! :P

Thinking on this more, this is where electric powertrains or a modern ICE powertrain can keep these babies on the road if the OEM is not longer working.

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32 minutes ago, balthazar said:

Far more cost effective -both from the project cost and the ensuing value issue- to rebuild the original engine that to engineer/retrofit an electric powertrain into an antique auto. ANY IC engine can always be rebuilt.

I have to disagree with you my friend, ANY ICE engine cannot always be rebuilt. Some are past the ability to be done. Sounds like the tranny in these were a mess anyway, so while a start of cool tech back then, retrofitting for a more modern power train might be the easiest and cheapest way to go.

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OK; I suppose if you blow the side wall of a block out, it's not repairable, but such has been spray welded back together before. You could ALWAYS find a replacement block- there are even long block Tucker motors out there today. Once you have to fabricate mounts/plates and re-engineer an electric motor/battery packs where a ICE/ transmission/driveshaft was, you are getting into MAJOR hours time-wise, and time = money. Bolt-in usually always trumps re-engineering.

The other thing to consider if the thinking is - a marked increase in power is going to require a lot of other tangential upgrades, such as brakes & tires. A '37 Olds coupe is only 95 HP as a 6 / 110 as an 8, in a 3200 lb car. A nissan leaf is 3500 lbs but has 147 HP and arguably; markedly better brakes. We're not talking about putting a 100 Kw Tesla motor in a '37 Olds that's otherwise stock, are we??

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10 minutes ago, balthazar said:

OK; I suppose if you blow the side wall of a block out, it's not repairable, but such has been spray welded back together before. You could ALWAYS find a replacement block- there are even long block Tucker motors out there today. Once you have to fabricate mounts/plates and re-engineer an electric motor/battery packs where a ICE/ transmission/driveshaft was, you are getting into MAJOR hours time-wise, and time = money. Bolt-in usually always trumps re-engineering.

The other thing to consider if the thinking is - a marked increase in power is going to require a lot of other tangential upgrades, such as brakes & tires. A '37 Olds coupe is only 95 HP as a 6 / 110 as an 8, in a 3200 lb car. A nissan leaf is 3500 lbs but has 147 HP and arguably; markedly better brakes. We're not talking about putting a 100 Kw Tesla motor in a '37 Olds that's otherwise stock, are we??

I get what you are saying and no, Not talking about putting a Tesla P100D powertrain in an auto like this unless you have the money, time and want to do something crazy. More like just installing a close equal of a modern ICE or if desired electric powertrain.

Heck thinking on this, you could probably replace that old motor with a modern 3 cylinder motor and transmission.

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I'm in the process of replacing a V8 ICE powertrain with a more modern one, only 11-12 years newer in my case, and everything has to be changed, everything. Beside the obvious, also exhaust, brake lines, and electrical aspects. Just dealing with my gas tank is taking at least 16 hours (some of that is elective)- pegging shop rate at $110/hr, that would be $1760 just on the fuel system. I can't even reuse the original throttle linkage- so that has to be re-engineered.

Putting an EV powertrain where a longitudinal V8/trans/driveshaft/rear was would be 500 hours in labor in a shop no problem- that's $55,000. Then you have parts on top of that. Just as OEMs cannot sell EVs at competitive prices to ICE equivalents (and make a profit), one-off retro-fitting is enormously expensive.

Neil Young has stated he believes his LincVolt project will have cost around $500,000.

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3 minutes ago, balthazar said:

I'm in the process of replacing a V8 ICE powertrain with a more modern one, only 11-12 years newer in my case, and everything has to be changed, everything. Beside the obvious, also exhaust, brake lines, and electrical aspects. Just dealing with my gas tank is taking at least 16 hours (some of that is elective)- pegging shop rate at $110/hr, that would be $1760 just on the fuel system. I can't even reuse the original throttle linkage- so that has to be re-engineered.

Putting an EV powertrain where a longitudinal V8/trans/driveshaft/rear was would be 500 hours in labor in a shop no problem- that's $55,000. Then you have parts on top of that. Just as OEMs cannot sell EVs at competitive prices to ICE equivalents (and make a profit), one-off retro-fitting is enormously expensive.

There in lies the rub, the EV powertrain are cheap, it is the labor and battery system. If you want it, you do it yourself for the love and one off coolness. I am excited to see your car finished. :metal:

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