75 Years Ago (December 1938): Imperial’s New Trans; Plymouth First; NADA Urges Action

From a story in Ward’s Automotive Reports’ Dec. 10, 1938: “Chrysler introduced this week as standard equipment on its Custom Imperial line a fluid oil coupling between the engine and the propeller shaft.”

The coupling functions from centrifugal action of oil thrown from a driving member into the vanes of a running member, it is reported, “thus interrupting a solid mechanical connection between motor and driveshaft.”

This device differs greatly from the GM hydraulic transmission development announced earlier as it is not intended to replace the gear-shift mechanism, the GM unit does.

Meanwhile, Plymouth, for the first time, was in first place in October new-car registrations with 29,897 units against 24,395 a year earlier.

Early introduction of ’39 models is credited with pushing Plymouth to the top, while Buick moved into third place ahead of Ford due to the late October intro of the Dearborn auto maker’s newest models.

At the same time Dodge dropped to eighth place, Pontiac moved into fifth position and Studebaker ranked sixth.

Manufacturers were asked to initiate policies to increase sales and stabilize dealer operations in resolutions of the executive committee of the National Automobile Dealers Assn. 

Auto makers were asked “to consider adopting a permanent advertising-merchandising program for used cars.”

Invasion of multiple cities by outside dealers was deplored and excessive and discriminatory taxation was condemned. Preferential discounts for large fleet buyers also were vigorously opposed.