S. Berliner, III's sbiii.com CHRYSLER Continuation Page 6 keywords = Chrysler Walter Daimler ChryslerDaimler auto car truck tank Crown Imperial Majestic Highlander Royal Saratoga Windsor Newport Town & Country Thunderbolt turbine engine Willys Overland Jeep Dodge DeSoto Plymouth Valiant Tourismo Chalmers Maxwell Briscoe Fargo Aberdeen Proving Ground Gander Gyról Fluid Drive M4 Vacamatic M6 Prestomatic

Updated:   19 Sep 2016; 14:10 ET
[Page created 29 Jul 2005; converted 21 Mar 2011;

    original AT&T Worldnet Website begun 30 May 1996.]
URL:  http://sbiii.com/chryslr6.html
[was at "home.att.net/~Berliner-Ultrasonics/chryslr6.html"]

S. Berliner, III
Consultant in Ultrasonic Processing
"changing materials with high-intensity sound"

[consultation is on a fee basis]

Technical and Historical Writer, Oral Historian
Popularizer of Science and Technology
Rail, Auto, Air, Ordnance, and Model Enthusiast
Light-weight Linguist, Lay Minister, and Putative Philosopher

note - The vast bulk of my massive Web presence (over 485 pages) had been hosted by AT&T's WorldNet service since 30 May 1996; they dropped WorldNet effective 31 Mar 2010 and I have been scrambling to transfer everything.  Everything's saved but all the links have to be changed, mostly by hand.  See my sbiii.com Transfer Page for any updates on this tedious process.

S. Berliner, III's



Continuation Page 6

Chrysler Badge

(The original Chrysler page, et seq., grew completely out of hand and this had to be added;
please have a look at it, the Chrysler Continuation Page 1, the Chrysler Continuation Page 2,
the Chrysler Continuation Page 3,
the Chrysler Continuation Page 4, and
the Chrysler Continuation Page 5!)

These pages are basically unindexed but a HELP section is now on the continuation page 3 and the Chrysler Links section is being recreated.

Chrysler Imperial 8.

  '31-'32-'33 Imperial 8 Major Model Year Differences.

plus much more on Cont. Page 4.

Imperial L-80/L*80 - the "Big Six".

Jeep (moved to Chrysler page 1 on 02 Jul .

Model Chryslers.

On Chrysler Continuation Page 5:
    '39 and '41 Photos - moved to this page on 11 Nov 03.
    Miscellaneous Chrysler Photos - moved to this page on 11 Nov 03.
    Dodge Power Wagon.

On this Chrysler Continuation Page 6:
    Gyról Fluid Drive and
    M4 Vacamatic and M6 Prestomatic Semi-Automatic Transmissions
    1930 Chrysler Pickup Truck!
    1929 Chrysler Pickup Truck!!!
    Odd 1940 Chrysler

On separate page - 1949 Chrysler 8 C-46 Owner's Manual

Chrysler and Daimler (Mercedes) merged as DaimlerChrysler in 1998 and split back apart in 2007 - two of my most favo(u)rite cars!

HELP! - What is the approved substitute for Gýrol Fluid Drive coupling fluid?   new.gif (14 May 08)

Gýrol Fluid Drive

  [Moved on 29 Jul 05 from Note 1. on main Chrysler page and expanded.]

Gýrol Fluid Drive was simply a one-to-one hydraulic coupling that allowed slip between the clutch and the drive shaft.  It in NO WAY affected shifting other than that it allowed starting, remaining, or stopping in any gear without shifting and it also became the facilitator (what a word!) for the semi-automatic transmissions which followed (see below).  It was first offered on the 1939 Chrysler Custom Imperial.

Does anyone out there know what the acute accent on the "y" stands for in "Gýrol"?  Langworth and Norbye consistently confuse Fluid Drive with semi-automatic transmissions in their history of Chrysler (see References, on continuation page 2).  The second car I bought, as opposed to those I inherited, was a 1941 Windsor that had Gýrol Fluid Drive and a standard 3-speed, column-shift transmission.  Dodges had this arrangement for several years into the Powerflite era.  Acceleration in 3rd wasn't anything to write home about but you could put it in 2nd and stay there quite comfortably all day in New York City traffic.

It must be emphasized that semi-automatic transmissions were not required with Fluid Drive but the reverse is not so; you HAD to have the Fluid Drive coupling to have an M4 or M6 transmission.

M4 Vacamatic and M6 Prestomatic
    Semi-Automatic Transmissions

  [Moved on 29 Jul 05 from Note 2. on main Chrysler page and expanded.]

The M4 Vacamatic transmission was first applied to the 1941 Chrysler line and apparently only lasted to 1942.   Shifting within high or low range was accomplished by engine vacuum and kick-up and kick-down switches on the accelerator but the clutch was required to shift from neutral to reverse or to high or low range.  With two gears in each range*, you had a 4-speed tranny, but normal usage was 1-3-4 or 1-2-4; the details of how this was accomplished are explained below.

The M6 Powermatic transmission was the workhorse of the late-'40s and early-'50s cars.  It was electro-hydraulically operated and succeded the pre-war M4 Vacamatic, which was operated by engine vacuum (when the vacuum diaphragm wore through, you could get a neat underhood explosion if vapors ignited!).  Both transmissions were, in effect, four-speed in that they each had a LOW RANGE and a HIGH RANGE and a LOW GEAR and a HIGH GEAR.  You used the clutch to shift into low or high ranges and reverse and the accelerator pedal to shift between low and high gears.  The normal shift pattern was to just put the car in high range and start off (in 3rd gear), "tip-toe" shifting above 15mph (I'd forgotten! - I never remembered to open up the '49, dig out the manual, and update this) by momentarily releasing the accelerator, whereupon (usually) the transmission went "CLUNK" and you were in high gear (4th).  For better low-speed acceleration, the drill was to put the car in low range, starting off in 1st gear, "tip-toe" shifting above 7mph (ditto) by momentarily releasing the accelerator, waiting for the "CLUNK" (2nd gear), accelerating to around 25mph, and manually shifting to high range, which left you directly in high gear (4th).  Later versions of the M6 were called "Prestomatic", "Fluid-matic", "Fluidtorque", and "Gyrotorque" (Dodge), all euphemisms for a lousy excuse for not catching up with GM's Hydramatic (which Chrysler finally did with a vengeance with their 1953 Powerflite transmission, which could handle the full output of the big hemi engines).  Admittedly, there were, and are, better way to shift an automobile!

Now, I've added crude sketches trying to help explain all this; first the Fluid Drive coupling and next the column-mounted shift pattern:

Gýrol Fluid Drive M4/M6 Column Shift Pattern
(29 Jul 2005 sketches by and © 2005 S. Berliner, III - all rights reserved)

The coupling sketch is greatly oversimplified but, basically, a toroidal (doughnut-shaped) steel can, split vertically, was inserted in a fluid-tight housing between the flywheel and the transmission.  The two halves had vanes in them, somewhat like a turbine wheel, and the engine side (labelled "STATOR" was bolted to the flywheel.  The transmission side (labelled "ROTOR") had the output shaft fixed to it.  When the engine was running, the stator vanes threw fluid against the rotor vanes, causing the rotor to move (eventually), turning the output shaft, which then powered the transmission.

Here's the shift pattern illustration from my old 1949 C-46 Owner's Manual:

M6 Column Shift Pattern
(1949 Chrysler sketch scanned by and © 2007 S. Berliner, III - all rights reserved)
[Thumbnailed image - click on picture for larger image]

Downshifting in a range was accomplished simply by flooring the pedal to engage the "Kickdown Switch"; in low range this could have somewhat dramatic results!  One of those was the occasion of my first automobile accident; I broadsided a perfectly innocent driver as he crossed directly in front of me as I was slowly edging out of a parking lot.  I anticipated the slow lurch forward in high range and accelerated before the guy passing across in front was fully past; the kicker (quite literally) was that I was in low range (1st), not high range (3rd) and my mom's 1952 Imperial hemi (not her 1948 New Yorker straight 8, as previously reported - no wonder I overdid it) flew forward into the poor guy's door!

If you were a teen-age hotshot driver (now to whom could I be referring?), you could also force the shifts to get full 4-speed performance; you did the usual low range start and, as you manually shifted to high range, you floored the pedal at the same time, engaging the kickdown switch and thus arrived in 3rd gear instead of 4th.  Done correctly, this gave rather brisk performance, but it was a wee bit of a strain on the tranny!  No, I don't do it now on my current '49!  The last attempt at this was on my dad's '50 New Yorker as I drove it to the dealer with a fairly sick tranny (not through any doing of mine!) for trade-in on his new '52 Imperial; it sure worked, but it sure didn't sound very good!.  Even today, though, there is a nostalgic satisfaction to a good M6 start and that soft, heavy "CLUNK"; sort of like the bank-vault sound when closing that huge coupé door.

* - I do recall, however, that one of my Dad's '41s, either the Royal or the Saratoga, did NOT have a higher gear in low range (perhaps it was merely locked out).

Now, here's one of the wildest old Chryslers ever, a 1930 Model 77 PICK-UP truck!  It's for real; the only thing wilder is the story behind it.     (30 Aug 06)

30Mod77Pick-Up-1 30Mod77Pick-Up-2 30Mod77Pick-Up-6
(04 Aug 06 photos courtesy of E. G. Dubill, Sr. - all rights reserved)
[Thumbnailed images - click on pictures for larger images]

This truck has the standard vertical-louvered hood side panels of a 1929 or 1930 (it is a 1930 but was built in 1929); the 1930 Chrysler Models "70" and "77" also could have optional diagonal trios of winged louvres:

1930 77 Rdstr Troy NY 1954
(cropped from 1954 photo by and © 1954, 2006 S. Berliner, III - all rights reserved)

[This matter of the louvres is disputed - I will report back.]

[Not so, according to Tim Wolfe; he writes that the "wings were used on early production cars for approx. six months, then switched to the vertical vents for better cooling" (he has two of the early production cars).  "About the same time they changed the hood vents, they went from a 218.6 engine to a 268 cu in engine and moved the parking lights from the windshield post to a lower position on the cowl".  Thanks, Tim!] (19 Feb 08)

The owner, E. G. Dubill, Sr., writes that he purchased it in 1970 in Ethiopia while stationed with the US Army.  He had it shipped back at the end of his tour and has had ever since.  He lives in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, and sent these pictures taken 04 Aug 2006.  The vehicle had a frame off restoration in 1990-91 and is now available for sale.  This is not just a rare vehicle; it is a true one-off (one of a kind)!  It had been shipped in 1929 by Walter P. Chrysler himself to an Edward Drier in Germany due their friendship and Drier's liking of the "77" Model.  Dreier owned a brewery in Germany and wanted to have a one of kind "American" truck to use a promotional tool for his business.  The truck was shipped in 1939 from Germany to Bologna, Italy due to the impending war and, since Drier had married an Italian woman, he moved in with her family.  As war came to the Italian mainland and as Drier's wife's family owned a cotton plantation in Ethiopia, they fled there with their belongings and the truck.  Dubill's staff sergeant bought the truck from Drier's wife's sister in 1968.  It had sat in a Quonset hut from 1942 until 1968.  The sergeant did some cosmetics, but it was basically all original and in great condition due to the arid mountain region (it was at 14,000 feet also).  The sergeant drove on base for a year as Dubill's daily driver in Ethiopia; then, after three months of waiting for it to get here by ship after his discharge, Dubill drove it from Bayonne, New Jersey, to Wilkes-Barre at the assumed model speed of 77 MPH!

Further, the license plate on the front is the original Eritrean plate that was issued for the truck when it was sent to Ethiopia in the '40s (Eritrea was a province of Ethiopia then, but today is a separate country).  Dubill's driver used to run the truck down from their base of operations for the Army Security Agency at 14,000 feet to sea level at the port town of Massawa on the Red Sea; the truck made the commute with no problem, once a week, without any adjustment to the carburetor and that was in 1971 - he's had the truck for these 36 years.

I had assumed that this was a Dodge, Plymouth, or Fargo (or some such) pick-up body grafted on to a 1929 Chrysler 77 coupé chassis and body but Ed Dubill notes that Chrysler Archives advised that this would not have been a Fargo nor a Dodge truck bed, but that Chrysler dealt with three companies for custom boxes.  One of these was probably the Budd Company in Philadelphia (which is the port from which the truck was sent to Germany in 1930.  Does anyone out there have any more information on this exceedingly-rare and most-unusual truck?

If you think the '30 Chrysler 77 truck (above) is wild, I received a letter in mid-Jan 2008 from a gentleman in Idaho who has another one!!!  Really!  He writes that it was repainted in 1960 and is titled as a 1929:

29Mod77Pick-Up-1 29Mod77Pick-Up-2 29Mod77Pick-Up-3 29Mod77Pick-Up-4
(04 Aug 06 photos courtesy of owner - all rights reserved)
[Thumbnailed images - click on pictures for larger images]

The only differences that are readily apparent are the right-side fender-mounted spare and the beds; the red truck has a high bed that extends the width of the body and has a vertical front panel, while the tan truck has a low bed which is narrower than the body and tucks under the rear of the cab.

Again, does anyone out there have any more information on either of these exceedingly-rare and most-unusual trucks?

Plymouth Truck - NOT!   new (15 Aug 2012)

WOW!  Cruising along in Arlington, Massachusetts, very near home, the last week of Jul 2012, I spotted a 1940 Plymouth truck for sale and sort of kept meaning to take a few photos of it, especially so when I noticed that it was a four-wheel drive jobbie.  Plymouth only being an ancillary interest, I kept putting it off but finally stopped on Sunday, 12 Aug 2012 and popped some cell phone shots:

40PlyFordPU1 40PlyFordPU3
(19 Aug 2012 photos by and © 2012 S. Berliner, III - all rights reserved}

I thought it might have been a special for the Army when built or have been grafted onto a 4x4 chassis later, which had piqued my interest.  But wait a cotton-pickin', dog-bone minute here.  That's no Plymouth grille! Sure looks like a Ford, doesnt it?  Sure enough:

40PlymPU 40FordPU
'40 Plymouth (left) and '40 Ford (right) pickups (from 'Net).

If I'd paid any attention to the tailgate, I'd have seen it is stamped "Ford":

40PlyFordPU2 40PlyFordPU4
Pickup rear and enlargement of tailgate.
(19 Aug 2012 photos by and © 2012 S. Berliner, III - all rights reserved}

Even the headlights are a dead giveaway!  Oh, well; so much for my 4WD '40 "Plymouth" pickup; it's just a Ford with the Pilgrim ship hood emblem grafted on!

Speaking of unusual and seeking info (above), here's a seemingly-innocuous photo of a 1940 Chrysler that adorned my 2008 birthday card from my sister (see the '41 Royal photo with her as a little girl on the preceding page); she recognized the car instantly after all these years (that's MY sister!):


Only one little problem (other than that she mistook a '40 for our almost-identical '41); look at those fenders!  Those are NOT Chrysler fenders, which were smooth as glass.  Those double creases are clear '40 DeSoto (or even Plymouth) styling details!  Also, the hood side vent is definitely from a '40 Plymouth.  Now, look again, and I've extracted, enlarged, and doctored a detail, however blurred, here; is that an external hood release handle just forward of the hood side vent?


So, what have we here?  My guess is that it's a Canadian Chrysler.  In those days, Chrysler palmed off less-expensive Plymouths, Dodges, or DeSotos as Chryslers in Canada, decking them out with Chrysler trim.  Of course, Ford did the same with Montclair (Mercury) trim on Ford bodies and GM did it with Pontiac trim on Chevvies.

Again, does anyone out there have authoritative information on this "unusual" (to American eyes) Chrysler?

Yup; I do!  Here's a crop of a photo of a 1940 Plymouth at the Chrysler pavillion at the '39-'40 World's Fair in New York City (left), with the other photo next to it (right) (19 Mar 2014):

40PlymouthWF 40Chrysler
1940 Plymouth | 1940 "Chrysler"

Clearly they are the same basic car except for the '40 Chrysler grille* on the "Chrysler"; even the mini-grille on the bullnose is the same.

* - Uh, oh!  1940 Chryslers had nine grille bars; this one has eight!  Plymouths had eight bars but they had painted body metal bars beween them.  Hmm.

Worserer and worserer!  Let's look again; here are that 1940 Plymouth grille again, a 1940 Chrylser grille, the grille of the car in question, and a 1941 Chrysler (mine) grille:   added (19 Sep 2016)

1940 Plymouth | 1940 "Chrysler"

The outer side of the '40 Plymouth grille is slightly contoured to match the fender line, the side of the '40 Chrysler grille is vertical, the purported Canadian car has the lower bars extending part way under the headlight in a staggered array, and the '41 Chrysler's three lower bars extend equally to the headlight centerline!  So, once again, what have we here?  Could it be a 1941 Canadian Chrysler?  HELP (please)!

Unrelated but of possible interest - the Canadian car has a running board; in the States, at least, they were standard on '39s, optional on '40s, and special order only on '41s (no clue on '42s and not available thereafter).  A chrome trim bar covered the empty space.

- - - * - - -

Still treating of the odd and unusual, John Hinkley, himself quite a Chrysler personage (a retired senior Chrysler executive who spent his last six years as the Viper Plant Manager before retiring in 2001), is the grandson of Kenneth Crittenden, "a founder and Chief Engineer of the K-R-I-T Motor Car Company in Detroit (1909-1915); after the company folded and the facilities were sold to Owen Magnetic and Packard, he went to work for Henry Ford for several years, then was hired by Walter P. Chrysler, and spent the next 40 years with Chrysler, retiring in the mid-60's as Vice President - Manufacturing."  Would anyone else with info. on the K-R-I-T please contact me? (04 Aug 2008).

Since writing the above, I created a KRIT page, with many pix, q.v..   added (19 Mar 2014)

(The original Chrysler page, et seq., grew completely out of hand and this had to be added;
please have a look at it, the Chrysler Continuation Page 1, the Chrysler Continuation Page 2,
the Chrysler Continuation Page 3
the Chrysler Continuation Page 4, and
the Chrysler Continuation Page 5!), etc.

Cyclops fans; see Cyclops on my Automotive page!


  What happens to all this when I DIE or (heaven forfend!) lose interest?  See LEGACY.


See Copyright Notice on primary home page.

Please visit the main Automotive Page, et seq.

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