Discover which car was first to be outfitted with an automatic transmission.
©Jupiter Images, 2009 The automatic transmission was first offered in the 1940 car season.
The first of the modern generation of automatic transmissions was General Motors' Hydramatic, first offered as an option on the Oldsmobile during the 1940 season. Between 1934 and 1936, a handful of 18 horsepower Austins were fitted with the American-designed Hayes infinitely variable gear. The direct ancestor of the modern automatic gearbox was patented in 1898.
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