Not too many folks under fifty have memories of automatic transmissions with pushbutton controls in lieu of a shift lever. The pushbuttons became somewhat of a fad in the mid to late 1950s, and were offered by virtually every automaker other than GM. Chrysler was the most stubborn adherent, using pushbuttons almost exclusively through the 1964 model year.
Now, we learn that Lincoln is whispering about future vehicles with several advanced features, including – wait for it – pushbutton transmissions. Admittedly, the Lincoln version promises to be quite a bit more advanced than the simple mechanical Chrysler unit or the more trouble-prone electro-mechanical units of other manufacturers.
I, for one, have owned a couple of pushbutton cars. After a little learning curve (mainly involving which hand to use in shifting gears) I came to like them. I can see Lincoln’s point here. In today’s world, is there really a need for that big, clunky lever and its linkages in order to send a signal to an electronic controller? I just hope that the buttons control a tranny with a cool name. Maybe Lincoln could resurrect the LiquiMatic name from its ill-fated 1942 semi-automatic.
So what about you? Could you see yourself driving a modern car with a pushbutton transmission?