- For the Transformers character, see Powerglide (Transformers).
is a two speed automatic transmission designed by General Motors. It was available primarily on Chevrolet automobiles from 1950 through the early 1970s, although a few Pontiac models in the 1950s also used this automatic transmission.
When introduced on upper-level Chevrolet models in 1950, the Powerglide represented the first automatic transmission offered in a low-priced automobile; in contrast, Ford didn't offer their automatic transmission until 1951, while Plymouth car buyers had to wait until 1954. The transmission was simple and very durable, which made for many satisfied customers. By the mid-1950s, more than half of all new Chevrolets were sold with Powerglide. In 1962, GM started building Powerglides in aluminum and discontinued the cast Iron Glides a few years later.
Powerglide continued to serve as Chevrolet's main automatic transmission through the 1960s, when a new three-speed automatic transmission called Turbo-hydramatic (1965 introduction) began to be phased in (the Turbo-Hydramatics were introduced in Cadillacs a year before).
Usually, Powerglides were coupled behind small-block Chevrolet V8s and their third-generation inline sixes - a light-duty version of the Hydramatic 400, the Turbo-Hydramatic 350, was introduced in 1968, initially spreading to other Chevrolets for the 1969 model year. This was deemed the beginning of the end to the venerable two-speed Powerglide.
More and more buyers preferred the modern, more flexible Turbo-hydramatic, and by 1973, General Motors discontinued the Powerglide transmission (the last use was in the Chevrolet Vega).
Although it is a very old design Powerglide still has a strong following in drag racing due to its strength and simplicity. Powerglides are also popular in mud racing and monster truck racing.