Look ma' its an All Terrain Vehicle!
Well, lots of "roads" in those days (early 1940s) were rather "off!" As in, corduroy, mud; even unbridged stream crossings, IIRC.
The safety wheel rims of the 1942 Dodge represent a significant advancement, but . . . the star of the show was, FLUID DRIVE!
A precursor of today's automatic transmissions, fluid drive connected the crankshaft to the drivetrain through a fluid coupling (no mechanical connection, ever). A manually-operated transmission and a conventional foot pedal-actuated clutch complemented the arrangement.
Looks like automatic transmissions may be here to stay. NO MANUAL TRANSMISSIONS AVAILABLE on Corvettes, ever again!
Wonder why automatic transmissions (at least, auto-clutches) remain essentially absent in modern motorcycle design and production? (Yeah, I know about aftermarket Rekluse clutches.)