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Slowly Turning: Could Overdrive Have Made the ’70s More Palatable?

Posted November 30, 2017 9:00 AM by dstrohl

Installing overdrive transmissions into older cars is in vogue right now. And why not? After two decades on our nation’s highways, they’re hardly exotic technology anymore; boneyards are littered with overdrive transmissions ripe for rebuilding. The development of engines and transmissions on separate timetables means that there are cross-generational applications with few headaches; my old daily-driven 351 Cleveland/Ford AOD combo in my old Montego bore this out.

For all-out quarter-mile racing applications they’re probably a little more delicate and a little more expensive to fiddle with, but for those of us who prefer driving on public roads, Overdrive presents multiple advantages. With Overdrive, a shorter (numerically higher) rear-axle gear for more hair-raising acceleration is now a possibility without sacrificing highway drivability or revving your engine to the stratosphere; a 4.00 rear gear and a 2.87 First means you’ll get pressed back in your seat when you tickle the throttle, while a .67 overdrive gear means an effective 3.0 rear on the highway—plenty tepid at cruise, good for about 2,200 rpm in my combination.

There are so many advantages to overdrive, that it makes classic car ownership just that much easier.

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#1

Re: Slowly Turning: Could Overdrive Have Made the ’70s More Palatable?

11/30/2017 11:21 PM

Why? Why not go direct to electric? Overdrive is so '70s!

Electric can make your classic timeless!

EVWest, and many others, can help.

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#2
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Re: Slowly Turning: Could Overdrive Have Made the ’70s More Palatable?

11/30/2017 11:37 PM

Har. Electric OD is so '60's. My 1960 Healey 3000 Mk1 had electric OD.

Hooker

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Re: Slowly Turning: Could Overdrive Have Made the ’70s More Palatable?

11/30/2017 11:40 PM

Yes, Laycock de Normanville. I know.

That's not what I was talking about.

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Re: Slowly Turning: Could Overdrive Have Made the ’70s More Palatable?

11/30/2017 11:44 PM

Sorry, didn't mean to step on you. The "70's" thing got to me.

Hooker

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Re: Slowly Turning: Could Overdrive Have Made the ’70s More Palatable?

12/01/2017 1:04 AM

No worries mate.

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Re: Slowly Turning: Could Overdrive Have Made the ’70s More Palatable?

12/01/2017 8:38 AM

I remember Ford had it back in the late 50's/early 60' somewhere.

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Re: Slowly Turning: Could Overdrive Have Made the ’70s More Palatable?

12/01/2017 11:08 AM

I thought they started using 4 & 5 speed trannies, so ODs wouldn't be needed. Aren't ODs only on 3 speeds? I'd definitely want one on a 3 speed.

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Re: Slowly Turning: Could Overdrive Have Made the ’70s More Palatable?

12/01/2017 1:09 PM

Didn't the Hot Rod Lincoln have an overdrive?

. . . that's all there is an' there ain't no more.

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Re: Slowly Turning: Could Overdrive Have Made the ’70s More Palatable?

12/04/2017 9:13 AM

Studebaker beat everyone to it....

Both Overdrive and Electric.

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Re: Slowly Turning: Could Overdrive Have Made the ’70s More Palatable?

12/04/2017 12:27 PM

That's interesting. I was into Studebakers. My first car was a 1950 Studebaker Starlight coupe. I later got several of them. My brother had a 1965 Rambler classic station wagon with Over-drive. As it turned out, both cars' trannies were made by Borg Warner. He took the synchros & first gear out of a Rambler to fix the Studebaker. Those were the days.

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Re: Slowly Turning: Could Overdrive Have Made the ’70s More Palatable?

12/05/2017 9:53 AM

My 1964 Studebaker Cruiser had an Overdrive added to the end of the standard transmission. It was cable operated by a "T" knob under the dash.

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Re: Slowly Turning: Could Overdrive Have Made the ’70s More Palatable?

12/15/2017 5:52 PM

Stude's used the T-83 and T-86, both with electric overdrive. Merc used a T-86 with electric overdrive. It was shaped different so it would not go in a Stude, but the guts were the same. All of them had a problem with bending the synchro plates, so we made our own out of solid bar stock and never had a problem with them. Studebaker had so many good features it is too bad they never updated their production to keep up with the times. IMHO that destroyed them. Modern cars talk about 'new' features like anti-creep. Studebaker had it in 1949. someone was advertising "Hill Holder" - Stude had that in 1947. -- JHF

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Brave Sir Robin (1); Circuit Breaker (1); corbinstein (1); Dennis R. Levesque (2); Hooker (2); lrsheldon (1); rashavarek (1); Stuart21 (3)

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