Friday, June 15, 2007

Can you say, Big Toolman grunt? Oh Ohh Ohhhh!

When I originally started planning the build for this race I was considering utilizing a late model Tremec 5 speed transmission and since the rules specifically say we can only use a four speed transmission I was simply going to remove the fifth gear. But after talking it over with Gerie Bledso, the LCP North American director I decided to nix that thought.

It was then that I decided to drag out one of the transmissions I had been saving for a special occasion. While this specific transmission is a Ford Toploader, it's not just any old toploader. This transmission is an original NASCAR, close-ratio toploader used in the original GT350 R model Shelbys.

The Ford Toploader Transmission was introduced in 1964 to replace the Borg Warner T-10. This is the super-tough transmission built by Ford Engineers to stand-up to just about anything demanded from it. The toploader was used in production from 1964 to 1973 in almost every model Ford car.

I knew this transmission to be a good one but not leaving anything to chance I decided to open it up to have a look. Everything looked great but since everything else on the car is perfect I asked myself why take any chances? It was then that I called my old friend Dan Williams, the world's leading guru of the toploaders. Dan is the guy who builds and sells all the toploader parts to the exact NASCAR guys you watch each weekend on TV. I figure if the likes of Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. can't break them even in a Chevy then I sure as heck don't need anything better. After a nice talk Dan set me up with a road race version of his master rebuild kit which also includes a set of special road race bronze rings, the finest ever produced and they will be here next week.

Dan is also sending along a nice little present to compliment the transmission. Now it's beginning to sound like I am trying to decide which wine goes well with lobster doesn't it? Along with the other goodies Dan is sending is a HURST Competition Plus "road race" shifter but once again, not just any shifter. This is the exact shifter with reverse lockout used on all of today's leading race-cars including NASCAR.

After the engine is installed the transmission will be matted with the LAKEWOOD SCATTERSHIELD for some added protection to protect us of any flywheel/clutch issues ands also a common safety item found on the GT350 R models.

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