SEMA 2012: Gear Vendors Under/Over-drive Goes Old School

Sporting a Gear Vendor unit, this 6-second, Drag Week car proved it can take the abuse of a 1,500-mile road trip. And yes, this car is street legal!

In years past, rodders got their muscle cars to scoot on the freeway by upgrading from their current Turbo 350 or 400 (three-speed) to a more modern electronic overdrive transmission, such as the 700-R4 or by installing a higher rearend gear ratio.

Let’s face it, we build our cars to be driven everywhere. Blasting freeway on-ramp entrances should continue all the way into the fast lane.

Our car’s driveablitly should in no way be limited by our transmission, the very component of the vehicle which harnesses the engine’s torque allowing us to move about. The only way to get more operating range from the engine is via a closer gear spread.

Aside from adding an all-new transmission or fussing with the innards of it, installing a Gear Vendors under/over-drive unit to your already existing transmission can get the job done.

Its key is the ability to split each gear with its own overdriven gear, essentially turning your three- or four-speed into a six- or eight-speed automatic. It won’t matter if it’s mated to a manual or automatic either and it doesn’t care if you are a drag racer, autocrosser, or weekend hauler. Plus the unit can handle up to 2,000 hp.

We got pulled Rick Johnson aside and asked him what was new for this year. He went on to explain that even though their new 3-speed (manual) units were only being built as a limited run, it was necessary to fill the void in the market.

If you weren’t aware, many older trucks came with a column-shifted 3-speed manual transmission. The Gear Vendors fix would allow an owner to utilize their pre-existing transmission and add three additional gears to the mix. Not only does this eliminate the need for a transmission swap but makes the additions of the Gear Vendors unit a mere bolt-in job.

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About the author

Sean Haggai

The former Associate Editor of Chevy High Performance, joins publication Chevy Hardcore, Sean is a true blue Bow Tie guy and a core do-it-yourself technician. If it doesn't run a "mouse motor" or a big rat between fenders, Sean ain't interested.
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