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Old 05-10-2005, 02:35 AM
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Rich Lackey
 

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Glide or Hydra?

I have been trying to decide on a transmission to back my 327 small block, and I would like to keep my whole driveline as 50's/60's period correct as possible.

I have posted on this before, but still haven't really arrived at any conclusions.

The 327 is a early small journal block with double hump 64cc heads and a Offy/Holley 6x2. I was planning on keeping the original cast iron powerglide, closed driveline and rear axle that came with the car (a '54 Chevy Bel Air).

The guy I'm buying the engine from suggested I swap the rear end for a '52 - '57 Olds or Pontiac rear axle and put in a 4 speed Hydramatic, he said that would be about as period correct a swap as I was going to find.

I want your opinions, do I keep the cast iron Powerglide, closed driveline and original rear exle, or swap in a 4 speed Hydramatic and Olds rear end. I have found a suitable Hydramatic from a '56 Olds, but am still looking for a rear axle.

What do ya think?

Also, what would be a period correct manual transmission swap, and what donor would it likely come out of?

Rich

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Old 05-10-2005, 05:54 AM
Will I ever get it done?
 

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It sounds as though you are trying to duplicate an early 60's drag car. If so, use a 57-64 Olds or Pontiac rear end. There are two different cases. One has two ribs and the other has three. Look for the three rib unit. The Olds/Pontiac rear was a mainstay in drag racing during the late 50's and early 60's.

The 4 speed Hydro was the choice of drag racers. I do see one problem. It did not have a torque converter. It had a fluid coupling. So, a relatively small cubic inch engine will probably feel a little sluggish off the line. Where it really showed its stuff was behind blown engines of approx. 400 cubic inches. Even a dual four 409 would be a good candidate. A Muncie 4 speed manual would be a good choice if you don't mind rowing around town.
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Old 05-10-2005, 06:33 AM
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Hmm, decisions decisions... this isn't the easiest thing for me to figure out. I am building the 327 to be good for about 400 horses, which wouldn't come close to a blown 409. How sluggish is sluggish?

I was thinking the glide would be sluggish just because of it's long ratios. I've never driven a powerglide equipped car, and I don't know much about them, but the idea of moving something as heavy as a '54 Chevy with a box that only has two ratios makes me think 1st isn't going to have much to offer.

However, I am in South Africa, and if I use anything else but the stock cast iron glide I will have to import whatever I decide to use from the U.S. plus the rear axle. I am importing the engine anyway, so I am not yet sure what it's going to cost me extra to ship a bigger crate.

I have been told nobody makes a stall converter for a cast iron powerglide, in which case that kind of decides that right there, plus that stock rear end and closed driveline is kind of a pain too.

When did the aluminum powerglide come onto the scene?

So if I understand correctly,

1. The Hydramatic is "period correct" but will be sluggish behind a small cube motor.
2. The cast iron powerglide will cope, but I can't get a converter for it (and I'm stuck with a closed driveline and the stock rear).
3. A later aluminum powerglide is probably not period correct at all but at least I can get a converter for it.
4. If I want to go for a manual shift and be "period correct", the Muncie is the one to go for?

If these are my only options then I think the Muncie would be the only logical choice, with the '57 - '64 Olds or Pontiac rear.

I'm not done hearing people out yet though, please keep the opinions and info coming! What do ya'll think?

Rich
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Old 05-10-2005, 06:14 PM
Will I ever get it done?
 

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I can't remember exactly when the alum. glide came out. I think it was 60 or 62. But you are going to want a 67 or later model anyway. So you won't be period correct, although most people won't know the difference between a 60 and a 67. But, in the early sixties, the glide wasn't considered a racing transmission like it has become. You really don't want the cast glide or the closed driveline.

400 hp may be OK with the Hydro. The big thing will be how much torque the 327 will create. There is no torque multiplication with the fluid coupling. That is why the Chevy trucks with the hydro had what was basically a "grannie gear" low in them. The Olds and Caddies had longer stroke engines which had decent torque and used a higher first gear. Since you are small journal, you are kinda limited on a longer stroke.

At one point in time, I had a Chevy Hydro with Caddie gears in it. I was going to put it behind an 09. Never got it built. One thing I was going to look into was to see if it could be converted to a torque converter. I am sure that with enough money it probably could, but the more modern stuff is just easier.

One final point. Do you have a Chevy Hydro bellhousing or an adapter plate? You may want to consider a Buick 401 Nailhead or a Olds Rocket. Both of those would be period correct.
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Old 05-10-2005, 06:23 PM
Will I ever get it done?
 

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Oh. Forgot about the 4 speed manual. The 57 vettes came with a Borg Warner T-10. I think the Muncie came out in 63. If you want this to be a late 50s period car, you will probably want the T10. If early 60's either would be correct.
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