Tip: Drive train

Whether you opt to upgrade to a late-model engine or not, you may still want to consider giving your existing powerplant a drivetrain makeover. Currently, the most popular trend for vintage rides is a swap to an overdrive transmission. This includes automatics or manuals, and in many cases, isn’t too tough. Chevy fans have the venerable 700-R4, which is pretty much a bolt-in deal, though driveshaft mods will usually be required. There’s also the 200-4R, which maintains the same overall dimensions as the super-common Turbo 350 and Powerglide and can also be fitted to Buick/Olds/Pontiac bellhousings. Ford guys have the AOD, but that will only mate to small-block bellhousings. Even Mopars can be fitted with automatic overdrives by using the A500 or A518, which are overdrive versions of the old TorqueFlite 904 and 727 ‘boxes, though again, adapters are required for big-blocks.

For manual boxes, the choices are more diverse. Ford and GM products were fitted with overdrive five-speeds at the factory, usually incorporating a Borg-Warner T5 gearbox. Though that trans isn’t known for its durability in severe duty, the Tremec five-speed is, and it’s offered in swap kits for Ford, GM, and Mopar. Richmond Gear offers a five-speed box that easily replaces many four-speeds (though Fifth gear is 1:1) and also offers an overdrive six-speed. Overdrive six-speeds have also been offered by some OE manufacturers for nearly 10 years now, mostly from GM.

But maybe all you really need is a rearend swap. Those 4.56:1 gears may have seemed cool back in the day, but now they’re just aggravating. Swapping to a set of 3.42s or even 3.08s might suit your needs better, and you’d be amazed at the difference in road manners on the highway.

Read more: http://www.carcraft.com/howto/ccrp_0302_10_muscle_car_tips/viewall.html#ixzz2jhMUHDjW

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