Surprises keep us on our toes. Without a surprise once in a while, life could be fairly boring. While some can be deemed bad, others will not only make our heart skip a beat, but continue to do so every time we re-experience it.
A Welcome Surprise
One evening, while walking into a restaurant to meet with his family, and to celebrate his birthday, Steve Mehmert’s heart skipped a beat as he walked past what was his dream car in the parking lot.He hadn’t yet realized the surprise, and as he sat down at the table, Steve asked his wife, “Did you see the 1968 Chevelle outside?” All through dinner, he couldn’t get the car out of his mind, describing the details and gushing over it. After dinner, the family headed outside and much to his surprise, the car was still there.
Steve's gorgeous Chevelle only needed some minor adjustments.
“You should check it out and get a closer look,” his wife encouraged. Steve was unsure, as he was positive the owner had a seat by the window so he could watch over the car while he ate. He also didn’t want to be caught drooling over another guy’s dream car. It was at this time his wife smiled, pulled the keys out of her pocket, and said, “I don’t think the owner will mind.” Enter a skipped heartbeat.
Points Of Improvement
As gorgeous as the car was, Steve felt that there were a few drivability issues that he could address. “With the four-speed in the car, it was a true grocery getter. The car was fun around town, but get it out on the highway, and the enjoyment waned,” Steve said. That meant a new overdrive transmission was on the list of necessary improvements. He decided to install a manual six-speed, because of the double overdrive, ideal gearing, and excellent reputation as a quality transmission.
However, after the transmission was installed in the Chevelle, he was soon unsatisfied with a few aspects of the upgrade. First, the replacement carpet wouldn’t lie correctly because of the tunnel alterations. Second, he wished the transmission’s shifter was a little more positive and firm. According to Steve, “if the issues couldn’t be fixed, I was planning to reinstall the four-speed.”
This graph shows the percentage of change between the stock and the SST shifter.
Weighing The Options
Steve called Silver Sport Transmissions (SST) to find out what the options were. Jack Silver, CEO of SST, holds his company to a very-high standard of customer service. When Steve called, Jack was so touched by his story that he asked Steve to send the car to SST’s shop and provide the opportunity for them to make it right. The car would need to have the shifter changed out, factory crossmember replaced, and have one of SST’s authorized installation centers replace the tunnel.
“We’re in the business of helping people get the most out of their cars without a headache,” Jack said. “If a customer calls and needs help, they get it.”
SST has developed several PerfectFit Kits for Tremec’s Magnum six-speed over the last year, including one for GM A-bodies. The kit uses a custom, three-piece crossmember that will work on Chevrolet, Buick, Oldsmobile, and Pontiac models. It also includes a newly-designed PerfectFit Shifter Mechanism that greatly improves the shifter performance of the Magnum, and places the shifter handle at the correct location in the tunnel.
The guys at Precision Rod and Custom removed the old aftermarket tunnel, and replaced it with a new one that actually looks right at home in the Chevelle.
SST first replaced the shifter mechanism on his transmission. SST’s PerfectFit Shifter improves the static and decent loads on the stock Magnum, giving the shifter a more positive feel as compared to stock. It also reduces the free play found in the shifter by up to 92 percent. Finally, shifter throw from first to second, and fifth to sixth gears is reduced by 52 percent, and from third to fourth gear by 37 percent. The shifter’s improved feel and shorter throw make it well worth the upgrade. Additionally, the new shifter has a lower profile.
The shifter is an incredible improvement, and everything inside the car looks exactly as it should. – Steve Mehmert
With the shifter upgrade in place, the car was then sent to Precision Rod and Customs in Sevierville, Tennessee. The guys at PR&C needed to install a couple new components to further improve the transmission upgrade, like the new three-piece crossmember, carpet, and improve tunnel fitment. Chris Nash handled the installation of the crossmember, which holds the transmission at the proper height, retains a proper driveline angle, and is simple to remove and replace. He then removed the aftermarket tunnel that was in the car, and fabricated a new one that now closely resembles the factory, non-console-equipped four-speed hump. With the work completed, the one-piece molded carpet fits exactly as it should, and looks as good as the day it was installed at the factory.
The hand-assembled SST shifter is a terrific upgrade to the Magnum transmission.
The improvements were immediately noticed by Steve. “The car performs fantastic. The shifter is an incredible improvement, and everything inside the car looks exactly as it should,” he said. “When my next project car gets underway the first call will be to Silver Sport Transmission. They have exceeded all of my expectations.”
There’s not much that’s nicer than a stock-appearing upgrade.
Jack couldn’t be prouder of the end result. “Silver Sport Transmissions treats its customers the way we want our suppliers to treat us,” he said. We design solutions to improve the performance, quality, and fit of the products we offer, and find installation centers that match our attention to detail unlimited tech support to our customers who install our products themselves.”
If you’re interested in learning more about SST’s Tremec Magnum six-speed PerfectFit Kit for your GM A-body, or if you’d like to know what SST has to offer for your application, call at (888) 609-0092. If you’re more of an online shopper visit the SST website to get answers to questions, or to find an authorized installer for SST products.