Confident, solid shifts are a necessity, especially when you've got supernatural plans for a project vehicle. After the straight-six and two-speed 'glide was pulled and the budget-friendly small-block with the Turbo 350 had landed inside, the column shifter had to go. Making the situation worse, we couldn't even testdrive the Nova because the shift linkage wasn't compatible. We needed a new configuration, something simple yet effective to help get the Nova back on its feet. A ratchet-style shifter was a given, and our goal was to have the ability to more or less slam through the gear changes. We knew that the Turbo 350 already had a shift-kit, and we were going to take full advantage of it.
You'll find that the StreetFighter system is extremely easy on the wallet and its features well worth the price. Those of you who hit up the weekly grudge nights will appreciate the NHRA/IHRA-approved reverse lockout system, while those who are more street-savvy will dig the lighted OEM-style gearshift indicator. Best of all, the shifter cover can be custom-fitted to a variety of transmission tunnels for a whole host of applications.
The installation proved straightforward. Depending on your skill level, it may take the better part of your weekend to get the job done; even so, we guarantee it will be well worth the effort. Follow along as we show you how to swap out the factory column shifter for a floor-mounted ratchet system.
What We Did
Cut holes, routed cable, and converted from a column to a commanding ratchetshift system.
Our once column-shifting two-speed is now a floor-mounted menace.
Before any drilling or cutting...
Before any drilling or cutting could begin, we had to take measurements with the shroud on. Placing the shifter in the center of the transmission hump, we jumped in the driver seat to get a feel for where it felt the most comfortable.
With the shroud off, we gained...
With the shroud off, we gained access to the shifter brackets and used a felt-tip pen to mark where we needed to drill after we had cut to remove the factory mating.
Before drilling any holes,...
Before drilling any holes, be sure to check underneath the trans tunnel for hidden wires and clearance issues. Using a 9/32-inch drill bit, we drilled four holes that will bolt the shifter kit to the floorboard.
After mocking up the shifter...
After mocking up the shifter in the bolt holes, we measured the distance for our shifter cable. The shifter cable needs to be 3 1/2 inches from the center of the farthest bolt-we marked there.
Using a 1/2-inch drill bit,...
Using a 1/2-inch drill bit, we drilled a hole for the shifter cable. Since the cable will be at an almost horizontal angle, we also drilled similarly. It's important to measure correctly because the cable needs to be void of any extreme angles or kinks. Once the hole was drilled, we softened the edges with a file.
With the holes drilled, we...
With the holes drilled, we took the shifter out of the car and begin assembling the rest of its components. We installed the safety switch, which only allows the car to start in Park or Neutral, followed by the reverse switch to engage the reverse lights.