There are lots of choices out there when it comes time to select your transmission supplier. Keisler Automotive Engineering clearly stands at the top by supplying a complete kit for each transmission conversion. Keisler transmission kits offer a choice of two five- or six-speed trannys suited to the engine's output. Keisler also includes all of the components needed to install and support the transmission and transmit the power to the rearend. For the Hotchkis Performance Camaro, we chose its T-56 with the 0.80 and 0.62:1 Fifth and Sixth gear, particularly since it has the 2.97 Low gear that will complement the 3.73:1 rear axle setup.
Note: A good rule of thumb for a street-driven car with a moderate engine is to multiply the First gear ratio by the rearend ratio; for a quick launch on the street the result should be in the 10-11 range. (In our setup it equates to: 2.97 X 3.73 = 11.07.) That means shove-you-into-the-seat acceleration, dudes and dudettes, and out on the highway you get the fuel-saving equivalent of a 2.31 rear gear. Depending on tire diameter, the motor will be turning less than 2,000 rpm at legal highway speeds. (Check out the unique Keisler Speed Analyzer for your tire and transmission selection results.)
We elected Larry Pollard to inspect our stock 10-bolt rearend. Wear wasn't excessive, but the open 2.71 gear just did not get the juices flowing. Larry's built rearends for NASCAR and short-track racers in the central North Carolina region, and since he is a competitive short-track racer himself, he knows how to make one that will provide years of dependable service in a street car. He wanted to rebuild the stock case with the 8.2-inch 3.73:1 ring-and-pinion and tie them to an Eaton posi unit.
Hang with us through the photos and captions and you will soon be rowing the Hurst shifter in that T-56 with ease. It really is as smooth as silk!