Some ‘Muscle car’ enthusiasts think of the Corvettes, Chevelles or GTOs of their youth and seek to restore their prized example to its showroom floor look and performance. Others dream of what they represented, the baddest and most powerful machines Detroit could build and tuners could modify; these cheerfully tap half-a-century of automotive progress and install engines, induction systems, and suspensions Zora-Duntov and Delorean could only dream of but certainly would have used if they were available.
To service the beloved four-speed transmissions installed as original equipment or to harness the power now available, both groups — we’ll call the first ‘restorers’, the second ‘tuners’ — need parts and, sometimes, complete new gearboxes. Fifty years ago — ‘restorers’ were just ‘drivers’ then — they drew from common sources and chose original equipment for quality or aftermarket for price. Today, the original equipment is long gone, but the aftermarket options are greater and the choices more difficult. And there’s a third group, ‘racers’, who push the limits even farther; they want parts and gearboxes, too.
We support them all. how do we do it?
For us, the most challenging to service are the restorers. Their cars don’t have monster motors, they don’t shift aggressively or at high revs, and they frequently accept the lower levels of performance or durability offered at lower price points. However, their Corvette or GTO is a member of the family, and nothing is too good for family. So we demonstrate the differences between our parts and those of our competitors, and explain why they matter. And we keep an eye on our manufacturing, administration and distribution costs to minimize our prices.
Tuners are easier to satisfy. Engines with outputs unheard of when muscle cars ruled the road are now available with a mouseclick and a credit card. What we call ‘legacy’ parts — parts designed and manufactured to original equipment designs and for original equipment performance and durability, the parts restorers want — won’t meet their needs. They need stronger gears, stronger housings to support them, the ability to shift at higher revs, and gearsets with ratios for everything from interstate driving to autocross and drag racing. Here quality and creativity shine, and Auto Gear is in its element.
Then there are the racers and, no question, they’re demanding. But winning, contrary to common opinion, isn’t everything. ‘Everything’ for us is doing whatever it takes to assure a driver or team that their Auto Gear-equipped car will cross the line with a fully functional and competitive gearbox. We knew this when we went racing, and whatever success we have had — there has been some, I’m pleased to report — has been because every line we draw, every chip we cut, is done with this in mind. For racers, we’ve pushed the envelope on strength, shifting speed, and rev handling, but never at the expense of reliability.
Different cars, different drivers, different parts, each to its own market. We don’t change designs casually. It costs us, and in the interests of corporate survival, making money is a positive. So there’s always a reason. And somewhere, someone will probably be disappointed because we went too far, or because we didn’t go far enough. When we do disappoint, let us know. We’re all in this together.