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clutchless shifting option?

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  • clutchless shifting option?

    hi, I'm new here,
    looking at a '58 silver hawk with a clutchless shifting option on an auto trans/6 cyl.
    Anyone hear of such a thing?

  • #2
    Sure! That just means the car is equipped with an overdrive transmission. They have a one-way clutch inside that does allow some clutchless shifting below cut-in speed. You have to reach Level III operator's training before you try it though. As a prospective new owner you'll be starting at Level I, and Lesson 1 is 'ALWAYS park the car in reverse gear'. This is the only gear that will always give you compression braking. Any other forward gear may allow the car to roll away (one-way clutch, freewheeling) if the overdrive cable is left pushed in (most drivers do) and if the handbrake doesn't hold (many don't).
    Borg Warner actually encouraged clutchless shifting in urban stop-and-go driving by instructing drivers to leave the transmission in second gear and using the clutch only when stopping, then accelerating to cut-in speed and let the transmission go to second-overdrive. This works best with a V8 car though.


    • #3
      Automatic or Manual Trans.?

      It is a little hard to understand what you are looking for because you said: "Auto. Trans.".

      What Dwain is describing is a Standard Trans. with a clutch with the Overdrive option which allows SOME SHIFTS to be Automatic with the Electric Overdrive, BUT there is still a Clutch which normally will need to be used on THREE of the FOUR shifts.

      If you want completely clutchless shifting, there are Automatic Transmission Hawks also, in 6 Cly. and V-8 version, without Overdrive.

      A '57 Silver Hawk 289, 210 HP or 225 HP OHV V8 has a much longer life, more dependable power train capable of keeping up with modern traffic than a flat head, 185 c.i.d. 101 HP Champion 6 Cly. Engine.
      The difference in fuel mileage is negligible, if you are someone that likes to keep up with traffic, you will be running almost wide open most of the time through low and second gear and actually use more fuel than an easily driven V-8, to achieve the same speeds with a 3000 to 3200 lb. car.
      As always, it's your money, and your choice!

      You would not be thinking of the Chrysler Fluid Drive or the Plymouth Hi-Drive, would you?
      Those were a Standard Trans. with an Automatic High gear mode, so you could choose to shift and clutch or not.
      Last edited by StudeRich; 05-12-2011, 10:27 PM.
      Second Generation Stude Driver,
      Proud '54 Starliner Owner


      • #4
        Then again, I often drive my T-10 4 speed clutchless. When tooling around town, its pretty easy to shift without the clutch. Its called speed shifting. Just match the engine speed with the trans speed and the shifts are smooth as silk.


        • #5
          Chrysler Fluid Drive

          If I remember correctlyFluid drive was a standard 3 speed transmission with a torque converter before the clutch. You could bring the car to a stop, and start up again in any gear, without using the clutch, but you had to (maybe not) use the clutch to shift between gears.


          • #6
            Sal, I always thought "speed-shifting" was how you shifted at the drag strip. Wide open throttle, stomp the clutch, snatch the next gear. and so-on. "Clutchless" shifting, I thought, was referd to as "slip-shifting". You match the engine RPM to the drive line RPM, ease off the gas and shift to the next gear. Jiust my observation.

            Dan Miller
            Auburn, GA


            • #7
              Yeah Dan, I know speed shifting and power shifting are considered the same, but when growing up in So Cal, within our circles, we called the racing version power shifting and the slow version speed shifting. Perhaps a local thing. I haven't used power shifting since I was a young gun in the 70s. Replacing transmissions was cheaper than fixing them back then, and besides, when you're young and svelte, slipping under a car and replacing a 4 speed tranny without so much as a creeper, was just a hour's worth of fun.
              BTW, I am thoroughly envious of your road racing 64 Stude. It is absolutely awesome.


              • #8
                Another variant was the Electromatic clutch option offered by Packard during the decade or so before the introduction of Ultramatic. Wasn't really "clutchless" at all, of course, operation of the clutch simply became automatic. Driver could revert to conventional clutch operation at the touch of one of the big chrome switches on the dash. Worked great with the three speed overdrive on the big '48 Custom Eight limo I owned back in the nineties... actually a lot more efficient than Ultramatic, nice match for the 356 straight eight. With this locomotive, any concepts of "speed shifting" were pure fantasy...
                Gil Zimmerman
                Riverside, CA

                1955 Speedster
                1956 Golden Hawk
                1958 Packard Hawk
                1958 President
                1963 Avanti R2


                • #9
                  WELCOME the SDC Forum!!!


                  • #10
                    There's a Pro-Stock 5 speed Z-style clutchless transmission like this one ..... Only catch is the price $$$$

                    Resto-Mod by Michael Myer


                    • #11
                      Thanks for the comments. In the near future I hope to get it back on the track. Needs new appropriate tires and an exhaust up date. Already has the R3 headers but I'm going clean them up internally and I have some of Don Simmon's large head pipes and will go from there to an equalizer X pipe with built in dumps. 2&1/4 to 2&1/2 inch. Jim Turner's front brakes still are more than adequate as are the 2&1/4 X 11 " segmented full metalic linings out back. Stay in touch.

                      Dan Miller
                      Auburn, GA


                      • #12
                        Dan, I don't think my Coupe is in any shape to compete at any level just now, but the upgrades I've done have helped the overall daily driver qualities of the car. 11 3/4 inch ventilated disc brakes up front, 11 inch drums out back, 1-1/4 inch front sway bar, lowered front and rear, Hurst shifter for the 4 speed. Just the basics, but it is fun to drive. The 120 inch wheelbase would probably be a hinderance on a road course, but perhaps helps in places like Bonneville and Dry Lakes.


                        • #13
                          I'm going to see this car Sat. I'm interested in this set-up. Anyone local (Toronto) see this car at meets?
                          Thanks for your help-Paul


                          • #14
                            Big commercial truck driver would call what Sal described as "floating" the gears,....speed matches the rpm, shift smoothly, then back on the gas.

                            Or the ol......if you can't find em grind em. (when someone's not so smooth at shifting.)
                            61 Lark



                            • #15
                              Originally posted by dickeedee View Post
                              I'm going to see this car Sat. I'm interested in this set-up. Anyone local (Toronto) see this car at meets?
                              Thanks for your help-Paul
                              In the pictures it looks like the front bumper has been installed upside down:
                              Winston-Salem, NC
                              Visit The Studebaker Skytop Registry website at: