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53 Starliner kickdown switch

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  • 53 Starliner kickdown switch

    Can someone please post a picture of the carb linkage and OD kickdown switch on a stock '53 Commander hardtop?

    The Studillac has a kickdown switch sticking out of the firewall. At full throttle, a homemade bracket on the throttle bellcrank activates it. We can't figure it out. The car has a Caddie 331 and LaSalle straight 3 speed. What would the kickdown switch be used for?

    It also has the starter button under the clutch pedal and the toggle switch on the dash. (The latter is used to start the car).

    This '53 is full of mysteries.

  • #2
    Brad Johnson,
    SDC since 1975, ASC since 1990
    Pine Grove Mills, Pa.
    '33 Rockne 10, '51 Commander Starlight. '53 Commander Starlight
    '56 Sky Hawk in process


    • #3
      If it is actually a "kickdown" switch, the car must have had overdrive (in a previous life). The "anti-creep" switch for the automatic was contacted at idle (I believe) to keep the anti-creep solenoid energized, and then released it when the throttle was depressed.

      53 Commander Starliner
      56 Sky Hawk
      Howard - Los Angeles chapter SDC
      '53 Commander Starliner (Finally running and driving, but still in process)
      '56 Golden Hawk (3 speed/overdrive, Power steering - Running, but not yet driving)
      '58 Packard Hawk. A partially restored car that was not completely assembled.


      • #4
        The linkage, as it came from the factory, bolted
        to the firewall on 53 cars. When I put a 55 engine
        in mine, the linkage is on the engine, so I have
        the same situation. The kickdown was too far away.
        I have solved it for now with a long bolt. O yea
        the switch is inside the car and sticks out through
        the firewall. Overdrive switch, that is.This is not a
        great photo, but you can see it. Already had this in

        Tex E. Grier


        • #5
          Tex your car has a similar setup. I had no idea that the stock '53 kickdown switch originally poked out of the firewall. That's why this one had me so confused.

          The Studillac has a bolt welded to the throttle bellcrank to activate the switch. This is the best shot I have. Also, does anyone know what Power Steering setup this is??

          Interestingly enough, the car has evidence of another tranny, besides the top loader LaSalle that's in the car now. It has a patch panel on the trans hump where a side shifter once stuck through the floor.

          I've been told by people "in the know" that Frick also used another style of LaSalle tranny that was side shifted. Frick also made his own shifters as Hurst didn't come out for a few years after '53.

          Jim Davis has a '55 Speedster Studillac, with a Stude overdrive tranny. There's so many variations of Studillacs around that no one combination is "correct".

          The mystery continues.


          • #6
            The power steering unit looks a lot like the one in my '55 Land Cruiser. If I remember correctly it's a Saginaw unit. I like it, since it was rebuilt.

            Tom Bredehoft
            '53 Commander Coupe (since 1959)
            '55 President (6H Y6) State Sedan
            ....On the road, again....
            '05 Legacy Ltd Wagon
            All Indiana built cars


            • #7
              Other styles, (year models) of the LaSalle didn't
              have a top cover. I have an old hot rod magazine
              that shows one of these with the early shifter.
              I think it was called a Tornado shifter. Looked
              very similar to a early Corvette. I had one of
              these in a 40 Ford with a nailhead.

              Tex E. Grier


              • #8
                Yes, that looks like a Saginaw PS unit. That pipe and fitting doesn't normally loop up like that though. Normally angles downward. Maybe modded for clearance with the exhaust? That wire where the column attaches is the horn wire. Its connected to a carbon brush and there is a slip ring inside there. SASCO used to have those parts available NOS. I believe they were the same as GM cars that used that same setup, as the parts are marked delco.

                What is that hard line coming from what looks like a fuel filter screwed into the carb bonnet ?

                Jeff in ND

                '53 Champion Hardtop

                Jeff in ND


                • #9

                  "Back in the day" these cars were "assembled", I think todays term, "make it up as you go" would apply here. Just as you said, it appears most all are different. Good luck and Happy New Year to you and your family.

                  Dan Miller
                  Atlanta, GA

                  Road Racers turn left AND right.