Wayne Cook
June 3, 2010

Tech | Transmission Upgrade
Just out of the shop with a fresh coat of Clearwater Aqua paint on our '67 Fairlane 500 hardtop, we're now reassembling the car. The 289 engine in the Fairlane was rebuilt recently, as was the rear axle that's equipped with 3.50 gears. Between the two lives a C4 three-speed automatic transmission. The C4 was working fine when we last drove the car, but we're looking to improve its shift feel and we really don't know the condition of the C4's fluid either. As part of our Fairlane project we have decided to convert the car from a bench seat and column shift configuration to a bucket seat and floor-shifted arrangement, which is more commonly found in the GT. Last time we looked at our Fairlane we replaced the stock steering column with a great tilt steering column and steering wheel from Flaming River, so now we're addressing the question of transmission shifting. Trying to cobble together a factory console would be complicated and expensive and what we really wanted was a simple and cleanly designed shifter mechanism that had a stock flavor to it, making it blend well with our new factory-style interior. We found the solution in the form of the B&M Racing Unimatic Shifter. We felt that is was a perfect column shift replacement because it installs mostly below the floorpan and incorporates a factory looking rubber boot over the carpeting instead of the console assembly found on other B&M floor shifters such as the Quicksilver or Star Shifter models. The Unimatic includes a neutral safety switch, black T-handle, five foot cable and all required hardware.

While we're addressing transmission related issues we decided to take our project further in light of anticipated performance upgrades. To protect our transmission against the additional heat generated by our more powerful rebuilt engine we decided to equip our car with a B&M Super Cooler automatic transmission cooler. This compact cooler is really a separate radiator dedicated to the cooling of the transmission. The factory heat exchanger, while it is adequate for normal driving, can easily become overloaded and the B&M unit is very inexpensive insurance against the number one enemy of your transmission. Although our car was running fine with the transmission working smoothly we also decided it would be hard to go wrong with a B&M Shift Improver Kit, part number 50260. We've had good experiences with B&M kits in the past and they offer improved shift firmness as well as other advantages over stock. Join us and we'll see how easy it was to upgrade our transmission in these three important ways.

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