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Poncho Master!

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TORQUE DRIVE transmission - anyone had one?


My 1969 shop manual talks about the Torque Drive transmission, which it describes as basically a Powerglide with the automatic shifting removed.

So you start out in D and get used to lazy 1:1 acceleration?  Or you start out in L and shift to D every time?  Just curious how people lived with them.

Also what cars did they come in?  I don't think they were in the B-Bodies at all, where they?



-- Edited by davepl on Monday 26th of February 2018 07:21:11 PM

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Poncho Master!

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1969 nova for sure.  I have a dealer "communitation" kit that has a JamHandy filmstrip about them. Been awile since i last looked at it,  i think the kit also has a small booklet that describes them.  yes basicly a manual valve body powerglide



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My buddy had a Plain-Jane manual steering, manual brake, 6 banger 72 Nova that had one. I'd never heard of it, but it had the markings in the shift indicator. I called a tranny shop to ask them about it. He said it would have cost GM more to make as basically they had to take a Powerglide and leave some of parts out.

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davepl wrote:

My 1969 shop manual talks about the Torque Drive transmission, which it describes as basically a Powerglide with the automatic shifting removed.

So you start out in D and get used to lazy 1:1 acceleration?  Or you start out in L and shift to D every time?  Just curious how people lived with them.

Also what cars did they come in?  I don't think they were in the B-Bodies at all, where they?



-- Edited by davepl on Monday 26th of February 2018 07:21:11 PM


 VW Bettles had a similar set-up in the same era....(1968-  ) Automatic Stickshift or semi-automatic.

I have one in my (long term project )1971 Beetle.

Introduced in 1968 and made available on the 1300 and 1500, the semi-auto Beetle was a peculiar beast. With its inherently more stable double jointed driveshaft type independent rear suspension instead of the conventional swing axle, it handled better than the manual Bug of that era. But apart from that (and its rarity) its always remained something of an enigma.

beige badgeThe most obvious difference inside, of course, is the fact that there is no clutch pedal. The gear lever itself looks stock, but theres only four positions; three forward gears (L, 1 and 2) and reverse, arranged in the conventional H-pattern. Because the torque converter is able to apply power over a wide rev range, only the top two gears are used for normal driving, with L only being needed if starting on a slope or tackling tight parking manoeuvres.

semi auto cutawayThe engine can only be started in neutral and when cold it idles much faster than when warm, so before engaging gear the brakes have to be applied to prevent the car lurching forward. As soon as the gear lever is moved, a solenoid in the top sends an electrical instruction to disengage the clutch. When a gear is selected, the accelerator is pressed and the torque converter takes up drive, with first being good from rest up to 55mph. Position 2 takes you right up to motorway cruising speeds. If the oil temperature warning light glows, however, its telling you to drop down a cog. You dont need to take it out of gear when at rest, although you do need to keep a foot on the brake to prevent creep. If youre used to driving a manual Bug, its all a bit unnerving



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The Torque Drive was introduced mid-year 1968.  It came on the following cars:

1968 six cylinder Camaro
1968 six cylinder Nova & Acadian (+ 4 cyl US Nova)

1969 six cylinder Camaro
1969 six cylinder Nova & Acadian (+ 4 cyl US Nova)

1970 six cylinder Nova & Acadian (+ 4 cyl US Nova)

1971 six cylinder Nova & Acadian
1971 Vega


All the above were column-shift only except the Vega.

 

You could start out in High range & let the torque converter get you up to speed slowly, or you could start out in Lo range and shift when you remember to. Even though the Torque-Drive was an air cooled transmission, cars so equipped came with h.d. radiators simply because of the possibility of a lazy owner keeping it in the wrong range and either lugging the engine or revving it excessively.

Note the shift quadrant in the bottom middle photo below:

1971%20Chevrolet%20Nova-10.jpg?m=1482376

 

 

 

As for the VW Automatic Stickshift, Greaser nailed it. It was funny but the power was disconnected when the weight of your hand rested on the shift lever. Yes, they were the 1st Beetles to get the double-jointed rear axle. It wasn't until 1969 that the remainder of the Beetles got the double-jointed rear axle (except for an obscure 1200 cc version offered as late as 1970 in Canada except in Ontario where a lawsuit was pending regarding the swing axle design and its handling "quirks".)



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Poncho Master!

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Cool... thanks for the info! Funny that is has it's own shift indicator. Probably cost as much as omitting the shift parts saved! And what'd the diff between D and L versus H and 1st?

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CdnGMfan posted a page from the brochure, but it doesn't have the description for photo 6 of the Torque Drive shift indicator. I'm curious as to what they say about it.

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seventy2plus2 wrote:

CdnGMfan posted a page from the brochure, but it doesn't have the description for photo 6 of the Torque Drive shift indicator. I'm curious as to what they say about it.


 

"(6) Don't let THE MAN tell you what gear you should groove in.  Pick your own course and speed and set sail for your local Chevy Dealer today."



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Poncho Master!

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Ford had one too, the Semi Automatic.

Just like the Chevy only with 3 speeds!!

The column shift linkages wore out much faster than normal.

Today, racers pay extra for manual shift valve bodys!!

Thanks

Randy

 

 

 

Ford-semi_automatic.jpg



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You really have to wonder why GM would ever offer such a dumb transmission option. 



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It does seem silly. What would the benefit be over a regular Powerglide?

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I don't think there's ANY benefit over a regular powerglide and probably wasn't supposed to be. I think they were maybe hoping they'd invent a whole new low price transmission segment, the "manual without a pedal" more or less. Didn't catch on.

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The advantage was, for $37 you can eliminate the feared clutch pedal.



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How much more was a powerglide vs the standard transmission?

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Everything you ever wanted to know

This is all from my Dealership  " communication!" kit from May 1968

Maybe someone can make these bigger

IMG_20180304_0003.jpgIMG_20180304_0002.jpgIMG_20180304_0001.jpgIMG_20180304_0004.jpgIMG_20180304_0006.jpgIMG_20180304_0005.jpgIMG_20180304_0007.jpg

-- Edited by Carl Stevenson on Sunday 4th of March 2018 12:20:21 PM

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Poncho Master!

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Thanks for posting! They advertise it as a "clutchless" transmission but the powerglide, at least, does have internally clutches...

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Poncho Master!

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Ya, i guess they mean clutch pedal-less

interesting, all the little differences compared to a standard powerglide



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