Straightline 4-speed shifters? - Chevelle Tech
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  #1  
Old Apr 22nd, 08, 2:01 PM
Rich-L79 Rich-L79 is offline
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Default Straightline 4-speed shifters?

Since the wagon will be a retrorod look with more up to date running gear, I've been looking at old style shifters and tachometers. I found an old time company called Drag Fast which made both. They are out of business now, but they were quite popular back in the day. To see their stuff, look at the ads inside the front cover of almost any Popular Hot Rodding magazine from 1964-1966. I'm so enthralled with Drag Fast stuff I even hunted down the guy who started the company and swapped some e-mail. Quite an interesting guy! He was also a drag strip owner and race promoter in the Northwest back in the '60s.

Anyway, one of Drag Fast's more popular pure-race products was a straightline 4-speed shifter. He claims it was the first or at least the first commercially available straightline shifter. I understand the concept, yet I've never seen one in person (they are pretty rare) and just can't visualize how they work exactly. The concept is that the shifter handle starts in 1st gear toward the dash panel and is pulled straight back through 2nd, 3rd and 4th, no H-pattern involved. The idea was you could slam into the next gear quickly by simply yanking the shift rearward from gear to gear. This would entirely eliminate the often tricky 2nd to 3rd shift where you are crossing the typical H-pattern. I was told they make use of a single shifter handle, not using multiple handles as seen on some modern drag racing shifters.

The point of this thread is: how exactly do these work? For example, when going from 1st to 2nd, what makes the shifter stop in second instead of dropping back into 3rd? The same question for the 2nd to 3rd shift? As I understand it, Hurst made a similar shifter at one time and I'm sure the mechanics were similar, I just can't grasp what locks the shift into the next gear preventing you from going too far?

Does anyone have any experience with these types of shifter? Are they really any kind of an advantage over an H-pattern shifter or just a gimmick? The Drag Fast man tells me his prototype helped a Super Stock racer friend of his cut his 1/4 mile time by a 10th! He said his version also helped prevent missed shifts when properly set up but did admit they required much more careful adjustments and set up.

BTW, the wagon will have a 5-speed so I'm not looking for one of these straight-line shifter, I'm only curious about how exactly they work.
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  #2  
Old Apr 22nd, 08, 3:30 PM
ehjorten ehjorten is offline
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Default Re: Straightline 4-speed shifters?

They use a Geneva wheel that translates the fore-aft shifting into a profiled cam that guides the transmission shift rods in the proper pattern and sequence. I couldn't find anything specific to transmissions that illustrates the application, but I did find this: http://images.google.com/imgres?imgu...%3D1%26hl%3Den

I could draw something to show it, but it would be pretty crude. It may be something slightly different in operation than you were thinking, but these act just like a motorcycle transmission.
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  #3  
Old Apr 22nd, 08, 3:36 PM
furball8994 furball8994 is offline
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Default Re: Straightline 4-speed shifters?

Correct me if I'm wrong Eric. Weren't they an I pattern? up,down,up down.. Had to lift up on the shifter for first or second?


EDIT; Here it is..... http://www.jegs.com/p/Hurst/748693/10002/-1/10525
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  #4  
Old Apr 22nd, 08, 4:04 PM
La Mans Blue w/ W Stripe La Mans Blue w/ W Stripe is offline
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Default Re: Straightline 4-speed shifters?

A buddy of mine had one of these in his '70 Camaro back 20 years ago. To shift into first you had to stick your first two fingers into a mechanism, lift and push the shifter forward into first gear. From then on, it was pull straight back into 2nd, push into third, pull straight back again into 4th. Reverse was a seperate lever. There was no way to go from second back into first without using the finger mechanism.

You could really preload the shifter and then just touch the clutch and it would shift. Trust me, they will take abuse. That is probably why ET times went down.
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  #5  
Old Apr 22nd, 08, 4:35 PM
SS427Rick SS427Rick is offline
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Default Re: Straightline 4-speed shifters?

I looked at a 69 Z-28 last year that had a MR. Gasket vertical gate shifter from back in the 70's/80's. I believe it is similiar to what you are referring to. The guy wanted $25,000 for a butchered up bondo wagon ex-drag car so I walked away from that one.
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  #6  
Old Apr 22nd, 08, 4:40 PM
Snigwiggler Snigwiggler is offline
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Smile Re: Straightline 4-speed shifters?

Quote:
Originally Posted by La Mans Blue w/ W Stripe View Post
A buddy of mine had one of these in his '70 Camaro back 20 years ago. To shift into first you had to stick your first two fingers into a mechanism, lift and push the shifter forward into first gear. From then on, it was pull straight back into 2nd, push into third, pull straight back again into 4th. Reverse was a seperate lever. There was no way to go from second back into first without using the finger mechanism.

You could really preload the shifter and then just touch the clutch and it would shift. Trust me, they will take abuse. That is probably why ET times went down.
I used to have one in a 67 Chevelle I had along time ago. As said in the post above that is exactly how they worked. The one I had was built by Mr. Gasket, there was a spring loaded pin that you would engage by lifting up on the finger lever. Then when you shifted to second, straight back, as the pin went through the neutral position it would slip into the next shift plate that was connected to the second gear rod. Same thing as you shifted staight ahead to third and so on. If you had to shift down you would go to neutral and then lift the finger lever up one click and you would grab the previous gear. And as stated, the reverse gear was a seprate lever.
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Last edited by Snigwiggler; Apr 22nd, 08 at 4:43 PM. Reason: more text
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  #7  
Old Apr 22nd, 08, 5:20 PM
Quickshift Quickshift is offline
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Default Re: Straightline 4-speed shifters?

Agreed the Mr.Gasket Vertigate shifter was an awesome shifter.I have posted before i used to street race my '67 chevelle a lot back in the 80's and used one of these shifters on a pro-shifted muncie(slides and synchro's modified).With a smallblock,4:88 gears,M/T Indy S/S soft compound tires and a 200 shot of Nitrous it was darn near unbeatable at the time. As a side note you had to cut a hole in the floorboard big enough to throw a cat through to make one of those shifters fit
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  #8  
Old Apr 22nd, 08, 7:19 PM
Schurkey Schurkey is offline
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Default Re: Straightline 4-speed shifters?

Then there's the Beiber Shifter for Muncie transmissions.

Two handles side-by-side, pull back on one and you upshift, pull back on the other and you downshift. A third handle controls reverse.
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  #9  
Old Apr 22nd, 08, 8:28 PM
snydes snydes is offline
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Default Re: Straightline 4-speed shifters?

Here is a picture of a 4-speed vertical gate. You can also get them for the Richmond 5-speed. I would imagine they would take some getting used to as far as downshifting for street use.

http://www.gforcetransmissions.com/shifter_4_vj1000.asp
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  #10  
Old Apr 22nd, 08, 8:46 PM
ricks_67 ricks_67 is offline
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Default Re: Straightline 4-speed shifters?

I used a Mr Gasket verti gate on a super t10. the first year I pulled the tendons on the outside of my hand from having to reach over the t handle and pulling up the finger rings. When I put together the iron case trans I reworked the shifter. I took the handle and filled the holes with epoxy and redrilled the line lock button and wire holes and the mounting hole. then took the finger ring and cut off 1 ring and turned it inline with the shifter. It worked great. I love driving the car with the shifter in this configuration. now I put my index finger in the hole and lift with my arm and just push forward for first. The down side is for serious gear banging I would have gotten a billet handle, cast aluminum breaks to easily.
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  #11  
Old Apr 22nd, 08, 9:16 PM
Chevy fan attic Chevy fan attic is offline
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Default Re: Straightline 4-speed shifters?

Its called a V Gate.
It uses a cam like on a motor cycle shifter drum.
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  #12  
Old Apr 22nd, 08, 9:16 PM
jay jay is offline
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Default Re: Straightline 4-speed shifters?

I knew a guy that had a Hurst in a pick up truck years ago,it was just plain cool. I thought about putting one in my 65 and decided not to. I'd probably would have blow my Muncie to bits with that thing in there
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  #13  
Old Apr 22nd, 08, 9:39 PM
Philip Philip is offline
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Default Re: Straightline 4-speed shifters?

Rich we put a sb,a Muncie and a 56 chevy rear end into a 54 English Ford back in the mid 60's. I recall the shifter being very unique in the installation but really loved the way it changed gears. Once you got it in first every shift was pulled back, then you let go, grabit again and pulled back for all 4 gears. We nicknamed it the "rachet shifter"
Soon after I went in the Navy and lost track of the car and the owner, but what you described sounds to be the same type. to many years back to remember the specifics.
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  #14  
Old Apr 22nd, 08, 10:25 PM
136679ss 136679ss is offline
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Default Re: Straightline 4-speed shifters?

Sorry, but the I believe the first to build one of these commercially was Hurst. Hurst's original was called the Vertigate, and all others are copies. One would shift forward and back for 1-2 then pull a release T-bar with one's fingers for the forward and back 3-4 shift. A seperate short arm was used to throw the trans in reverse eliminating any possibility of sending you through the front window and grenading your trans. I've got one in a box somewhere around here. Neat to say the least, very practical for Dragracing.
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  #15  
Old Apr 23rd, 08, 12:48 PM
cincyred5 cincyred5 is offline
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Default Re: Straightline 4-speed shifters?

I have a Hurst Vertigate in my 69 SS and love it! At first, I wanted to make it all original and put a muncie or hurst pro comp in it, but then I raced it a few times and I will never get rid of it...Doesn't take too long to get used to when cruisin' the streets.
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