While cruising YellowBullet.com recently we cam across a thread talking about Clutch-Flite and Clutch-Turbo transmissions. For those of you not in the know, racers in the 1960’s and 1970’s modified automatic transmissions by installing clutches in place of the torque converter. Dump the clutch to launch and knock the shifter up to shift the gears. Why did they do this? Simply because there was no such thing as a performance torque converter.
Back in those dark days, the only “trick” racers had to gain stall speed and launch RPM with a traditional automatic was to swap in the small torque converter used on cars like Vegas or Pintos. Placed behind a burly V8, racers could footbrake launch those cars at a decent RPM because the torque of the engine would raise the stall speed. The issue was that they would balloon or fail horribly after such abuse.
Enter innovation. Some enterprising guys figured out how to install a traditional clutch in place of the torque converter thusly creating the clutch-turbo (Turbo 400) and the clutch-flite (Torqueflite). Now the “stall” speed was infinitely adjustable and the shifting was just as easy. It was the best of both worlds…kind of.
These transmissions were very violent during gear changes because without the converter to soak up some of the shock, it was a slamfest. Because of said violence they had the tendency to explode like pipe bombs and caused many injuries, even when used with early transmission ballistic blankets.
So now that we’ve scared the crap out of you we can share that we found a totally bitchin’ kit from Dynamic transmission that allows you to go back to those days of old and have your own “clutched” automatic. Our own Chad actually had a clutch-turbo setup in a street driven Camaro. He said it was violent, but the cool factor outweighed the shortcomings. It should be mentioned that Dynamic does not recommend these kits for street use due to, “the possibility of uncontrollable vehicle reactions.”
That junk happens to us anyway, so we can handle it. Click the link below to see the kit and learn more about this totally obsolete but completely awesome way to change gears in your hot rod!
Source — LyonsPerformance.com — Dynamic Transmission Clutch-Hydro Kit