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Full-Size Standard Shift Cars, 1950-1973


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I can think of one more (not a big three car technically) that has not been mentioned. My parents had a 58 or 59 Checker Supurba that had a Continental strait 6 with a three on the tree. I have seen at least one Checker Marathon on eBay that was equipped with a Chevy strait 6 and a three speed overdrive transmission.

Neat thread. Love the old manual transmission cars.

Eric

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[ATTACH=CONFIG]282958[/ATTACH][ATTACH=CONFIG]282959[/ATTACH][ATTACH=CONFIG]282960[/ATTACH]

The Fairlane reminds me of a car a friend of mine had in the 80's It was a 62 Country Squire nearly identical to this one. It had the Tbird 390 engine and 3 on the tree. It was a beautiful car but sadly it was totaled one day in broad daylight while parked in front of his house.

1962fordcountrysquire2.jpg

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Does anyone know the 'crossover date' when automatic transmission cars began outselling stick shift cars?

Depends on the make. Stats on the Cadillacs show automatics were outselling manual transmissions soon after the Hydramatic was introduced in 1941.

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That was because Cadillac and Oldsmobile were pushing HydraMatic hard. By the mid 50s something like 2% of Oldsmobile annual production were stick cars and the balance HydraMatic.

Wasn't unusual to see a column stick shift big Chevy or Ford up thru the late 60s. I don't remember seeing many stick 60s Plymouths, but there weren't many Mopar folks around where I grew up.

That 62 Squire... I am in love!

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That was because Cadillac and Oldsmobile were pushing HydraMatic hard. By the mid 50s something like 2% of Oldsmobile annual production were stick cars and the balance HydraMatic.

That 62 Squire... I am in love!

That goes for Pontiac as well when it got HydraMatic in 1948.

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That goes for Pontiac as well when it got HydraMatic in 1948.
I should also point out that by the time the new bodied Pontiac's came out in 49 that straight eights were selling over three to one over sixes, so much so that by the time the new V-8 was offered in 1955 Pontiac no longer had a six.
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Here in Canada plenty of old timers were suspicious of automatics well into the sixties on the grounds of expense (for repairs and lousy gas mileage).

Even so over half the cars were automatic but you still saw full size six cylinder standard cars into the seventies, then the gas crisis made manual trans (now floor shift) and six cylinders (now V6s) fashionable again. Although, by this time the stick shift was for the mid size cars like Volare .

Pontiac continued making six cylinder cars in Canada, using the 261 six usually seen in Chev trucks. At least half their cars were sixes in the fifties and sixties.

Edited by Rusty_OToole (see edit history)
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Many 60's mopars , especially the lower styles, had standard column shifts. I had two Dodge darts equipped that way. I also remember small and midsize Plymouths thru at least 65 with them. We had many Plymouths and Dodges running in west Texas during that time.

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My Father hated automatics and v-8 engines. He had a 60 Dodge Seneca with a 225 and a three speed and also a 63 Chevrolet Impala with a 6 and a three speed as well. Broke his heart when he needed another car in the early 70's and could only find a 6 cylinder Dart with an automatic cheap enough that he would buy it.

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My brother still has my dads 1967 GS340 Buick factory 3 speed column shift car. He bought it new. Two colors white or Silver mist poly with two lower racing stripes and a chrome air cleaner.

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Dad had three'67 Darts,

(for business)

Two were column shift manuals

Another was auto

He also had a '74 Valiant four door

The valiant had slant 6 and a four speed with a hurst floor shifter.

And he had a '74 Duster slant 6 with a Hurst floor shifter on a 3 speed

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Does anyone know the 'crossover date' when automatic transmission cars began outselling stick shift cars?

Harold,

The 1957 Automotive News Almanac has a chart with annual AT percentages going back to 1946. The crossover was between 1953 at 41.90%, and 1954 with 56.77% of industry-wide automatic installations. Since we're on the subject...

1946...5.12%

1947...6.74%

1948...13.58%

1949...16.18%

1950...24.85%

1951...34.85%

1952...40.45%

1953...41.90%

1954...56.77%

1955...68.37%

1956...74.44% (Revised to 75.08% in '58 AN Almanac)

1957...79.14% (From the '58 AN Almanac)

FYI,

TG

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Nope....just SS wheelcovers.

Unless I'm mistaken,I believe the '65 Caprice used the same three bar wheel cover, but with a bow tie emblem in the center instead of the SS. '65 and '66 Super Sports both used the SS wheel cover pictured. '66 Caprice used an entirely different wheel cover.

Edited by Larry W (see edit history)
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I learned to drive on a '31 Model A Ford and a '37 Chevrolet pickup, both with 3-speed on the floor. My first car was a '52 Chevy, 6-cylinder, 3-speed on the column. Next car was a -57 Pontiac, V-8 with automatic and a real piece of junk. Swapped it for a '60 Ford Sunliner with 352 V-8 with auto. Traded that on a new '63 Ford Galaxie 500XL Sunliner with 390 V-8 and 4 in the floor. Tried to order a new '64 Plymouth Belvedere conv. with a 383 and 4-speed. The sole salesman at the dealer almost had a heart attack. Tried to sell me a hardtop with a 318 V-8 and auto. Not interested and he would not order what I wanted. Ordered a '65 Chevy Malibu SS conv with a 300/l327 V-8 and 4 in the floor. GM went on strike and I tired of waiting for it. January of 1965 I bought my first pickup; 6-cylinder and 3-speed on the column. It was my work truck. Spring of '65 traded the '63 Ford for a '65 Impala SS conv, 327/300hp, 4 in the floor. Not a smart move. Also traded the '60 Chev pickup for a '65 Chevy pickup ordered by my brother who then decided he did not want it. 283 V-8, column shifted 3-speed. Spring of '65 traded the detestable '65 Impala SS for a '65 Cadillac conv. 1968 swapped the '65 Cadillac for a new '68 Chrysler 300 convertible. Ordered the car in January and finally got it about the 1st of April. The trucking company had gone on strike and the car languished in a parking lot in Pittsburgh. 1969 swapped the '65 Chevy pickup for a new '69 Ford pickup, 360-inch V-8 with a column mounted 3-speed shifter. My next pickup was a '74 Ford, V-8 that also had a column mounted 3-speed shifter. I then had an '83 or '84 GMC S-15 pickup with a floor mounted 4-speed manual followed by 2 Ford Rangers with floor mounted 5-speed manuals. Back up to '86 and I ordered a new Ford Aerostar van with a 5-speed manual. Most Aerostars had automatics but none of them could have ran like my manual did and got the gas mileage it got. Except for the 2 Rangers ('89 and '98) everything I have owned has been automatics but I have often wished my Chrysler Town and Country had a manual. It would stop a lot of the shifting on hills.

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Digressing from stickshifts for a moment... Got to LOVE that little BowTie high beam indicator on the 59 EC. IIRC the one in my 60 BelAir lit up red. Why can't we have details like that on cars now? both my Fords have a non-descript generic blue high-beam indicator, and the one in the Mercury is a big obnoxious square thing.

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In 1956 Dad had a Chrysler&Plymouth dealership and they got a 1956 Chrysler 4 door standard shift column shift. It sat on the lot for a long time then one day a fellow came in and that was what he wanted. Dad was sure glad it was gone. WE had several Plymouth standard with overdrive. They were a good seller in 56

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After I wrote about manual transmission cars I knew, I remembered that my aunt and uncle in Connecticut never had an automatic car until 1971. My uncle always bought base models with manual transmissions and an AM radio as the only option. He also kept cars until they turned to dust but he was somewhat mechanical and could do a lot of his own maintenance - brakes, exhaust, gaskets, etc. He had a '51 Plymouth Suburban until the mid-60's and used it to commute to work. In 1958, he bought a '58 Ford Ranch Wagon for my aunt because they moved to Glastonbury and needed two cars. The Ford was dark grey with a 6 and 3 speed. In 1963, he bought a '63 Buick Special, V6 3 speed and drove the Ford to a junk yard because it had completely rusted out. In 1965, he bought a '65 Fury I 4 door with a 318 and 3 speed and finally got rid of the '51 Plymouth - which had outlasted the '58 Ford. In 1969, he bought a base Dodge Dart, slant 6, 3 speed and they became a 3 car family, turning the Special over to my cousin who had gotten his license. Finally, in 1971, my aunt prevailed and they bought a 71 Impala with automatic, power steering and power brakes. Once the Dart gave up the ghost in 1982 and was replaced with a Chevy Citation, they never had a manual transmission car again. After the 71 Impala and a 78 Impala, they switched to Honda and Subaru, even an Audi 1.8T. My uncle passed at 92 last year. The year before he died, they traded the Audi for another Legacy which my aunt is still driving.

Edited by John_Maine (see edit history)
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While in high school in the early 70s, two of my friends had full sized cars with standard transmissions.

One friend had a 1966 Dodge Coronet with a 383, bench seat, and factory 4 speed. This car was dark blue with a blue interior.

Another friend had a 1965 Chevy Impala. This car had a 409 (early production) , bench seat, and factory 4 speed. This car was a silver blue with black interior. This was a non SS vehicle.

These cars were in the Dayton OH area, I have not seen either one in almost 40 years.

Kevin

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Im high school my buddy Kenny ordered a new red '62 Pontiac Catalina 2dr H.T. with a 3 spd column shift.

At that time I had a 'white '58 Impala 348 with a 3 spd column shift (think American Graffiti).

Then a black '59 Biscayne with a 3 spd column shift. 283 Fulie.

Later on I had a '65 Impala 4 dr H.T. with a Auto, 6 cyl engine.

On L.I. years ago a guy had a blue '64 Impala SS, Auto, 6 cyl.

On e-bay a few years ago someone was selling a '64 Impala SS with a factory 3 spd on the column- Very rare car as it has a blanked out floor console.

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Im high school my buddy Kenny ordered a new red '62 Pontiac Catalina 2dr H.T. with a 3 spd column shift.

At that time I had a 'white '58 Impala 348 with a 3 spd column shift (think American Graffiti).

Then a black '59 Biscayne with a 3 spd column shift. 283 Fulie.

Later on I had a '65 Impala 4 dr H.T. with a Auto, 6 cyl engine.

On L.I. years ago a guy had a blue '64 Impala SS, Auto, 6 cyl.

On e-bay a few years ago someone was selling a '64 Impala SS with a factory 3 spd on the column- Very rare car as it has a blanked out floor console.

That '62 Pontiac just reminded me of the black one with red interior that I could have had cheap when I worked at a Standard filling station when I was in high school. The only problem was that it always jumped out of second gear. I passed on it because I figured that it needed a cluster gear, and where would I locate one and what would it cost. It would have been nice to have the internet back then.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I had a 55 Oldsmobile 88 2 door hardtop 3 speed on the column. It had a radio delete plate, but I put in stock radio from the junk yard at a cost of about $10. I bought from the original owner, an elderly accountant and it only had 44K back in 1965. It ran very good! Sure would like to have that car back.

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  • 3 years later...

I have a 69 oldsmobile delta 88 convertible with a 455 2 barrel and three on the tree. It is true that gm used a ford top loader for big block applications. The transmission case has fomoco cast in the case. The speedo cable is driven of the front wheel. These cars have 2.93 gears in back. Car has a ton of torque and pulls like a frieght train at interstate speeds. My car was a stripper car. No power brakes and no power steering. Definitely no a/c. Only options are the 455 and posi. Love it.

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When I was in high school I picked up a 1965 Malibu SS 2 dr hardtop. The car was an original 327 4 speed car.  When I bought it in 1984 for $700  it had a Pontiac 389 with a Ford 3 speed top loader transmission.  I won a few races back then.  How I wish I still had that car and my 1966 Chevy C10 fleetside short bed with an original 283.  :(

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