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Columbia overdrive


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Sorry to sound like a stupid woman, but could anyone out there tell me what a Columbia overdrive is, where it is, and how it works. I'm thinking about buying a LZ that has one.

Thanks

Carol

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Hi Carol, congraulations on your good taste, a Lincoln Zephyr or Continental is not the most sophisticated car mechanically, but they are certainly one of the most aesthetic ever produced. To answer your question, the Columbia Overdrives were sold as optional equipment by Ford and Lincoln dealers, they were available from 1936 to 1941, they are a 2 speed rear axle shifted from the drivers compartment, in standard, your car will have a 4:44 rear end gear ratio, a very low ratio, but good for getting the large car away smartly from a dead stop, as you reach cruising speed, you shift the Columbia in to Overdrive, this changes the ratio from 4:44 to I believe about 3:50 to 1, this make the car cruise at higher speed with less engine RPM's and is said to reduce wear, is quieter and more comfortable, and provide better gas mileage, the later models did the same thing with a Borg Warner electric OD, on the rear of the transission, but the Columbia is the correct unit for the earlier cars, hope that helps, OC

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Really??? That is interesting, where did you buy one and have it installed then, the Ford dealer?? I don't think there were Columbia sale facilities around then were there?? Very interesting, wonder what a unit for a Ford or Merc sold for?? In prewar dollars of course, glad you told us that, I always thought it was a factory option, just like the LZ's. OC

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  • 2 months later...

It was mentioned that is was available from '36 to '41, but I understand that the Borg Warner overdrive unit is what was offered in '41. Were both offered for '41 or do I have some wrong information?

Thanks

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That is a fascinating bit of trivia, which Ford used to it's advantage, they offered both OD's in '41, and you could order a car with both installed, which was the way LZ won its class in an economy run, not very practical really, as the overall gear ratio became ridiculously high with both OD's engaged, would probally idle at 40MPH, as long as the road was perfectly level, funny stuff, OC

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