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4 on the tree - '55 chevy

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by KCTA Chris, Oct 4, 2012.

  1. KCTA Chris
    Joined: Jan 16, 2002
    Posts: 409

    KCTA Chris

    Say I was letting my mind wander to a strange place and thought my wagon needed to loose the floor shifter and hang it back up on the column.

    Does a 4 speed column shift exist in Chevy land, better yet a bolt in for the '55?

    Just a thought, it soon may pass.
  2. Cosmo49
    Joined: Jan 15, 2007
    Posts: 1,156


    Regular column shifter for the four speeds, shift to neutral, use a pull cable for reverse, easy, been done.
  3. Nope......close the medicine cabinet Chris
  4. SuRfAcE_RuSt
    Joined: Sep 22, 2010
    Posts: 594


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  5. Actually there has been a 4 speed column shifter and they came in the early Chevy vans,,around 68 as far as I remember. HRP
  6. seriously Chris, my main concern would be the quality of shift....those old Hurst's were great, I wonder how slick a column 4 speed could shift.......
  7. diamond jeff
    Joined: Sep 6, 2012
    Posts: 61

    diamond jeff
    from montana

    I believe early econolines' had a four on the tree option also.
  8. subneil56
    Joined: Nov 13, 2009
    Posts: 140

    from bristol vt

    does anyone have any pic of what this looks like i also have thought about this ,i have a 56 suburban
  9. We just had a thread on this a while back. A bunch of older foreign cars had such a thing as well. Try doing a search on it -
  10. If anyone really wants to know about how slick a 4 speed column shift they need to find an '59 Borgward and take it for a spin. Blaaaaah :p

    I think that Cosmo49 nailed it for a hot rodder. Make sure that your column shift is all up to par and run with it.

    An Over Drive handle and cable would work like a champ and stop any car thief that took it for a joy ride.
    olscrounger and Tickety Boo like this.
  11. shadetreerodder
    Joined: Aug 4, 2006
    Posts: 291


    I have never seen one for a 55. However many European manufacturers made them. I had a 66 SAAB that had four on the tree. You had to pull the lever slightly out from the column, then pull toward the driver, then upward as if going into first to engage reverse. They made it hard to hit reverse so you couldn't engage it accidentally while shifting through the forward gears. Worked quite well. Had a friend who owned a 57 Mercedes in high school that also used this same setup.
  12. No,they were never in 55 Chevy's but when building Hot Rods anything can be done if your willing to do some research and if your lucky enough to find a old Chevorlet van that has a 4 speed column and transmission. HRP
  13. Ralphies54
    Joined: Dec 18, 2009
    Posts: 726


    Have a friend with one in his 55 chevy, works very well although I don't think it speedshifts to fast. Reverse is a lever and cable under the seat.
    olscrounger likes this.
  14. Jay Tyrrell
    Joined: Dec 9, 2007
    Posts: 1,631

    Jay Tyrrell

    Hey anything can be done. When I was in Cuba the cab that I was in had the original steering column and shifter and the guy was getting 5 speeds out of the column shift! Don't ask me how he did it but it was really cool. All I could get from him was that it (of course) was a linkage modification. The car had a 5 spped transmission and a "newer" diesel style engine out of a toyota.
  15. KCTA Chris
    Joined: Jan 16, 2002
    Posts: 409

    KCTA Chris

    im not wild about the reverse cable but understand how thats the easier set up. I might let the idea pass and keep one eye open for a van column.

    Still for a kid fom the eighties, banging gear off the tree looks like something I need to experience. Grinding gears and missed shifts... Not so much.

    Sent from my DROID device using the TJJ mobile app
  16. Larry T
    Joined: Nov 24, 2004
    Posts: 7,680

    Larry T

    You mean you've missed the joy of coasting off the side of the road, popping the hood, and getting the linkage on the column out of the bind they're in because you "missed it" while shifting between low and second (3 speed column shift) and hung everything up? There is a reason Hurst shifters were popular in the 60's.
  17. 56sedandelivery
    Joined: Nov 21, 2006
    Posts: 6,259


    This topic comes up every once in a while, but no one has ever posted pictures of a working setup. THAT, is what I'd like to see. Not saying it has'nt been done, I just want to see it for myself. I've never seen a Chevrolet, or Ford, van with a 4 speed column shift either; same deal, I want to see it for myself. I'm not a pessimist, or an optimist; I'm a realist. Butch/56sedandelivery.
  18. Rickybop
    Joined: May 23, 2008
    Posts: 6,511

    from Michigan

  19. DrJ
    Joined: Mar 3, 2001
    Posts: 9,422


    Late '50's Simcas had coumn 4 speed shifters.
    Maybe you can adapt one.
  20. Hi DRJ,
    Not to totally disagree with you on this- but for the most part foriegn engineering such as Simcas for example was usually a step backwards for a guy used to slammin a Hurst Comp' Plus shifter........Remember guys being "different" usually is not always an improvement.

  21. el Scotto
    Joined: Mar 3, 2004
    Posts: 4,351

    el Scotto
    from Tracy, CA

    Maybe he wants more "head" room! :eek: ;)
  22. mt94ss
    Joined: Jul 25, 2010
    Posts: 310


    Hahahaha!!! I did that a few times in the Dodge flat nose pickup. I hated it, and miss it sometimes. If you drive it like an old lady you will be fine. That should tell you something.
  23. Kansas Old School
    Joined: Sep 16, 2011
    Posts: 38

    Kansas Old School
    from Kansas

    While in Okinawa in the 70"s I regularly drove a small nissan bus with a 5 speed on the tree, never seen one here though
    Skankin' Rat Fink likes this.
  24. Rickybop
    Joined: May 23, 2008
    Posts: 6,511

    from Michigan

    True, choprods...but it can serve a purpose...not just to be "different". Some guys who own '40s/'50s cars with a later drivetrain (4-5 speed trans) want to retain the column shifter for a stock appearance. They don't like a shifter on the floor, because to some, it looks a little out of place. Going fast/shifting fast isn't always the main priority.
  25. RDR
    Joined: May 30, 2009
    Posts: 1,352


    HRP has the answer.....'68 Chev or GMC van had the optional 4 speed on the column.
    I drove one when working for GMC Truck and Coach in 1968..Had no problem speed shifting the 4 speed and the van hauled with a V8/4spd...
    If you ever find that column from a donor van and need the shift lever for it, I know where a NOS 4 pattern shift lever is!:eek:
  26. fleetside66
    Joined: Nov 20, 2006
    Posts: 2,541


    My buddy's '59 Saab had one & that's about the only thing that didn't fail on it.
  27. Kevin Lee
    Joined: Nov 12, 2001
    Posts: 7,409

    Kevin Lee
    Super Moderator
    Staff Member

    You're bored.

    Stop thinking about changing the 55... and do not do anything to the A either.
  28. Yeah Cris, just get a new:D project and then get goin on that!

  29. KCTA Chris
    Joined: Jan 16, 2002
    Posts: 409

    KCTA Chris

    Oh... I got a good one coming in a couple weeks.
    Getting it here will take me through Macon way too!

    '55 is in process of an engine swap and you know since the trany was out and the paint gun was loaded. But starting to think the column might not be the best idea.

  30. graverobber63
    Joined: Sep 8, 2004
    Posts: 4,135

    Alliance Vendor

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