Ford in a Ford, with a Ford and a Ford (a Ford truck with a Ford engine, backed with a Ford transmission and a Ford rearend). If this isn't a formula for a pure-blooded Blue Oval, then what is?

As the final hours toward the finale of the build-off against Classic Trucks draws near the deadline, the competition is rapidly heating up to a boil. Not even thinking about Grant Peterson considering a Vortec blower, but to compete against his '68 F-100 with its factory-backed and built Ford Racing Performance Parts '05-07 SOHC 4.6 three-valve engine and Tremec five-speed transmission, the odds really do not sound good for Custom Classic Trucks' entry still powered by the original 302 V-8 truck motor the F-100 left Ford's final assembly plant with. But that's OK, because I believe we do have an ace in the hole, or should I say holeshot, thanks to a super-slick setup from our friends at Gear Vendors of El Cajon, California. It's called a Gear Vendors 8-Speed, and in this instance it is based around a Ford T&C RUG-TOD top-loader, a tried-and-true transmission that harkens back to the days of pure Detroit muscle. Utilizing the Ford four-speed tranny coupled with Gear Vendors' gear-splitting Under/Overdrive, the deep 4.56:1 drag-racing gears in our '72's Moser Fab 9 rearend culminate with a super-steep final ratio of 2.46:1 gearing that would do a Bonneville racer proud.

Here's how it works: With the Ford top-loader's first-gear ratio of 3.29 fed into a 4.56 rearend, it becomes 15.00. Now, with a push of the button mounted on the thumb side of a Hurst T-handle pistol-grip shift knob, a full-power clutchless shift using the Gear Vendors unit transforms it to 11.67 within an instant. From here, second-gear's 1.84 into 4.56 becomes 8.39 and then instantly 6.52 with a blip of the shift knob's button. Third at 1.00 naturally fed into a 4.56:1 rearend will still be 4.56, but with the switch to the Gear Vendors overdrive, it becomes a final ratio of 3.56:1. For our seventh-gear shift into our top-speed of eight, the Ford RUG-TOD's 0.69 overdrive fed into the 4.56 rearend becomes 3.15:1, and the last clutchless button-activated shift cranks the 3.15s up to a staggeringly high 2.46:1 final ratio. Needless to say, with a Gear Vendors 8-Speed coupled to my poor little small-block 302, it's going to be very interesting to see how the '72 fares against Grant's high-tech '68 equipped with a 3.55:1 rearend.

In keeping with my effort to build the '72 F-100 for as little as possible and not exceed the capabilities of an annual salary that's less than a 17-year-old kid earns flipping burgers at McDonald's, the Ford RUG-TOD top-loader was bought off of eBay for $100 and rebuilt for an additional $300.

For more information about making this particular 8-Speed conversion or to discover an endless assortment of amazing combinations possible with a Gear Vendors gear-splitting Under/Overdrive, please feel free to contact Gear Vendors.

Gear Vendors
Hurst Shifters
a Mr. Gasket Company
OH  44144
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