Considering the premise behind taking on the '79 Chevy Big 10 as Custom Classic Trucks' latest addition to its fleet of in-house project trucks is to evaluate and report on the most advanced technology available for '73-87 Chevrolet C-10s in the latter part of the 21st century's first decade, the choice would have to be something revolutionary.

Right off the bat, dependability was a concern, and coupled with a warning from one of our custom car editors that the number one failure on Street Rodder's Road Tour and Rod & Custom's Americruise cars has most often been the transmission, I knew I was going to have to do my homework on the subject.

This brings us to why out of all the automatic transmissions available on the market today I chose to go with a Gear Star Stage 2.5 4L60E equipped with an HGM Compushift programmable controller. One of the facts that I based my decision on was how pleased I have been with the performance and reliability of the 4L60E that came as standard equipment in the '05 GMC Sierra I bought brand-new. Even with a small 5.3L (325-inch) V-8, my '05 GMC tows a tandem car trailer loaded with anything from a '72 F-100 to a '66 C-10, and the 4L60E, with its computer controls, finds the right gear at the right time to provide brisk acceleration with impressive gas mileage. By impressive, I mean around 15 mpg at 55 mph with the cruise control on. Narrowing it down to why I chose Gear Star was the fact that every transmission built by Gear Star is assigned from start to finish (core to complete) to one master builder right up until the Gear Star tranny is hooked up to an Axiline transmission dyno and put through its paces before it's crated up for shipping. Knowing Gear Star has a policy of performance-testing each and every transmission really took the worry out of anticipating a dud.