Q: Dual-Gate Shifter Installation for Automatic
I want to put a Dual-Gate Shifter in my Firebird. Does anyone have any tips or recommendations?
A: I recently did a dual-gate installation on my 68. I talked with someone several times about the details of making this installation work who installed a GTO console and shifter, and I looked for a long time at other ways to get the GTO shifter into the Bird. I finally used a Hurst dual-gate shifter out of a 442. It is the exact same size and form as the shifter out of the Firebirds — even the mounting holes matched. The console fits smoothly over the shifter. Its not quite as “beefy” as the GTO model shifter, but I don’t think I will ever break it. The 442 model has a “bent” stick, where the GTO model is straight. The bent stick puts the stick a little closer to the driver, plus I like the looks better. The 442 shifter also has a little more positive locking system when using the manual side.
Since the GTO shifter plate was smaller than the Bird’s, it didn’t cover the hole in the console. I cut out the middle of the Firebird shifter bezel and “transplanted” the GTO shifter plate into the hole using JB weld. I made a custom woodgrain insert out of a piece of walnut veneer to fit the new piece; it’s sexy!
If you’ve never used a dual-gate, it has two slots for the shifter — a “hers” side, which works like a normal shifter, and a “his” side, which shifts the gears manually. It gives you the ability to manually work up through the gears and back down on an automatic without worrying about missing a gear or hitting reverse.
BTW, a 1968 Bird that won best of show at last year’s T/A Nationals had a 442 dual-gate installed.
A: know a couple guys were interested in pics of my dual gate shifter installation using a 442 shifter. I borrowed a digital camera, so here they are. There’s also some pics of the GTO dual gate shifter I have, as well as a pic of GTOKens dual gate install of a GTO shifter.
GTO Dual Gate and Bracket:
442 Dual Gate and Plate
Standard and Dual Gate Plates:
Modified Dual Gate Plate – Front:
Modified Dual Gate Plate – Back:
Dual Gate in Console – Top:
Dual Gate in Console – Side:
A: that looks great how did you modify the shifter plate.
A: The pic of the back of the plate shows how I fit the smaller GTO bezel into the larger Firebird one. I marked the ‘Bird plate with the GTO outline,
took a Dremel with a cutting wheel and cut a hole to fit. Then I ground the lip off the GTO plate and used JB Weld to hold it in the Firebird shell. I added a couple of gussets to beef it up.
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Content last modified: January 16, 2014 at 9:13 pm