Gallery: “Comeback Cuda” Gets Passon 4-speed Overdrive Manual


The “Comeback ‘Cuda” was originally an automatic transmission, slap stick, console car. The transmission drove and shifted well, but leaked badly. After the mishap with the local deer herd and the solid stone mailbox the auto had to go.

While the “Comeback ‘Cuda” was at the AMD Installation Center and the Hemi was re-assembled and on the stand, we contacted our friend and Mopar Connection Magazine sponsoring advertiser Jamie Passon of Passon Performance. Our previously published article on getting a complete 4-speed conversion from Passon got us thinking.

Above left: The crate Jamie uses to ship the 4-speed overdrive transmission is solid and well built. The UPS man was not real happy about the 149 pound package. But with our help we unloaded the crate into the shop. The outside of the shipping crate appeared to be unscathed by UPS. Above right: After unscrewing and removing two of the panels it was clear as to why Passon ships these transmissions in such a container. Someone along the route between Passon Performance and Nashville had dropped the crate and there was enough force to shatter the two cross braces. After close examination, fortunately the transmission was undamaged.

Above left: Hemi flywheel, clutch and pressure plate, throw out bearing, and correct bolts, are all brand new and matched so assembly will be trouble free. 18-spline alignment tool comes with the package. Above right: 18-spline, over drive gears, 4-speed, all housed in an original case. A thing of beauty ready to be installed without having to paint it. The tail housing is the correct 1970 dual shifter mount. In 1969 the tail housing would only have the front shifter mount and the 1971 tail housing only has the rear shifter mount.

We knew we wanted to change the ‘Cuda to a 4-speed, and had heard that Jamie was building original 18-spline 4-speed A-833’s with different gears so that they would have an all original bolt-in overdrive manual transmission. Here is a link to the Passon website with all the details about how this transmission is built.

Since we needed to keep the “Comeback ‘Cuda”’s completely stock appearance (but wanted increased drivability), we contacted Jamie and after a few questions about what 4-speed parts we already had and what we needed to make the swap, the order was placed. In an amazingly short amount of time the UPS guy showed up at the shop and said, “I have a really big crate and several boxes for you.” In the near future, we will have a full blown tech article on this amazing transmission but for now we just couldn’t wait to share the goodies.

Above left: New Bell housing and inspection cover come in natural condition. They both were on the engine before paint, so you need to paint them with the same paint you used on the engine. Above right: Using the late Hemi orange paint we got from Frank Badalson at Auto Restoration Parts, I shoot a quick couple of passes on the bell housing and inspection cover. We also shot the bolts and the clip for the transmission pig tail wire.

Above left: Everything needed to make the transformation from automatic transmission to 4-speed, pistol grip, over drive manual is provided by Passon Performance. Correct length rods, correct shifter, correct mounts, correct bolts, correct wiring, shift boot and bezel, dash reverse light, clutch z bar, everything! Above right: OK, we do not want to mislead you with this pic. The 18-spline, 4-speed, overdrive manual transmission comes painted but not complete with inspection marks. In a future article, we will show you how to make your own stamps and what marks are where on the front suspension, rear end, transmission, and other accessories. 677 is the correct number for the 1970 E-body Hemi 4-speed.

Above left: Detail, detail, detail. The clutch/throw out bearing arm was attached to the bell housing before it was painted. So, it will have overspray engine color. Above center: The clutch arm boot is installed after paint so it is natural. The boot is complete with the detailed Pentastar and part number. Above right: The correct shifter mounting plate and bolts are provided. The rear perch is correct for the 1970 E-body application.

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Mike Wilkins

Technical Editor Michael Wilkins is a lifelong Mopar owner, restorer, and car enthusiast, as well as a respected judge of OE Plymouth and Dodge B-Bodies. Wilkins has spent nearly half a century driving, racing, and restoring some of the finest Mopars in the US, earning several Antique Automobile of America Grand National Senior awards, Mopar National Best of Show and first place awards, and a co-author of "The Chrysler B-Body Restoration Guide."

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