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#1 Derwent Motorsport

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Posted 05 April 2010 - 18:36

I got my son in law worried the other day when he proudly announced his new company Mondeo has a six speed gearbox. I pointed out that my 1970 MG B did as well! :lol:
it made me wonder what the last car with overdrive was. Obviously MG B's had them until 1981 but was there any use after that as 5 speed gearboxes started to come in?

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#2 f1steveuk

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Posted 05 April 2010 - 18:38

I think Land Rovers still have overdrive as an option, I think!

#3 h4887

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Posted 05 April 2010 - 19:14

I got my son in law worried the other day when he proudly announced his new company Mondeo has a six speed gearbox. I pointed out that my 1970 MG B did as well! :lol:
it made me wonder what the last car with overdrive was. Obviously MG B's had them until 1981 but was there any use after that as 5 speed gearboxes started to come in?


My TR3 had seven!

#4 D-Type

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Posted 05 April 2010 - 20:34

Did the Allegro have 5 gears or was it a 4-speed box with a very high (equivalent to an overdrive) ratio in 4th.

#5 Geoff E

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Posted 05 April 2010 - 20:37

Did the Allegro have 5 gears or was it a 4-speed box with a very high (equivalent to an overdrive) ratio in 4th.


The Maxi had a five speed box ... was it the same one I wonder?


#6 D-Type

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Posted 05 April 2010 - 20:59

On reflection, I think it was the Maxi I had in mind. :blush:


This month's signature justification?


Edited by D-Type, 06 April 2010 - 11:32.


#7 Sebastian Tombs

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Posted 05 April 2010 - 22:09

f1steveuk said "I think Land Rovers still have overdrive as an option, I think!"

'Fraid not, sir, in fact they never did as a factory option. The Fairey Overdrive was an aftermarket add-on for Series I thro' III. The Fairey was continued in production as the Roverdrive by SuperWinch and a similar product was available, made by Toro, on the Santana. Currently a Canadian outfit called Rockymountain (sic) make an improved, but similar, product.

Current Defenders have 12 gears anyway! 6 in both high and low ratio, 14 if you count the 2 reverse gears :-)

#8 Frank S

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Posted 06 April 2010 - 00:04

My TR3 had seven!

By the time the TR7 was on the market, five-speed gearboxes were the solution to lowering cruising revs.

In contrast, I had a 1955 (BN-1) Austin-Healey with three-plus-overdrive in a reversed (to me) pattern. I removed the plate that blocked shifting into the stump-puller first gear, to give it four forward, plus.

Plus, when I got it, it had no wiring for the overdrive, or even a solenoid. I connected a stiff piece of electrical wire to the overdrive lever, drilled a hole in the trans cover, put a slice of bicycle inner tube on the cockpit end which slipped over a dash knob to hold it in overdrive. Worked great. I actually did run through the eight speeds forward a time or two, but with a five-miles-per-hour top speed in first, it really didn't merit frequent use.

Harry Codianne told about racing the BN-2s at Sebring, and wiring the overdrive to a momentary foot-operated switch: foot on, overdrive; foot off, straight drive.

I had (have) overdrive on my 1967 MG BGT, and it really spoiled me for when I got a 1967 Tourer, without.

My 2008 Mustang has a "four-speed plus overdrive" transmission. I guess that is talking about internal gearing rather than an external overdrive unit. The 2009 Mustang has an overdrive fifth gear.


#9 giffo

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Posted 06 April 2010 - 00:36

While not an answer to the original question it is in part a conversation that I get into from time to time with some of the gen Y lot.
They find it quite inconceivable that (in my case my 1969 Triumph TR6) had in fuel injection, fully independent suspension, a seven speed transmission (overdrive on 2nd, 3rd & 4th) all as standard plus 4 wheel disc brakes. Not std on the rear but they don’t need to know that.
This was nothing new in that time but I think it still took GMH in Australia until sometime after about 1990 before similar kit was std on Commodores

#10 Wilyman

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Posted 06 April 2010 - 00:48

Up to the 1990's Volvo's 4 cyl engines including the turbo's with M45 trans had overdrive. It was the ubiquitous Laycock unit.
For longevity the O/D operated on 4th gear only. The turbos had a switching system that would cause a momentary missfire to take the shock off the O/D when engaged.

I wonder what the life expectation was on the older type Laycock units when they could be engaged on almost every gear? [Healeys, Triumphs etc.]

Edited by Wilyman, 11 April 2010 - 03:24.


#11 EcosseF1

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Posted 06 April 2010 - 01:59

Up to the 1980's Volvo's 4 cyl engines including the turbo's with M45 trans had overdrive. It was the ubiquitous Laycock unit.
For longevity the O/D operated on 4th gear only. The turbos had a switching system that would cause a momentary missfire to take the shock off the O/D when engaged.

Volvo used versions of that transmission up to the mid 1990's. My 1993 940 turbo had an M46 which was a 4sp w/overdrive 5th. The manual advised dipping the clutch before engaging it, otherwise it juddered somewhat!

Edited by EcosseF1, 06 April 2010 - 02:03.


#12 Ray Bell

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Posted 06 April 2010 - 09:57

This is all without mentioning the Borg-Warner overdrive, the style of which I don't think was unique to B-W, but they made many millions of them...

They were a solenoid-engaged unit for the most part (some early ones were vacuum or similar) and operated more or less automatically once the control cable freed them to do so. They had a governor so they wouldn't engage below about 23mph and once that speed was reached, merely lifting the foot off the pedal for a moment engaged the overdrive and it stayed there until either the kickdown was operated or the speed dropped below 23mph and there was no drive being taken.

Very robust, they were fitted to a ridiculous number of cars. All the Chrysler range at some time or other, Studebakers, Nash, a great many Fords, probably some GM lines as well, the Austin/Morris/Wolesley sixes of the fifties and early sixties and then they were made under licence for the Crown by Toyota.

Galaxies had them in the early sixties, this being the R11 unit which was bigger than the R10 most cars with smaller engines had, and this one also went into a lot of mid-sixties Chev pickups.

Let's not forget, either, that a lot of cars had overdrive top gears. For what they were worth. VW sold a lot of cars by spruiking about their overdriven top, Peugeot had them from the 203 to the 403 and the Fiat 1900B had an overdrive fifth gear in the early fifties as well.

#13 f1steveuk

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Posted 06 April 2010 - 10:46

f1steveuk said "I think Land Rovers still have overdrive as an option, I think!"

'Fraid not, sir, in fact they never did as a factory option. The Fairey Overdrive was an aftermarket add-on for Series I thro' III. The Fairey was continued in production as the Roverdrive by SuperWinch and a similar product was available, made by Toro, on the Santana. Currently a Canadian outfit called Rockymountain (sic) make an improved, but similar, product.

Current Defenders have 12 gears anyway! 6 in both high and low ratio, 14 if you count the 2 reverse gears :-)


Hence the sticker on the back, "Overdrive by Fairey"!!! Shouldn't have "thought!!"

#14 Ray Bell

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Posted 06 April 2010 - 11:29

While on the subject of overdrives 'still made by...'...

The Laycock de Normanville type is made and sold as an aftermarket unit (in fairly large numbers, I'd suggest) by Gearvendors in the US.

#15 Odseybod

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Posted 06 April 2010 - 12:59

This is all without mentioning the Borg-Warner overdrive, the style of which I don't think was unique to B-W, but they made many millions of them...

They were a solenoid-engaged unit for the most part (some early ones were vacuum or similar) and operated more or less automatically once the control cable freed them to do so. They had a governor so they wouldn't engage below about 23mph and once that speed was reached, merely lifting the foot off the pedal for a moment engaged the overdrive and it stayed there until either the kickdown was operated or the speed dropped below 23mph and there was no drive being taken.


Not the most reassuring device, I'd imagine if you lifted off approaching a cotrner or other hazard, expecting some useful engine braking, and instead found yourself coasting along in a higher gear ratio. One of those 'seemed a good idea at the time' sort of devices.


#16 Garagiste

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Posted 06 April 2010 - 13:12

My brothers Toyota Previa has o/d on its auto box.

#17 David Birchall

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Posted 06 April 2010 - 17:03

Presuming-as most seem to have-that the original question was about separate overdrive units, Volvo used them up until 1995 in the 940. That unit was the 'P' type which is somewhat larger than the earlier 'J' type units and the even earlier 'A' type units that were used in Healeys and TRs etc. They were generally very reliable units. I worked for Volvo through the eighties and I cannot recall a unit ever needing replacing. The lining might wear out if the unit is abused with 'power shifting' but they were/are surprisingly reliable. I acquired one to fit to my 1935 Derby Bentley but haven't got around to it yet...

#18 timnevinson

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Posted 06 April 2010 - 17:58

they weren't that reliable. The Dolomite (laycock?) one used to seize in, meaning you couldn't use reverse

#19 David Birchall

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Posted 06 April 2010 - 19:04

they weren't that reliable. The Dolomite (laycock?) one used to seize in, meaning you couldn't use reverse


Well, they are not idiot proof, no...

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#20 Ray Bell

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Posted 06 April 2010 - 22:50

Originally posted by Odseybod
Not the most reassuring device, I'd imagine if you lifted off approaching a corner or other hazard, expecting some useful engine braking, and instead found yourself coasting along in a higher gear ratio. One of those 'seemed a good idea at the time' sort of devices.


You had engine braking, but as you note, if it was at a time that you were about to go into overdrive from another gear then it would be in that higher ratio.

Please don't deride the unit like that. If you were on the pace with your driving you'd know what was coming. A simple pull of the knob would put it back into direct drive and you'd have full engine braking anyway. And there's nothing to stop you slamming it back a gear, is there? Overdrive second is lower than direct third.

Ask Twinny what he reckons.

Edited by Ray Bell, 06 April 2010 - 22:56.


#21 eldougo

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Posted 07 April 2010 - 01:44

Posted Image
By
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A few images from unknown source in On Four Wheels No 81.

Edited by eldougo, 07 April 2010 - 01:45.


#22 Odseybod

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Posted 07 April 2010 - 08:48

Please don't deride the unit like that. If you were on the pace with your driving you'd know what was coming. A simple pull of the knob would put it back into direct drive and you'd have full engine braking anyway. And there's nothing to stop you slamming it back a gear, is there? Overdrive second is lower than direct third.


Ah, shame we're not all perfect and that all hazards aren't predictable, otherwise it would be fine. But I can imagine (for instance) being halfway round a bend that tightens unexpectedly, or accelerating to overtake a car that chooses that moment to pull out to do its own overtake - both occasions when you''d lift off, reasdonably expecting some engine braking to help you, only to find yourself in a higher than intended ratio. On both occasions, you'd almost certainly have disengaged your Laycock o/d beforehand, confident that it wouldn't intervene of its own accord - but would you have felt the need to switch out your BW one, if you were already in direct drive? In the second example, your BW unit might also have been disengaged by the kickdown when yu accelerated to overtake - only to re-engage itself when you least want it. I still think it's a fundamentally flawed concept, which is why the Laycock (de Normanville) type won the day and became the accepted way of doing things.

Must say I loved the o/d on my Triumph 2000 and 2.5 PI saloons, way back when - great fun haveing a choice of direct third, overdrive third, direct top and overdrive top (all different ratios) to play with. And the Fairey overdrive in my old Series Land-Rover makes it a much less raucous cruiser, as well as adding the kudos of a fourth tranmission lever in the cabin - just have to renmember to declutch when engaging/disengaging, as it's actually an extra mechanical gearbox on the end of the main one, with no electrickery involved.

#23 Ray Bell

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Posted 07 April 2010 - 09:21

Originally posted by Odseybod
Ah, shame we're not all perfect and that all hazards aren't predictable, otherwise it would be fine. But I can imagine (for instance) being halfway round a bend that tightens unexpectedly, or accelerating to overtake a car that chooses that moment to pull out to do its own overtake - both occasions when you'd lift off, reasonably expecting some engine braking to help you, only to find yourself in a higher than intended ratio. On both occasions, you'd almost certainly have disengaged your Laycock o/d beforehand, confident that it wouldn't intervene of its own accord - but would you have felt the need to switch out your BW one, if you were already in direct drive? In the second example, your BW unit might also have been disengaged by the kickdown when yu accelerated to overtake - only to re-engage itself when you least want it. I still think it's a fundamentally flawed concept, which is why the Laycock (de Normanville) type won the day and became the accepted way of doing things.....


I'm beginning to believe you haven't grasped a couple of concepts here...

First, I realise hazards are unpredictable. But let's see how your first suggestion goes.

You're going round a bend. What gear are you in? If you backed off into the bend you're in overdrive, whether that be overdrive second or overdrive third. You have engine braking. But in most cases you would have been fully engaged in overdrive before you backed off for the bend, so there are definitely no surprises there, and when the bend tightens unexpectedly, you still know where you stand because you're still in the gear you chose to be in, not in a 'higher than intended ratio'.

If, however, it's a screaming uphill bend and you're nailing it so that it's kicked down to direct, then you're right, it will slip into overdrive (in whatever gear you're in) and you'd have that reduced level of engine braking. But again, if you've driven the car for a day or two you know what to expect.

Now... your overtaking example... so you dab the brakes? Frankly, you're clutching at staws here, I've driven hundreds of thousands of miles in these cars and they're fine.

The other concept that's giving you trouble is their success in the marketplace. When you say 'Laycock (de Normanville) won the day', you're assuming that they sold more units, I guess?

Wrong. I would suggest that Borg-Warner sold more of theirs in just the fifties than Laycocks did ever.

#24 Allan Lupton

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Posted 07 April 2010 - 11:10

Without really taking sides I think Tony and Ray must have rather different approaches to road driving, possibly due to their locations - Queensland is very different from our crowded island and always was.

It is probably more a case of those who prefer to control everything and those who like the systems to sort themselves out. As an example, (except perhaps in heavily-trafficed towns) I prefer to change my own gears believing that automatic transmissions spend too much of their time in the wrong gear. When I had an overdrive I was happy it was a Laycock with a simple on/off switch that I had control of and as it operated in all gears it gave me a very fast change in all sorts of useful places that a simple top-gear-only job would not have.

#25 Sharman

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Posted 07 April 2010 - 14:12

Must say I loved the o/d on my Triumph 2000 and 2.5 PI saloons, way back when - great fun haveing a choice of direct third, overdrive third, direct top and overdrive top (all different ratios) to play with. And the Fairey overdrive in my old Series Land-Rover makes it a much less raucous cruiser, as well as adding the kudos of a fourth tranmission lever in the cabin - just have to renmember to declutch when engaging/disengaging, as it's actually an extra mechanical gearbox on the end of the main one, with no electrickery involved.


The mention of 2.5 PIs brings to mind a trip I made to the Algarve in 71 or 2. I was, much to my surprise as I was cruising at about 4000 in o/d top, passed by a Ford Transit with RONDEL RACING writ large on the back doors. Pride pricked I tried to repass but could not make it even though I saw 6000 which must consittute a record for an unmodified 2.5. I just wonder what was powering the Transit. I assume that they went on to Pau which was on that weekend but the management had decided on the Chateau D'Artigney that night so I never got the chance to ask.


#26 Ray Bell

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Posted 07 April 2010 - 22:34

Originally posted by Allan Lupton
Without really taking sides I think Tony and Ray must have rather different approaches to road driving, possibly due to their locations - Queensland is very different from our crowded island and always was.....


Not different approaches, I wouldn't think, Allan...

Rather a different level of confidence. I'm quite certain I'd enjoy the Laycock style of overdrive as I'm not a driver you'd think typical in what you perceive Queensland to be. Yes, a great deal of Queensland is flat-tish and covered with straight roads, as is much of the rest of the continent, but most of what I do is in more hilly or even mountainous regions where spirited driving is a delight. I also drive on a large number of unsealed roads.

But while I would enjoy a Laycock unit, I don't see the negatives he sees in the Borg-Warner, which is obviously aimed at more mature driving.

.....It is probably more a case of those who prefer to control everything and those who like the systems to sort themselves out. As an example, (except perhaps in heavily-trafficed towns) I prefer to change my own gears believing that automatic transmissions spend too much of their time in the wrong gear. When I had an overdrive I was happy it was a Laycock with a simple on/off switch that I had control of and as it operated in all gears it gave me a very fast change in all sorts of useful places that a simple top-gear-only job would not have.


And the last I had a Borg-Warner I found it not to be working. So I rigged it all up so I could make it function as I wanted, using it as a 6-speed clutchless gearbox most of the time. Sure, there was no engine braking in the direct gears, but if you were looking for engine braking as you slowed you would change down and engage overdrive in that gear.

#27 Frank S

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Posted 08 April 2010 - 00:02

Not different approaches, I wouldn't think, Allan...

Rather a different level of confidence. I'm quite certain I'd enjoy the Laycock style of overdrive as I'm not a driver you'd think typical in what you perceive Queensland to be. Yes, a great deal of Queensland is flat-tish and covered with straight roads, as is much of the rest of the continent, but most of what I do is in more hilly or even mountainous regions where spirited driving is a delight. I also drive on a large number of unsealed roads.

But while I would enjoy a Laycock unit, I don't see the negatives he sees in the Borg-Warner, which is obviously aimed at more mature driving.



And the last I had a Borg-Warner I found it not to be working. So I rigged it all up so I could make it function as I wanted, using it as a 6-speed clutchless gearbox most of the time. Sure, there was no engine braking in the direct gears, but if you were looking for engine braking as you slowed you would change down and engage overdrive in that gear.


I believe engine braking in emergent or high-performance situations is overrated. Things happen so quickly that the trouble comes from not-enough foot braking, if anything, seems to me. I always treated the MG BGT's overdrive as just another transmission gear. I think I remember having to disconnect some relay or another to allow its use in third, and I definitely remember that it wasn't slow to answer when I needed it "in" or "out". I don't actually remembr if it had a "kickdown" feature.

My modern Mustangs don't have a great deal of initial engine braking: they seem to wait a bit to see if I'm serious before having much effect. Has to do with emissions, I'm certain.


#28 Allan Lupton

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Posted 08 April 2010 - 07:59

I always treated the MG BGT's overdrive as just another transmission gear. I think I remember having to disconnect some relay or another to allow its use in third, and I definitely remember that it wasn't slow to answer when I needed it "in" or "out". I don't actually remembr if it had a "kickdown" feature.

The Laycock O/D was often arranged to be "top gear only" by using a selector-operated on-switch but other installations had several selector-operated off-switches, and I presume your MGB was like that. I don't think any Laycock O/D was arranged for "kickdown", although it wouldn't be hard to do.
The Sunbeam Rapier had the "on-switch" I think. What I do remember is that when the works rally cars first were rigged to have O/D in all the other gears there was no lock-out for reverse so backing up after a high-speed wrong slot broke the O/D. They did not continue with that mistake.


#29 RTH

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Posted 08 April 2010 - 11:24

it made me wonder what the last car with overdrive was. Obviously MG B's had them until 1981 but was there any use after that as 5 speed gearboxes started to come in?


The Nissan Cube, a' Postman Pat' shaped small box shaped people carrier launched in 2003 which became the biggest selling car in Japan has an overdrive with a switch on top of the gear knob.


#30 Odseybod

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Posted 08 April 2010 - 13:04

Not different approaches, I wouldn't think, Allan...

Rather a different level of confidence.


I'm not quite clear where confidence levels fit into this discussion. To me, it still seems counter-intuitive (if not downright unhelpful) for a transmission system to engage a higher ratio when you lift off the power. I freely admit I've no personal experience of the BW system in action but I suspect that for my type of driving, over the 2,000 miles I typically drive each month, it would be lumped with such 'helpful' devices as direction indicators that self-cancel prematurely, auto transmission that won't kickdown unless you're making a dent in the flooring, rain-activated windscreen wipers that aren't (but which won't let you override them), and ditto darkness-activated headlights (and ditto).

And I still maintain that it was the Laycock, not the BW, system that won the day - unless you've total production figures for each tyoe to prove me wrong? While the BW system may have been briefly popular in the 1950s, it was the Laycock type that manufacturers (at least, those here in the UK and Europe) specified during the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s and up until the present day, according to RTH's note on the Cube. The US may have persevered with the BW type for some of that period but I don't recall it being fitted to ANY European car during that time - which suggests to me that by then, the BW overdrive was a dead duck.

#31 Ray Bell

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Posted 08 April 2010 - 13:24

The British cars I knew were using the B-W unit in the sixties were the Austins and Wolseleys and Princess van den Plas models with the C-series engines. Maybe they were phased out about 1962? But there may have been others.

I can assure you that the numbers were huge and would easily eclipse any Laycock figures.

And I still see you as not understanding the system at all. You never get caught out with it in any way like you're suggesting. Never. You simply don't seem able to grasp this. And I knew that you'd never used the B-W overdrive without you saying, otherwise you'd never have made the comments you have.

And by the way, you mention automatics... don't they 'intuitively' engage a higher gear when you lift off?

With regard to the Cube, strangely, looking it up to see what it had I found a listing of gear ratios between 2.8+:1 for first and 0.697:1 for fifth, no mention of a separate overdrive unit...

However, that was the 2008 model.

Edited by Ray Bell, 08 April 2010 - 13:31.


#32 RTH

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Posted 08 April 2010 - 13:27

Completely by co-incidence on a 6 year old 'Top Gear' repeat last night, Clarkson was road testing a Cube and showed the overdrive button on the gear knob to the camera , saying it was 30 years since we last saw one of those !

#33 Odseybod

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Posted 08 April 2010 - 13:56

The British cars I knew were using the B-W unit in the sixties were the Austins and Wolseleys and Princess van den Plas models with the C-series engines. Maybe they were phased out about 1962? But there may have been others.

I can assure you that the numbers were huge and would easily eclipse any Laycock figures.


!950s British cars I know of using the Laycock system were Jaguar Mk VII/VII/X, 2.4/3.4.3.8 and XK140/150,, Triumph TR2/3/3a, Standard Vamguard Phase III/Sportsman/6, Ford Zephyr/Zodiac Mk 2s, Sunbeam Alpine/Rapier, Austin-Healey 100/100-6/3000 and the Aston Martin DB Mk III. Comparison betweem these and the cars you mention may give a clue about which type of overdrive was more appealing to a keen driver.

And sorry, but I'd prefer real figures to your 'assurance' about which type was made in greater numbers.

Edited by Odseybod, 08 April 2010 - 13:57.


#34 Ray Bell

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Posted 08 April 2010 - 14:04

Come on now...

Have you got 'real figures' for the Laycock de Normanville production?

In my A99's workshop manual there is a preface to the overdrive section which says something like, "The Borg-Warner overdrive is a very reliable unit and has been proved in millions of cars." That was in 1960 and they were still in use in Chryslers, Fords and Chevrolets in America, probably Studebakers and Ramblers as well, while several years of installation in the majority of Toyota Crowns must have accounted for a lot too.

I don't know if you've noticed or not, but I've already agreed that the Laycock would be a very enjoyable item. My problem here is that you know nothing about the Borg-Warner unit or how it works, have never experienced it, yet you make various statements about it being below par in some way.

It's too much like my wife would do.

#35 Odseybod

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Posted 08 April 2010 - 15:52

Come on now...

Have you got 'real figures' for the Laycock de Normanville production?

In my A99's workshop manual there is a preface to the overdrive section which says something like, "The Borg-Warner overdrive is a very reliable unit and has been proved in millions of cars." That was in 1960 and they were still in use in Chryslers, Fords and Chevrolets in America, probably Studebakers and Ramblers as well, while several years of installation in the majority of Toyota Crowns must have accounted for a lot too.

I don't know if you've noticed or not, but I've already agreed that the Laycock would be a very enjoyable item. My problem here is that you know nothing about the Borg-Warner unit or how it works, have never experienced it, yet you make various statements about it being below par in some way.

It's too much like my wife would do.


Calm down! I'm just looking for some substantiation of your declaration in Post #23:

"Wrong. I would suggest that Borg-Warner sold more of theirs in just the fifties than Laycocks did ever. "

I don't see how pulling a phrase from your Westminster's Workshop Manual achieves that - I somehow assumed you had something resembling comparative figures to offer, hence the qustion.

I'm sure your wife is, of necessity, a wonderfully patient and reasonable person, so I'll take that as a compliment, thanks.



#36 Geoff E

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Posted 08 April 2010 - 16:50

The Reliant Sabre Six GT used the B-W overdrive with the Ford 2553cc engine.

The 1964 Autocar road test reported-

"The system is quite satisfactory for a grand touring car but not for a sports car.
It can be a bit disconcerting when the transmission suddenly freewheels while
one is braking hard before entering a roundabout, for instance. If one comes up
fast to a roundabout, changes down and uses all the car's ordinary braking as
well as the engine braking, as soon as the speed drops below 30mph, he has to
rely entirely on the car's brakes."

Edited by Geoff E, 08 April 2010 - 16:51.


#37 Ray Bell

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Posted 08 April 2010 - 22:55

That sounds like they had very tall gearing or didn't get their governor right...

23mph was fine. You so rarely get down to that speed, and when you do it simply doesn't matter any more about engine braking.

Odsey... I don't have the figures, but when they talked in 'millions' it meant they were ahead of the game. Do you see 'millions' of Laycock units out there? Count total production numbers of the cars that used them, then estimate the number that got overdrives, it's very small numbers, perhaps apart from Volvos. Compared to US production figures, European numbers were pittance.

#38 Odseybod

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Posted 08 April 2010 - 23:15

Odsey... I don't have the figures, but when they talked in 'millions' it meant they were ahead of the game. Do you see 'millions' of Laycock units out there? Count total production numbers of the cars that used them, then estimate the number that got overdrives, it's very small numbers, perhaps apart from Volvos. Compared to US production figures, European numbers were pittance.


From Wiki:

Over a period of 40 years, Laycock Engineering manufactured over three and a half million overdrive Units, and over one million of these were fitted to Volvo motorcars.

#39 Ray Bell

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Posted 08 April 2010 - 23:42

And what do they say about Borg-Warner R9s, R10s and R11s?

I have an idea that seven million was a figure quoted somewhere, but I don't want to stand on my memory. Between 1964/5 and 1971, how many manual versions of the Toymotor Crown were built? All manual sedans had them.

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#40 Robin Fairservice

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Posted 09 April 2010 - 03:26

[quote name='eldougo' date='Apr 6 2010, 18:44' post='4277624']
Posted Image
The Triumph Dolomite overdrive unit intrigues me. Does any one know the dimensions and weight? Is it possible to buy them any where?

#41 Odseybod

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Posted 09 April 2010 - 08:25

And what do they say about Borg-Warner R9s, R10s and R11s?

I have an idea that seven million was a figure quoted somewhere, but I don't want to stand on my memory. Between 1964/5 and 1971, how many manual versions of the Toymotor Crown were built? All manual sedans had them.


Down to you to find out, Ray - you made the claim!

#42 taylov

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Posted 09 April 2010 - 09:02

The Nissan Cube, a' Postman Pat' shaped small box shaped people carrier launched in 2003 which became the biggest selling car in Japan has an overdrive with a switch on top of the gear knob.


It seems to have been a feature across the Nissan range of automatics and was fitted to my old 2004 Primera auto.

Tony

#43 Ray Bell

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Posted 09 April 2010 - 10:20

Originally posted by Odseybod
Down to you to find out, Ray - you made the claim!


Okay, I've found something that should even satisfy you...

From Life Magazine, 24th March 1952, just three years after the first ever Laycock unit was fitted to a Vanguard:

Posted Image Posted Image

Click on them and weep.






The lesson here is that just because you don't know about something doesn't mean it's either no good or doesn't exist in huge numbers. US car production in particular was miles ahead of European number during those years and extras like this were commonplace on many models.

At 4½ million units in service by the beginning of 1952, it's easy to see why my 1959/60 Austin manual would have mentioned seven million. With production ongoing right through the sixties and into the seventies (my read-up inspired by your challenge showed me...) in Ford and Chevrolet vehicles among others, not to mention the huge number that would have been churned out by Toyota for the Crown, it wouldn't be hard to see ten million of these all up.

And to think I only have one...

#44 RCH

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Posted 09 April 2010 - 11:06

My 20 year old Volvo740 16 valve has done rather more than 200,000 on its overdrive unit and still going strong. (Will probably fail on the way home tonight!). Volvo fitted these to the 16 valve and turbo versions only, lower powered versions using a 5 speed gearbox. Tends to imply that they believed the overdrive stronger than their 5 speed box!



#45 Ray Bell

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Posted 09 April 2010 - 11:42

Maybe not stronger, but more durable...

With most 5-speeds, fifth is an additional gear on top of a regular 4-speed arrangement. This means that the drive in fifth is taken through the layshaft, while fourth remains direct and uses no intermediate gears.

So with the layshaft in use most of the time (most cruising is done in fifth) there is more wear on the primary gears (input shaft to layshaft) generally and they eventually wear... and the bearings get more of a workout.

An overdrive has planetary gears which don't have that kind of loading and three or four share the wear.

#46 Graham Gauld

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Posted 09 April 2010 - 16:19

Surprised no one has mentioned the Handa overdrive which was common in the old three speed gearbox Ford Populars in the 1950s. One of my more thrilling rallies was as co-driver to Jeff Keighley from Glasgow in a Popular with Handa on the Morecambe Rally. We tackled Wrynose and Hardgate passes at night and when I tell you |Jeff only had one arm, the right one, and changed gear by lifting his knees up to hold the steering whilst he threaded his arm through the steering wheel to change gear, you can see why it was an interesting experience.

#47 kayemod

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Posted 09 April 2010 - 16:45

Surprised no one has mentioned the Handa overdrive which was common in the old three speed gearbox Ford Populars in the 1950s. One of my more thrilling rallies was as co-driver to Jeff Keighley from Glasgow in a Popular with Handa on the Morecambe Rally. We tackled Wrynose and Hardgate passes at night and when I tell you |Jeff only had one arm, the right one, and changed gear by lifting his knees up to hold the steering whilst he threaded his arm through the steering wheel to change gear, you can see why it was an interesting experience.


It's Wrynose and Hardknott, but no harm done, I cycled over those two several times in my youth, though of course my legs were in rather better condition than they are today. What kind of engine did that Ford Pop have though, those passes are one in three for much of their length, a standard Pop would have really struggled. A 100E Anglia was the first car I ever drove, Dad bought one for younger members of the family to learn to drive, though with that 3 speed box and 36hp, that was rarely a pleasant experience. First gear was rather high, and I drove in terror of having to perform a hill start. I can't imagine what one would have been like with an overdrive, if you can do it without diluting this thread too much, please tell us more.

#48 ianselva

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Posted 09 April 2010 - 18:25

It's Wrynose and Hardknott, but no harm done, I cycled over those two several times in my youth, though of course my legs were in rather better condition than they are today. What kind of engine did that Ford Pop have though, those passes are one in three for much of their length, a standard Pop would have really struggled. A 100E Anglia was the first car I ever drove, Dad bought one for younger members of the family to learn to drive, though with that 3 speed box and 36hp, that was rarely a pleasant experience. First gear was rather high, and I drove in terror of having to perform a hill start. I can't imagine what one would have been like with an overdrive, if you can do it without diluting this thread too much, please tell us more.

A friend of mine -Geoff Howe who used to make exhaust sytems neasr Brands used to terrify the populace with his 100E with Willment IOE head with 4 Amal carbs and a Handa Overedrive used in conjunction with the normal lever to give a virtual 5 speed gearbox . Mind you the change from overdrive first to non overdrive second needed a certain amount of dexterity to move both levers at the same time.


#49 Ray Bell

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Posted 09 April 2010 - 20:17

Never heard of those...

How did they work? Purely a manual operation? Aftermarket or optional extra from new?

#50 Geoff E

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Posted 09 April 2010 - 20:22

Handa Overdrive http://pop100e.com/PopHanda.php