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Hemmings Classic Car Article "4-speeds of the 30's"

Hemmings Classic Car Sept 2012 magazine has a great reprinted 2 page article from SIA April-May 1972 titled.."Four-Speeds of the 30's".
And you guessed it our very own Durant 4 speed tranny is in there. And they said right after the Chrysler 4-speed our Durant was the most complex . lt said that the Chrysler 4-speed that was similar to ours had over a 100 parts and they said to service it you needed over 13 special tools. They have a chart that shows the Durant built 4-speed was in our 29 model 6-66 & 6-70 cars and in 1930 & 31 model 617.
Having a 29 Durant model 6-66 l found there really was no benefit cause it did not any overdrive. lt was only a 2nd 3rd gear.
The article said they weren't needed and were mis-geared. Some very interesting info was the 29 Durant tranny was Durant built but the 30 & 31 model 617 used a Warner Gear built tranny. Also the 29 Durant's had a 3.90 ratio rear and offered a 3.73 rear, and the 30 Durants had 3.73 stock rear ratio and the 31 Durant had a 3.72 rear ratio! They also noted that Warner Gear was different Co from Warner Corp that also built 4 speed transmissions. l'll have to say Durant was in mighty good company with Packard, Pierce-Arrow, Pearless, Stutz, Marmon Big 8. Chrysler Imperial only, Graham, Jordon, Kissel, and no common cheap cars like Ford, Chevy, Plymouth etc. They said no more 4-speeds by anyone after 1934. There was also cutaway pictures of all the major 4-speed transmissions including the Durant tranny. If anyone wants a copy of this article and chart l have a copier in my office l will be glad to send you a copy.
Lance Haynes
San Diego

Where Are You From? San Diego, CA

Do You own a car built by Durant? Yes

Re: Hemmings Classic Car Article "4-speeds of the 30's"

I think the Warner Gear Co is an aspect of Durant Motors that could use more research.
I'm under the impression that John Willys controlled Warner Gear. When W. C. Durant purchased the Elizabeth factory (from Willys control) he also obtained control of Warner Gear. At this time Durant started (or continued?) to use Warner Gears/transmissions.
My thoughts are that when it's written that Durant built a 4 spead transmissions...what they are saying is that at the time Durant controlled Warner Gear...so they are Durant transmissions.
Then in 1928, with Warner becoming part of Borg-Warner...any transmissions they built are now labeled as built by Warner?? (although same transmission)
Durant Motors didn't build things it could buy, however WCD never had a problem buying the whole company.

Warner Gear is cloudy, I think at one time Durant owned it. Quite possibly himself, not part of Durant Motors?? (sort of a pocket thing)

Where Are You From? Tucson

Do You own a car built by Durant? a couple

Re: Hemmings Classic Car Article "4-speeds of the 30's"

Interesting "marketing" decision with a four speed transmission at that time. Wasn't the thinking that the more you had to shift the more work you had to do in driving a car? I don't think a person was interested in decreasing their 'revs' for highway driving with a 4-speed. This would be especially true if the first gear was nothing more than a 'granny gear' for climbing up trees or hills in San Francisco? Ross

Where Are You From? Orygun

Do You own a car built by Durant? 1930 6-14


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