If you’ve been following Hagerty on YouTube, you have seen their timelapse V8 rebuilds in the last couple years of with a Chevy Small-Block, a Ford Flathead, and a Chrysler Hemi Firepower. They’re all great and for their next trick, Hagerty has made a timelapse from of rebuilding the three-speed automatic transmission from an early 1960s Ford Thunderbird. It all looks fairly Roadkill, except the cleanliness and having the right parts for it. But the brown sludge from the drain pan, that looks about right.
It all looks slightly different from this ‘62 Thunderbird transmission “rebuild” by Jeff “Speedycop” Bloch and his Gang of Outlaws at a 24 Hours of LeMons race in 2010. Without the proper rebuild parts, Bloch and his gang instead gutted the gearbox and turned it into a direct-drive, one-speed transmission. It worked reasonably well, until the original 390 cubic-inch V8 caught fire. They were outgunned, curiously, for the Heroic Fix trophy by a Pontiac Fiero kludged together to run on one cylinder.
On the flip side, Hagerty follows the procedure in a slightly cleaner environment while rebuilding their T-Bird transmission. The work is meticulous and an intricate ritual of cleaning and reassembly.