How to Choose the Right Powertrain for Your Street / Strip Muscle Car

From a simple manual to automatic and now electric cars, automotive technology has come a long way. Today, car transmissions and engines are more sophisticated than you can imagine, and the sheer number of forwarding gears in automatic transmissions says it all. In the 1950s, GM treated car enthusiasts with a two-forward gear Powerglide. But that was back then. Today, the company is scaling the heights of technology, with 10-forward gear transmissions now being in existence. The journey has been long indeed.

That said, let’s embark on the gist of this write-up: choosing the right powertrain for your street/strip muscle car. So, how do you go about it? Well, the choice of engines and transmissions for muscle cars out there can spoil anyone; I mean, there are quite a lot of them. But before we dive into these, let’s have a peek at the factors to consider when making your choice. These factors, among others, include the following:

  • OE durability
  • Heat
  • Dimensions
  • Maintenance
  • Reaction time

If put into consideration, the above factors (and, of course, many others) will ensure that you end up with the right, if not, the best transmission for your street/strip muscle car. With these factors in mind, you will be purchasing an efficient, lightweight, and durable engine.

Recommendations

The 4L60E has to be among the very first recommendations. If you’re looking for a high-performance overdrive transmission, then your search should end with this one. This transmission is a complete ready-to-run unit from none other than the legendary B&M. And while the company is known for quite a number of cutting-edge technologies when it comes to engines and transmissions, its 4L60E is one of a kind. Those who have used this transmission in their street/strip muscle cars will tell you that it is a true reflection of B&M’s automotive skills and experience amassed over the years.

First and foremost, several substandard parts of 4L60E have been replaced with better ones to ensure users enjoy the best performance. For instance, the transmission comes loaded with high-performance friction plates, which replaced the factory transmission plates. As if that isn’t enough, 4L60E also features new and far much better solenoids than the initial ones, a re-energized input drum, and a valve body that is fully recalibrated. Chrome transmission pan and Beast Sunshell? They are included too. Besides containing the fluid, the pan also looks great, giving the equipment a better aesthetic value. The transmission’s standard shift pattern is one of the best you can ever find for your street/strip car. Here is a summary of 4L60E’s features:

  • Forward shift pattern
  • Reinforced input drum
  • LS bell housing with seven holes
  • Heavy-duty beast Sunshell
  • Dual cage sprag with 29 elements
  • Recalibrated valve body
  • All new wiring harness
  • All new solenoids
  • All the new friction plates
  • Chrome transmission pan

As you can see, the 4L60E comes with some of the finest features, which make it a must-have for anyone looking for a great transmission for street and strip use. What a choice!

Alternative Transmissions

Not everyone can afford a 4L60E transmission. Besides, people have their own preferences when it comes to transmissions and engines. Whatever the reason, there are alternatives to 4L60E, and these include Turbo-Hydramatic 350 (TH350), , and 700R4.

TH400: This trans announced its arrival on the automotive scene way back in the 1960s, and it comes packed with a 2.48:1 first gear ratio, which offers good gear multiplication. Thanks to its durability and strength, this transmission became an instant hit among street racers and drag racers. Today, the TH400 is more than half a century old, but it is yet to lose its popularity. Engineers claim that this transmission was the basis for the 4L80E, a four-speed overdrive invented in the ’90s. Compared to the TH350, which uses a 26-spline output, the TH400 is larger and heavier than its smaller cousin, and it uses a 32-spline output shaft instead.

TH350: There you have it. The TH350 transmission, which is just a good alternative to the 4L60E. Invented to replace the Powerglide in 1969, this transmission has stood the test of time, thanks to its improved acceleration – not to mention an interim 2nd gear. And when it comes to street racing, the transmission does not disappoint. It boasts the capacity to handle big engine torque, although it plays second fiddle to TH400, the real king of torque. Similar to the TH400, the TH350 comes with a three-forward gearbox, which is also great for street racing.

700R4: While the other alternatives enjoy a better reputation, that doesn’t mean that the 700R4 is not a good alternative to the 4L60E. The 700R4, which later morphed into 4L60, boasts a wealth of aftermarket features, which have been upgraded to suit street and strip use. For instance, unlike its earliest version, this transmission can handle the power of up to 600hp, which makes it a not-so-bad choice for muscle car owners.

Bottom Line

While you may have your own preferences when it comes to street/strip muscle car transmissions, you won’t go wrong with the recommendations provided in this post. With the 4L60E, especially, you will have a high-performance transmission capable of handling all the realities of street and drag racing. Only a few options come close to this particular trans.

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