Other than better fuel economy, why would someone want to change from an automatic to a manual transmission? Well, for many, a real musclecar has to have a stick, but there are some real advantages too. More power is delivered to the rear wheels-automatics rob 15-25 percent of that precious resource we work so hard to make. That lost power is turned into another form of energy-heat, which is stored in the transmission fluid. The transmission fluid is pumped to the radiator's trans cooler to be cooled. Manual transmissions, due to their inherent high efficiency, do not rob enough power to even require an oil cooler and thus, produce less heat. Modern manual transmissions are lighter in weight compared to the automatic with its large fluid capacity and related system components. Finally, there is less maintenance with the new manual transmissions-they are inherently simpler than automatics and require less money to maintain. Only the clutch and release bearing require maintenance, and that's getting easier.
The recipient of this conversion is a red '69 SuperBee owned by Tom Nowatzke of Whitemore Lake, Michigan. His car is a factory 383 column-shifted automatic. It now features a 452 stroker with a Six-Pack, aftermarket floor shifter, and a Chrysler 8 3/4 differential with 3.55 gears. He sent his car to Keisler's facility in Knoxville, Tennessee, for the conversion. We found out the conversion is basically a bolt-in operation.