Don’t sweat the drive shaft too much. The drive shafts are all two piece units to accommodate the steep angle from the back of the engine to the differential. The rear section of the drive shafts are within an inch of each other for the three tubes, 3-speed, 4-speed or automatic.The front section is about 31″ long for the 3-speed, about 20-1/2″ long for the 4-speed and about 25″ for the automatic transmission cars. Therefor, the 3-speed drive shaft is the longest used in any configuration. You only rework the front section of a driveshaft so you can keep the center bearing in the same location as original. A drive line shop can cut the 3-speed drive shaft front section tube to the needed length and weld back together for almost any transmission set-up. Cost to do this, from my experience, is less than $200 including a re-balance and you will not need any other parts.Attached is a pic of a front section that I had re-tubed.
that really helps me to get a little bit chilled about my transmission/engine Problem. So perhaps a 4 or 5-speed will be possible without great Investments…thanks a lot!
What is your opinion about swapping other engines? The weight in The Front suspension is one thing, but are the drive shaft and the rearaxle really this weak that a small block will destroy Them because oft the higher torque?
I do not have experience with any engine other than the 215 cid in the F-85’s. I am sure there is someone that follows this website that can give you some guidance for other engines swapped into the little Olds or Buick bodies. Here is a pic of a Chev/Corvette 350 tucked into a 1963 Jetfire body. Good luck and have fun……….
D&D in Michigan (www.aluminumv8.com) can help you find a transmission adapter for a transmission. They can probably help you find an original 3 speed for that engine too. They are a great resource for these things. Check them out. Good luck!
The bellhousing is easy, as D&D sells a reproduction manual trans bellhousing for the 215. The problem with any non-original trans is the size of the tunnel. Even putting one of the factory T10 four speeds into a car that originally had the RotoHydro5 automatic requires fabricating a new tunnel. It’s simple sheet metal work, but be aware of it. These cars were shrink-wrapped around the drivetrain.