For many years, big American V8’s, with their awesome torque and wide power bands, were the envy of the automotive world. And often, what impressed the enthusiasts and engineers was how little the cars they powered needed to shift. When did shifting become more important than driving? We’re not persuaded. More gears are better only when they’re needed, and most of our customers cannot actually use more than four. That said, we agree that some racing or high speed road applications might benefit from five gears properly spaced.

We’ve tried. Did you know that, compared to Italy, it actually costs the same or less to make gears in the United States? Pricing’s the problem. You want value for your money, and the American vendors we’ve asked won’t work on internationally competitive margins.

Today, in a relationship more than a quarter-century old, our four speed gearing is supplied by the Italian firm Euroricambi and their A.M. Gears subsidiary (the near-legendary craftsmen of Antonio Masiero). Castings are poured in the United States and machined either in house (our aluminum), or within an hour’s drive (our steel and iron). Synchronizer rings, bearings, oilseals and small parts are supplied by leading name brand vendors worldwide. For us, quality and performance always trump country of origin. Price is important, but never governs.

If they were only that good we’d scrap them! Manufacturing advances such as CNC machining, diamond cutting tools, cleaner steels, and better control of heat treatment enable us to do things General Motors could only dream of doing in 1965. There was a saying then — If it’s to print it goes to service, if not, it goes to production. That’s why we don’t ‘blueprint’ any more. It’s no longer necessary.

Manual transmission engineering is a Syracuse tradition older than the automobile; when we can’t answer questions ‘in house’, we routinely tap world-class resources available almost nowhere else in North America. All our gears and shafts and castings are controlled by Auto Gear prints. Which means that we decide when they’re ‘to print’, not our vendors. Furthermore, wherever possible mating parts are sourced with a single vendor so there’s undivided responsibility that they run properly together.