Back in the 1970s, you’d find a ratcheting shifter in many cars including Firebirds, Camaros, Grand Prix, and so on. In this video, a demonstration is given on how to use these ratcheting shifters for racing. The demonstration and explanation are given using a ratcheting shifter in a 1972 Pontiac, but it will make sense to many people who are still using the factory ratcheting shifter.
For most people driving a car with an automatic transmission, shifting through the gears is a matter of putting the car into D, and leaving it be until it’s time to go into reverse or park. However, for performance reasons, you’ll want to stay in the first three forward gears, and many people would rather control the shifts on the track, rather than just leaving it in “D.” The problem with that is how easy it is to skip a shift, end up in neutral and over-revving the engine.
The typical shifter goes straight back and forth in a line, hence the reason why it’s so easy to slip into neutral or miss a gear. This isn’t the case with the ratcheting shifter. Not sure if you have one? Well if you can wiggle the shifter back and forth, you do. This motion is because when you go to shift with a ratcheting shifter, you will push over and up, instead of forward in a straight line.
When it comes to racing someone and you’ve decided to power shift, the ratcheting shifter is actually a lot better than many aftermarket options. That’s why a lot of these shifters have survived in their original vehicles throughout the decades.
Hopefully, this helps to bring you a little clarification about this factory option, and simplify the way you think about them, which will result in fine-tuning your power shifting skills.
Elizabeth is hardcore horsepower enthusiast with unmatched intensity for making things faster and louder. She wakes up for power and performance and only sleeps to charge up for the next project that’s heading to the track. From autocross to drag racing, Elizabeth is there with you, so stay tuned for her unique perspective on horsepower news, builds, tech info, and installs — with her, it’ll never be boring!