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How Does GM Test Manual Transmissions? Old School, Baby

Posted in Bizarre, Car Tech, Chevrolet, Cool Stuff, GM by Kurt Ernst | August 12th, 2011 | Leave a Reply |

In the height of the muscle car era, GM developed a method of testing manual transmissions that it called the “Woodward Avenue Schedule,” in reference to the street-racing mecca of Detroit. The test was simple: from a standing start, do a high-rpm launch and then upshift through the gears under full-throttle acceleration. Repeat the process until something breaks, then design a better part.

A lot has changed since the 1960s, and todays muscle cars are even more powerful than their storied original counterparts. You’d think that testing of clutches, transmissions and drivelines would be done by robots these days, but you’d be wrong. The testing is still done by drivers on a paved test track.

Per Brad Burr, assistant chief engineer for rear-wheel-drive manual transmissions, the test has led to hundreds of improvements over the years, including improved clutch friction material, better synchros and higher-strength gears and shafts. Since the test originated with street racers, I guess you could say that this is one example where street racing produced a positive benefit. I still doubt a cop would buy into your argument that you were street racing to help GM build a better driveline, though.

Source: Wall Street Journal, via Left Lane News

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