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Discussion Starter #1
So by the end of November, I am going to have a c900. I'm curious about how fast the c900 automatics are? I know its an old 3 speed so I don't expect much but I can't find any concrete numbers on it. Like whats, the 0-60 or 60-100 on the thing, and how much power can you put through the thing before the trans starts to get dicey?
 

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The T37 is a very old transmission, ultimately dating back to the '60s. I doubt you will find anything useful in terms of specifications. I wouldn't put one more pound foot through that thing than the factory did. That transmission has its roots in very small motors making very little torque. Nothing pushed them harder than a stock c900T did.

The 900T is generally associated with an 8 second 0-60 with an automatic, but back in the day some magazines claimed mid 7 second runs.

IMO, if you're buying an automatic c900 and thinking about hot rodding it, I would encourage you to think again. Drive that car like it was meant to be driven. With a tweed jacket, a comfortably sized joint, and at a respectful speed.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Really I am impressed it did an 8 second run to be honest. I have heard mixed things about the auto though. Some say its bulletproof and will last longer than the manual and others say they break horribly and die. So I don't know who to believe.
 

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For many years, the Plymouth Neon was a statistically safer car than the Dodge Neon. Probably not because the cars were different (they weren't), but probably because the people who buy Plymouths don't wrap their cars around trees as often as people who buy Dodges.

I'd argue that people who buy automatic c900s are not the same type of driver as those who buy manual c900s, and their experiences are skewed accordingly. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I'll give you that they go to different markets I'm sure, but the old Borg Warner 3 speed can't be that weak. I don't plan to wail on mine that hard "especially since its a freash rebuilt". But I'm sure I will crave a little more power in the mid-range. I have a bit of a goal to beat even if it is foolish/if I can.
 

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My International Travelall, early Jaguar V12s, and Ford Econoline vans all used variants of the 3-speed BW 35 or 37.
More clutch plates for heavier duty use. They're very durable but slow off the line. Turbos are fast from 20-80.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Well now you just have me confused lol. "early Jaguar V12s" ha that is surprising. I figured it would be slow off the line like the manual. I know we make our power mid-range. Which is what I am counting on to help me. But I figured midrange to highrange gets stiffed on the autos because of the whole 3 gears thing.
 

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Are you sure about that Jim? I am pretty sure the Travelall used the T39 until they switched to the Chrysler 727 in 1970. The V12 Jags got the Model 12, which is an uprated version of the T39 (aka Model 11).

The T37 is considerably less stout than any of these gearboxes I'd think. Ostensibly automatic Transmission with 3 speeds with a torque rating of 5, 7, or 9 (eg, T35, T37, T39) means something, but who knows what? :D

The problem with automatics and turbos is that automatics are laggy (torque converter stall) and turbos are laggy…. they compound each other and then you wait. And wait. The Saab 9000s with a 2.0l and an automatic were downright scary to drive, but NOTHING compared to early Subaru WRXen. I'm pretty sure that's why they went to the 2.5l motor, just like Saab went to the 2.3l.

The "upside" is the T37 has very short gearing, so you do get into the power band pretty quickly. The downside is that the T37 has very short gearing so at 80mph you're turning like 4000rpm and screaming along.

Automatics c900Ts are awesome for doing 38mph in a 40 zone with a tweed jacket and a roach, though. That's what I've heard!
 

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I'm pretty sure the transmission I took out of it and rebuilt was a cast-iron-case BW model 12. Put it in an XJ6 when I junked the Travelall (rust). Probably a '67 Travelall w/ the 10k# tow package.
They pretty much all had the same pieces; seen one BW, seen 'em all in those days.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
So is that a "yes put on a little more power" or a "no don't do a damn thing and just daily drive it"?
 

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Nobody can tell you that. You're talking about a 30 year old car with an unknown maintenance history, and we have no idea how well (or poorly) you drive a car. We were very competitive with an older c900 race car for years until we gave a friend some seat time and he blew up the motor on the first lap because he couldn't remember to simply watch the instruments... With proper care all sorts of dubious contraptions can keep running - and all it takes is a little manhandling to ruin everything.

My opinion is that an automatic c900 is never gonna be a satisfying hot rod. They make wonderful city cars though. I don't really see the point in trying to make a car something it's not when it's great at doing exactly what it was designed to. By the same token, lots of people told me that you can't race a c900 and I didn't listen to them.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Fair enough on that I suppose for the moment I just need it to be a good daily. But I would be lying if I said I wasn't going to put a little pressure on it from time to time. How did racing a c900 go anyway out of curiosity?
 

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Great fun. The only reason not to continue doing it is lack of parts. As supplies dwindle, I didn't want to keep throwing them at a race car and end up in a situation where my DD couldn't D.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Fair enough racing a Saab seems really fun. I guess thats kinda why I want one. How much longer should a fresh rebuild actually last on an autobox? I mean it died at 150k (it lost reverse iirc) and I need it to last.
 

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Assuming a good rebuild, I would expect another 125k plus or minus. They aren't great, but they aren't SVX garbage either. A not so good rebuild? I've heard of them not lasting over 50k.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Perfect I only need this car to last 2 years. I'm sure I will keep it for longer but Ill only put about 20-30k on the car and it does come with a spare trans in the trunk but I have heard its quite intensive to drop the trans.
 

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it's not the worst, but it's definitely not easy. The upside is that you get to do all sorts of work on the engine that is otherwise difficult or impossible, so once you get over the hump of the effort, it's fairly rewarding.
 

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Yeah.... 5th gear is even quite short for a power curve as stout as a c900. #8 primaries fix that. A top gear that's shorter than a top gear that's already too short is very short indeed!
 
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