Super Hurricane with 4-Speed Hydramatic Transmission

Bill Kuran

Well Oiled
All-Star
Oct 14, 2009
1,130
Potomac, MD
First Name
Bill
Willys Model
  1. Wagon
Willys Year:
  1. 1960
I came across this for sale ad: https://forums.aaca.org/topic/313803-1955-super-hurricane-226-willys-engine-and-auto-trans/

It was posted more than two years ago, and at an asking price of $350, I doubt it is still available.

I'm posting on the Aero sub-forum because that seemed to be the best place, but it is how this relates to my 1960 wagon that is of interest to me.

I would like to replace the Borg-Warner T-98 four speed with an automatic but never considered it because I want to preserve some originality. This Aero engine/transmission combination was not used in wagons but its connection with Willys is about as close as I will ever get.

The photos show what looks to be an adapter between the engine and transmission. If so, is that a hard part to find?

Is/was the GM 4-speed hydramatic transmission reliable?

Are their other automatic transmissions that have the same bellhousing bolt pattern that could be used in its place.

Was this transmission ever used with four-wheel drive? Specifically, is/was an adapter available to connect a Model 18 transfer case?

My understanding is that a Model 18 works with a GM TH35. IF so, would the TH350 bolt up in place of this early Hyramatic?

1955 SUPER HURRICANE 226 WILLYS ENGINE AND AUTO TRANS from 1955 Aero Bermuda - Left Side .jpg
1955 SUPER HURRICANE 226 WILLYS ENGINE AND AUTO TRANS from 1955 Aero Bermuda - Right Side.jpg
 

Blindmelon

Well Oiled
Aug 10, 2014
2,041
Agua Dulce, CA
First Name
Larry
Willys Model
  1. Pickup
Willys Year:
  1. 1950
I wonder if a Mopar, torque flight 6 might be a better/easier setup.. The ohv 232 and TF6 in a Gremlin worked great and those weird little cars hauled butt... The torque flight was pretty bullet proof in stock vehicles.. And having a torque converter in the drive train really helps getting moving... The old GM hydros were stong but heavy... And that's all my tired old brain can recall..
 

Blindmelon

Well Oiled
Aug 10, 2014
2,041
Agua Dulce, CA
First Name
Larry
Willys Model
  1. Pickup
Willys Year:
  1. 1950
I wonder if a Mopar, torque flight 6 might be a better/easier setup.. The ohv 232 and TF6 in a Gremlin worked great and those weird little cars hauled butt... The torque flight was pretty bullet proof in stock vehicles.. And having a torque converter in the drive train really helps getting moving... The old GM hydros were stong but heavy... And that's all my tired old brain can recall..
The 727 Torqueflite will also adapt to the Dana 20 and 300, so your drive shafts will be on the right side..
 

rocket

Well Oiled
Sep 3, 2015
1,342
Sierra Mtns
First Name
Rodney
Willys Model
  1. Wagon
Willys Year:
  1. 1963
I have an Oldsmobile Hydromatic out of my 1955 Super 88. It weighs almost as much as the original 324 V8 engine. They were also used in Hudson cars of the 50"s .The transmissions were bullet proof. B&M made a Clutch Hydro with manual shift conversion for Drag Racing in the 60'S. They were even used in GM Tanks during WW2. I don't know for sure but I have heard that the Allison 545 4 speed Medium duty automatic truck trannys were a spin off of the original Hydromatic. And they put those in trucks and school buses with Cummins, Cats, and other Medium Duty Truck Diesel engines.
 

JABJEEP

Precision Fit
Sep 20, 2017
739
Under a jeep in SE Wisconsin
First Name
Jeff
Willys Model
  1. Wagon
  2. Pickup
  3. CJ
Willys Year:
  1. 1955
  2. 1958
  3. 1962
Bill, from looking at the pictures it sure looks like the tailshaft housing could be unbolted and replaced with a Spicer 18/20 adapter, but I think you'd be on your own as far as fabricating one. You'd also have to adapt the transfer case input gear somehow as well. Interesting concept....
 

PTV

Sharpest Tool
Jan 3, 2020
380
SW Pa.
First Name
John
Willys Model
  1. Pickup
Willys Year:
  1. 1958
Not sure if they ever had a Hydramatic transmission in a 4 x 4 GMC truck or not. They are reliable transmissions. No torque convertor, they used
a fluid coupling instead.
 

rocket

Well Oiled
Sep 3, 2015
1,342
Sierra Mtns
First Name
Rodney
Willys Model
  1. Wagon
Willys Year:
  1. 1963
The 4 Speed Hydro-Matic was one of the first fully automatic transmission, it used a Torus torque converter that was in mutiple pieces. The front half known as the Torus cover is the flywheel, with ring gear. Olds used a wafer thin gasket with about 30 some odd 5/16" bolts,to assyemble the unit, where as Hudsun used an o-ring. If you had an engine sieze up, you couldn't remove the transmission because you had to rotate the crank/flywheel to un bolt the torque converter assyembly. The 58-65 Slim Jim came next it was the hydraulic pump only, no torque converter 3 speed automatic that used a Drive plate that looked like a clutch disc. the transmission input shaft/front pump: just plugged right in. Terrable "Transmission Impossible", talk about hard to make work well."Those were the days my friends, we thought they'd never end." And then along came the Turbo 350/400. And GM finally got it right!! But they continued to call all the Automatics. Hydromatic Transmissions.

 
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rocket

Well Oiled
Sep 3, 2015
1,342
Sierra Mtns
First Name
Rodney
Willys Model
  1. Wagon
Willys Year:
  1. 1963
What about the late fifties GMC pickups with Pontiac engines and NAPCO 4wd?
As early as 1942 Napco supplied 4x4 kits, then around 56-58 GMC trucks came with the optional 316 Pontiac engine, and the Napco Kit was offered as a dealer installed option code 690. For $1,200.00 The Transfer case was divorced so it could have been installed in either Standard or Automatic trucks.
 
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rocket

Well Oiled
Sep 3, 2015
1,342
Sierra Mtns
First Name
Rodney
Willys Model
  1. Wagon
Willys Year:
  1. 1963
Napco story.

 
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