Cleetus McFarland Gives Leroy the Corvette the Upgrade It Deserves

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New faceplated gears for Leroy make a life-changing difference to the C5.

Drag races at TX2K18 didn’t quite go as expected for Cleetus McFarland and his beloved Leroy the Savage. Due to missing a few gear changes, he was eliminated out of a round fairly early on by a Honda Civic. It was promised that there would be some special things in store for the tired transmission, but staying true to his roots, McFarland promised it would still be a manual gearbox. Naturally, there was only one thing to do to his transmission: install faceplated gears.

Faceplated gears essentially take out the copper synchro ring and replace it with engagement lugs. It makes for a positive connection without waiting for the gear you are shifting into (which would be stationary) to spin up to road speed or engine speed. Due to the nature of the lugs, the transmission does shift with quite a BANG, but that’s just the nature of faceplated gearing. Despite the more violent sounding shifts, it will almost eliminate any gear from popping out and makes miss-shifts a thing of the past.

Faceplated T56 transmission

All of this becomes fairly evident when McFarland took the car out for a quick test run. Even shifting into reverse, the transmission made its burly new internals known. “You have to drive it like you hate it!” McFarland says initial driving made more of a straight-cut gear style whine as well, just adding to the symphony of noise.


ALSO SEE: Leroy the Savage Gets Heads, Injectors and More for the Dyno


Due to limited space, only a 1-2 up shift was possible, but the results were immediately known. The first up shift was so lighting fast that McFarland excitedly states “Oh my god, we have to do that again!”

We have yet to see how this will all translate to performance on track, but the general consensus is that McFarland will be able to improve times considerably. After all, it may be just a fraction of a second, but less time spent changing gears means a quicker ET.

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Patrick Morgan is an instructor at Chicago's Autobahn Country Club and contributes to a number of Auto sites, including MB World and 6SpeedOnline.

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