Have you ever looked at an aftermarket performance part and thought, "Now why didn't I think of that?" If so, then you'll know exactly how we felt when we first saw Speed Direct's spherical rod end clutch linkage kit. In all honesty, it was something we had thought about (Editor Terry Cole even built a similar system for his '66 Chevelle back in the mid '70s). In fact, plenty of hot rodders have made similar linkage pieces for their street machines over the years. Thousands more have probably thought about making them, but never got around to it. And as far as we know, Speed Direct is the first company to take the initiative of designing and marketing such a kit.
So what exactly is a spherical rod end clutch linkage? Well, quite simply, Speed Direct's kit replaces standard steel clutch linkage rods with aluminum rods that have adjustable spherical bearing rod ends. Owners of four-speed-equipped Chevy musclecars will quickly realize the advantage of this, since factory clutch linkage parts have never had a reputation for outstanding strength. The inexpensive, mass-produced linkage rods are prone to fatigue and wear, especially if your car has a stiff aftermarket pressure plate. By contrast, the spherical bearing rod ends on the aftermarket rods offer greater strength and smooth, precise operation thanks to their Teflon lining. They also feature lefthand threads on one end and righthand threads on the other, which allows you to adjust the length without disconnecting the linkage.
We recently installed one of Speed Direct's linkage kits on a small-block- powered, four-speed-equipped '65 El Camino and found it to be just what we expected-a quality component that was simple to install. Sure, it's the type of thing that we could have built for ourselves, but the effort, time, and money we would have invested probably would have exceeded Speed Direct's asking price. We let them do the homework, while we tackled the simple tasks of ordering the kit and installing it. If you've got a muscle-era Chevy (kits are available for most Camaros, Novas, and Chevelles, with Impala kits in the works), you can do the same.