Converting 1965 Starchief from Auto to Manual

lr65starchief

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Idaho
After many years of abuse and storage, I have embarked on restoring our family's 1965 Pontiac Starchief (4-dr HT). This was our family car until about 1984. Then, I drove this for my work car until about 1986-87 when the first child turned 16. In about 1986 our eldest son decided he wanted a project for shop and I removed the engine and he rebuilt it (it did not need it but he did it) and we stripped all the paint off and repainted it black (his choice of color).
About 1989 he started college and each of three children drove it as their transportation for college (and banged it up some while earning the skills to get their "training wheels" taken off).
The Starchief then sat in storage from about 1997 until this year (storage being an open shed). Now I am just wanting to make nice again, restore the original aqua blue color and make it a fun car to do some easy cruises.

The engine is a 389 2-bbrl.

So...not being a mechanic, does anyone out there have some step-by-step instructions for converting this Auto to a manual including the parts I need to scrounge up? Thanks.
 

melsg5

Staff member
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not sure how you are going to find all the small parts needed for such a conversion. You need all components under the dash for the clutch pedal, you need all the components related to the Z-bar, plus you need the transmission, bell housing, may or may not need to modify the transmission mount, driveshaft may or may not be needed to be changed. The florr pan may need modification for a shifter This does not sound like a project for someone with no mechanical experience plus the locating of the parts.
 

cammerjeff

Member
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Belleville MI
I agree about the difficulty of this conversion, if you do decide to undertake the job you are probably going to need a Manual transmission parts car, any 1965 Pontiac full size would do, Catalina, Bonneville, Grandprix, or Executive. But they are not common, and those parts usually sell for over $1000.00 seperatly, and that does not include the price of the transmission.
 

lr65starchief

New member
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Idaho
Thankfully, I do have access to good, young, mechanical minds, but they work on modern vehicles from big trucks to autos. None of them are old enough to have worked on cars of this vintage.
I was hoping someone would respond with 1) a specific parts list and 2) any tips that would make the conversion go smoothly and 3) perhaps a source for conversion parts that allow the pieces to bolt up.

I also have access to a full machine shop if needed for fabrication or modification.

This isn't a collector car so I am planning on using what fits best, modern or original.
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lr65starchief

New member
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Idaho
THANKS! I also got a very helpful PM from Les Kasten at oldschoolhotrodz. He would also be a good source of information and parts for anyone trying to do what I am doing to an older Pontiac.
 
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