CC Video: Keeping Up With The Niedermeyers, Episode1 – Accelerating Through Five Gears In My ’66 F100 Without the Clutch

I’ve made several comments in the past about how I drive my ’66 F100 240 six without using a clutch, thanks to its overdrive, which provides for free-wheeling that makes this effortless (this is not forced clutch-less “speed’ shifting). This is how I drive my truck all the time.

Today my son Will and I were headed to the lumber yard, and when we hit NW Expressway, I pulled over, handed him my iPhone, and said: here, take a video of me going through the gears. The result is hardly professional, and I debated whether we should do it again a few times to get it down a bit better. But this is Niedermeyer reality tv; no rehearsing, no re-takes. 


On the way back, driving through the neighborhood, I told him to shoot again, as I hadn’t really explained why I could shift without the clutch. Also, I downshifted into first without the clutch, which is non-synchronized, and which does require that the road speed be matched to the engine speed. Will missed it, but it was a smooth and silent shift, without any clashing. Oddly, the focus in this second video is not quite right.

BTW, my truck had its overdrive transmission added later in life, so I had it set up with manual activation, which gives me more immediate control. The “lever” that activates the OD unit is on the floor, a re-purposed Ford choke cable and knob.

To engage/disengage OD, I wired a little toggle switch on the dash. The unit needs to be activated, of course, and clutch-less shifts need to be in direct drive, as the free-wheeling only works in direct.

That squeaking you hear while I’m in second gear is me closing my window, which is a bit worse for wear, having no channel material; the glass rides on bare steel.

So what do you think? Should the Niedermeyers brush up on their video skills, and make more? Some CC-hunting drives through our most CC-rich neighborhoods? Or just call it (not-so)good?


Related: Automotive History: The Joys of (Planetary) Overdrive