Trans behind a 215?


New member
We are gathering parts for a front engine dragster and wondered about an automatic behind the 215. Any suggestions? Being that my goal is to get my 77 yr old father to drive it, an auto is what I have in mind. I realy don't think it will have enough torque for direct drive.
this is going to sound weird but look for Land Rover v8s in the junk yard.

the Buick 215 has a unique bell housing that GM didn't use for any other transmission. and the 215 was only in production for 1961-63.

what happened then was that GM sold the 215ci plans and tooling to British Leyland ( which was the Land Rover holding company back in the sixties ) and Leyland converted it from imperial dimensions to metric. so all those Land Rover 3.5L engines? that's the metric equivalent to 215ci. and all of the Land Rover variants, up to 4.6L use the same bell housing and have the same external dimensions. and Land Rover had the engine in production up to 2004.


New member

Thanks for the advice. I am familiar with the Rover matching, but I haven't heard much about them in race applications. Except for a few years in the '80's when the Classic had a 727, but everyone is looking for those.

Adapters to stick shifts I have, but one for an automatic like a glide or T350 is expensive new and I haven't found one around used. I like the simplicity of a glide, it also fits the era better but that extra gear in a T350 might scoot it along better.
any adaptation that will fit the TH-350 should also fit a 200r4. the 200 has a shorter first gear than the TH350 as well as OD. not that you're probably going to care much about keeping your cruising rpms down.

and i'm assuming your dragster is going to be pretty light weight, so the 200r4 should be able to take it.

but I haven't heard much about them in race applications.

well, of course not. we've got 5.7L Chevys and Fords all over the place and big iron big blocks if we really want displacement. kind of tough for a 215ci to compete with that.

the Rover v8 stuff was developed a LOT more in Australia and Great Britain, where it was their domestic equivalent of a Chevy 350.

in fact, the Rover / Olds ( 6 head bolts per cylinder, 3.0L ) design has TWO Formula 1 championships from back in the 1960s. if you're interested in that, research "Repco". they're the ones who built the engines.

otherwise, the Buick engines saw a lot of use in boat racing over here due to the light weight.

the Buick v6 is also a variant of this small block design ( adapted from the Buick 300ci v8, so it has a taller deck ) and there was a ton of racing development done with that in Indycar, NASCAR and circle track back in the 1980s.

the problem with the Buick v6 in this discussion is that it has the standard BOP bell housing and is useless as a transmission source for you.