Columbia Two Speed Rear End 1936 with 1946 Ford Electric Vacuum Controls

1936 Ford had a manual vacuum Columbia Two Speed rear end but in 1946, the Columbia Two Speed Axle was controlled by an electric solenoid vacuum switch. The Columbia Two Speed Rear End gave the Flathead Fords in the 1930's and 1940's nearly a one third taller gear ratio to the tire.

In the 1936 Ford Cabriolet that I built into a 1958 style hot rod, I used a combination of systems to accomplish my goal. I wanted to give my client a nice operating, period correct Columbia Two Speed in the rear end of the 1957 Fuel Injected Corvette 283 powered, 1936 Ford.

I equipped the hot rod with a 1940 Ford Dash and used a cigar lighter housing and an original style 1940 Ford choke knob with the flat rod. I made a round piece that fit into the lighter housing and put a slot in it and in the end of the housing so that the flat rod would slide with some sort of stability. I fastened a three position toggle switch on an L shaped bracket on the back end of the lighter housing and drilled a hole in the slide rod of the choke knob in the correct position so that the toggle switch fit into the hole. Now what looks like a choke knob is actually a three position neutral return switch. The C for choke now is C for Columbia.

By pushing the, now Columbia switch in, it completes a circuit and likewise when you pull it out. It springs back to center, or to the neutral position.

The Columbia Two Speed Rear End should not be shifted, unless the clutch is all the way in. I took a brake light switch apart and reversed the contact points so that when it is depressed, it completes a circuit instead of completing the circuit when it is released as original operation. I mounted that switch on the frame so that the 1939 Ford Clutch pedal arm would activate the switch and complete the circuit when completely depressed.

I reduced the voltage from 12 to 6 volts for the electromagnetic solenoids for the 1946 Ford Columbia Two Speed vacuum shift control.

Now I had all the components to make the system complete. One more thing I did though is route the power through period correct 12 volt Delco relays which are switched by the original NOS Hurd keyed ignition switch and again with the tweaked brake light switch and the three position toggle switch.

I almost forgot one more detail. The electromagnetic solenoid-vacuum switch that sends the vacuum to the rear to make the actual shift, also shifts a little speedometer cable, two speed transmission so that the speedometer reads correctly when you shift from low to high and back, automatically.

I added a picture of the other switches. One is to switch the 1950's electric fuel pump and the others are dash lights and cigar lighter. Notice the original 1940  heater switch on the underside of the dash and the 8 ball that controls the original NOS Yoder Wolf Whistle. All the knobs have original 36 bezels with a custom stainless ring in the middle.

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