Shiftin’ With Confidence
Form meets function with the Aerospace Components Pro Eliminator shifter
By Michael Galimi
It is believed that one of the most critical design aspects of a new automobile’s interior is the steering wheel because of the regular interaction that the driver has with it. Moving to a racecar, that sentiment shifts (no pun intended) to include the gear selector, and what we often consider to be relatively simple acts while driving—steering and shifting—usually have much greater implications while on track. A slight correction with the wheel, or shifting at the just the right moment, can be the difference between winning and losing a round or a race.
The best solutions come from necessity and in the case of Aerospace Components, the company saw a need to design a new style shifter during the assembly of its first drag car. “The other brands were not practical when strapped into a race seat with a five-point harness,” said Aerospace Components co-founder Kim Kussy, who is also the President and CMO of the company. She continued, “the reverse lockout mechanisms required two hands to operate and made it virtually impossible without loosening the belts to get your car in Reverse or Park. So we set out to build a better shifter.”
The result is the Pro Eliminator shifter that can be operated using one hand, is very durable, and comes in several configurations to fit a variety of applications. The durability comes from design and raw materials. The design capabilities are vast, as Aerospace Components has worked with several government agencies, including NASA, and also in the aeronautical and aerospace fields. This has enabled the performance division to draw upon the engineering, computer modeling, programming, and machining capabilities to produce high-end racing products with relative ease.
Aerospace Components built the Pro Eliminator to be both durable and practical thanks to its one-handed operation, including the Reverse gear lockout.
A majority of the Pro Eliminator is constructed using T6061 billet aluminum, including the body and shifter handle. The gate plate and gear selector pin are hardened steel for even the most aggressive driving techniques. Aerospace Components also uses stainless steel hardware to keep the shifter quality high and long lasting. Despite the ruggedness, the Pro Eliminator checks in at a paltry two pounds or less depending on configuration. “When we were looking for a shifter, we wanted something a little nicer than the regular stuff out there,” shared Chris Knapp who is a weekend warrior and races a variety of cars on the Florida drag racing scene. Continuing, “The look and fit of the Aerospace Components Pro Eliminator was so much nicer than the other shifters out there.”
Aerospace Component’s Design Engineer Al Kussy, who is also the CEO and co-founder, and his team have designed and built the shifter under NHRA/IHRA guidelines, which dictate there is a Reverse lockout. The lockout gate prevents drivers from accidently moving the lever past Neutral and into the Reverse gear while the vehicle is in motion. Gear selection is a combination of pulling the shifter back with or without the lever; depending on which gear you are trying to engage. When moving the shifter up towards the Park position, to go from Neutral to Reverse, the driver must push the lever forward to release the safety lock feature and allow the shifter to engage Reverse. It is designed for one-handed use so a driver can remained strapped in the seat when performing that function. The video below is a “Kimmy’s Garage” video showing the one-handed operation of the Pro Eliminator shifter.
Versatility was incorporated into the Pro Eliminator as the transmission cable can be either fed into the shifter base from the front or rear allowing any variety of mounting locations. A cable mount and bell-crank setup for rear-mounted transmission cables are available at an additional cost and mount to most transmission pans for reverse cable operation.
The Pro Eliminator is currently available for use with a Powerglide transmission with a Three-speed version on the design table as you read this article. Knowing that every car is built differently, Aerospace Components offers the shifter to accept both front and rear cable attachment. An air solenoid or electric solenoid can be fastened to the back of the billet case for racers who wish to utilize an auto-shifting mechanism. “It is nice to have the option of running either the air or electronic auto-shift,” Knapp shares and he utilizes the electric shift on his racecar for consistency. Like all Aerospace Components products, the Pro Eliminator is made in the U.S.A.
A proprietary electronic shift solenoid is optional for Pro Eliminator shifters.
For air-shifted setups, Aerospace Components also offers the solenoid and shifting mechanism specifically for the Pro Eliminator shifter. The company sells billet C02 bottle brackets to compliment the air-shifter.
For the average street-going car enthusiast the act of steering and driving might be simple but for the drag racer it could be the difference between winning and losing as every thousandth of a second are paramount to success.