Installing TCI’s 6X Six-Speed Transmission and Paddle Shifter

March 23rd, 2011

Text and Photos by Matt Emery

Automatic transmissions have been around nearly as long as the automobile. They served their purpose, but for those who were looking for performance, the manual gearbox was the way to go. And the more gears in that box the better. Even though high gear is traditionally a 1:1 setup, having many gears to choose from makes keeping the engine in the meat of the power band that much easier. The “three on the tree” became a four, then five, and finally six speeds capable of handling whatever the driver/racer asked of it. Of course, this was all via a floor-mounted shifter usually using an “H” pattern.

We believe that it was former multi-world-champion Nigel Mansell who way back in the mid ‘90s had the first working paddle shift setup in his F1 Ferrari. Some say that the idea of shifting the car from the steering wheel has been around since the very early days of racing (like 1912 Le Mans early), but everyone was blown away with the concept, especially when Mansell won the first race in which the new paddle shifted semi-automatic transmission was used. Despite some glitches, it proved to be the death knell of the fully manual gearbox, which was gone from F1 for good only a year or two later. Racing proved that to be a good idea. The automatic transmission could be made even better, and more importantly, strong enough to put up with high performance engines and the rigors of racing.

The new TCI 6X six-speed transmission employs the best ideas of everything from Formula 1 to super high-end sports cars. A rugged six-speed, semi-automatic transmission that is capable of being shifted electronically from steering wheel-mounted paddles is revolutionary for muscle cars.

Enter TCI Automotive. With its 6X six-speed transmission, TCI has taken the best ideas of both and combined them into one unit that gives the competition focused muscle car enthusiast what is nearly an unfair advantage when it comes to autocrossing. Gone is the “gear hunting” of some automatics and gone also is the need to operate a clutch coming out of a corner. Shifting through a corner is an art, but imagine having the ability to keep the engine in the perfect rev range no matter what part of the course you’re on? Setting up for corners are no longer a problem and downshifting for them no longer requires taking your hands off the wheel. Shifting into or out of them is now a matter of how quickly you can pull a paddle.

Out with the old, so they say. In this case the old was a Turbo 400. The TH400 is a good tranny, but the owner wants to put this Camaro through a road course at the limits of its capabilities. The problem is that the 400 was one of those limits.

The installation of the TCI 6X is two-fold: the tranny, which is much like installing any other trans, and the electronic/electrical systems to get the tranny and paddles to work. Luckily, TCI supplies some very detailed instructions on how to do the job, but this owner made it even easier. He had The 401K Club in Anaheim, California, do the job for him. We watched as the crew at 401 tackled the job and came away thinking that someone with a good knowledge of mechanics could do this at home. When we say “good,” we don’t mean that you can change your own plugs, but that you have the ability, tools and space to change out a transmission and do not just outrageously difficult, but complex, wiring, too.

If this is describes you, and you want what amounts to an unfair advantage (is there such a thing in racing?) when autocrossing, then maybe you should take a good long look at the TCI Automotive 6X six-speed transmission.



151 Industrial Dr.

Ashland, Miss. 38603



4392 E. La Palma Ave.

Anaheim, CA 92807


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