John Kilgore Bio & Press Clippings
The first day he
drove to high school, it was in a 4" chopped Model A with
a flathead engine that he put together himself. It's no wonder
John Kilgore has been a documented innovator and inventor as far
back as August 1969's issue of Hot Rod Magazine, when he was acknowledged
for modifying gear sets to customize ratios. To this day, he is
one of the world's foremost experts in custom gear sets.
Another milestone was 1974, when John became the first to make
bell housing adapters so that the 400 Turbo could go into almost
any (appropriate) car. Many articles have been written featuring
Kilgore’s modified torque converters & transmissions,
as well as his unusual engine swaps.
Now, after years of incremental development, John is marketing
his uniquely lightweight racing transmission, the Kilgore TH400,
a.k.a., the Superlite. The slogan, “Lighter Parts = Quicker
Starts” has proven to be true as drag racers regularly shave
.2 to .5 seconds off of their times. Refinements have effectively
added the strength and reliability you’d expect from a GM
As John sees it, the real revolution unfolding is the way the
Superlite is catching on with Mustang owners. “Until now,
this level of high performance trans has been so vastly unavailable
to the Ford community,” says Kilgore, “it’s
taking off like wildfire.” Hence the new slogan “A
Must for Mustangs!”
August 2001, Super Chevy Magazine - "Not only is Kilgore's TH400 lighter, but when
used with the correct gear ratios, it becomes a bullet-proof automatic
to launch any high-torque, big- or small-block racer down the
quarter mile easily and reliably."
Chevy High Performance Magazine - "Kilgore
installed one of his modified TH400s into a low-10-second
small-block-powered race car and found an instant 0.3-second
drop in ET"
March 1985, Keepin' Track of Vettes Magazine - "...he has become known as an expert in repairing one of the finest automatic transmissions ever invented - the GM TurboHydromatic 400." "With Kilgore's 'Modified' Planetary Gears, Your Transmission Takes More Horsepower and Gives More Pulling Power." "...more strength in the tranny - greater longevity."
August 1981, Hot Rod Magazine - "Vega engine swaps have been done to radically increase performance, but now John Kilgore has come up with a swap that preserves the Vega's original design concept as an economical solution to the daily transportation problem." "The best of American and German know-how, this VolksVega is Vunder-car."
December 1978, Off-Road Magazine - "...his solution is both simple and effective. He modifies a standard torque converter..." "John Kilgore's torque converter setup is tidy and it does get the job done."
1975, Petersen's Complete Book of Engine Swapping No. 4 -
Kilgore installs a 425 Buick Riviera 425-cu.in., 340 hp V-8 engine
with a Buick Turbo-Hydro trans, into a '64 Chevy pickup. He also
adds power steering and air conditioning.
July 1974, Popular Hot Rodding Magazine - "John Kilgore, a long-time budget racer and hot rodder, decided that it was time to take advantage of the numerous non-Chevy Turbos by making an adapter that allows them to be used behind Chevy engines... Using Kilgore's adapter eliminates the need for special engine side mounts to prevent damaging engine/transmission sag. Now any 400 Turbo is a bolt-in, even in a '57 Chevy!"
August, 1969, Hot Rod Magazine - "A young man by the name of John Kilgore... tackled certain problems plaguing the Hydro with a new approach." "John modified parts to obtain the desired ratios..." "John has built many of these transmissions and not one has failed..." "this trans has a sole purpose in life, and that is to transfer your current bog condition into a winning combination."