Hinson Motorsports and MGW Shifters make an outstanding product for the sake of performance shifting that T56/TR6060 there are no doubts about it. But which of the two looks better, feels better, is machined better and more importantly, offers a shorter shift? It’s extremely easy to hop on the “I went with such and such product so forget the other name brand” bandwagon and we see it all the time. Therein lies the motivation for the first of many product reviews utilizing two very promising short throw shifters from two promising entities that are also ZVO approved vendors.
The OEM C6Z06 shifter performs fairly well and we consider it an upgrade in comparison to the OEM C5Z06 shifter setup, but there’s always room for improvement. Right? (As much room as our wallets will allow of course.)
Test Car : 2006 C6Z06 Corvette
Hinson Motorsports Install Notes:
- The Assembly can be installed in either direction.
- You will re-use the OEM plastic cap found on the ball of the stock shifter.
- Install time approx one hour.
There are no instructions provided with the Hinson short shifter. However, they are available directly through this video provided by Brian at Hinson Motorsports (any other questions you have regarding install just ask)
Initial Review before break in miles : After everything is buttoned up and you first test it out in the garage, you will instantly feel the difference in shift travel. It’s so short and so confident that I second guessed whether I was actually in gear or not a time or two. The difference from stock to the Hinson short throw is night and day in
comparison to shift travel and overall “slop” in the design of the shifter. You are supposed to leave the shifter in reverse over a 12-24 hour period to help break it in. The theory behind this is that constant tension on the stiff bushings over time will loosen the left to right play (which you will definitely want). Driving on the street through stop and go traffic initially seems like a challenge and I felt a bit uncomfortable with the added force required to make the shift. Luckily, I was able to break in the shifter per Hinson’s specs shortly after installing thanks to the drive over to the Street Car Takeover Party in KC.
Thoughts after break in : Muscle memory won’t help you here, you will have to adapt a new shifting style with the Hinson unit but that’s a trade I’ll make for a shorter shift and Hinson certainly provides us with that. After my initial intimidation and the break in miles I really started to LOVE shifting this thing. It loosens up just enough to feel confident in your shifts while reinforcing the firm travel from gear to gear. WOT shifting will take you a couple pulls to relearn and once you do you’ll be grinning after each shift. My favorite part of the Hinson shifter aside from the obviously shorter shift is the “locked in” pop I felt when moving from neutral to gear. I did miss a gear a couple times because of the extra effort required to shift, something I had a hard time remembering to do.
Added Bonus : When I first purchased the car it was having issues getting into reverse with the stock shifter at random times. Installing the Hinson short shifter cleared that issue up completely. It may have just been that the stock shifter was trash but regardless I was pretty happy about it. (Stock shifter mileage: 74,300)
C5 Hinson shifter : $384.00
C6/C7 Hinson shifter : $419
Conclusion : The Hinson short shifter delivers exactly what is advertised as long as you are able to compromise somewhat for the bigger picture. Daily driving isn’t terrible but it WILL require a significant amount of added pressure at times that you may just want to effortlessly shift through the city limits. For those of you that are focused solely on drag racing this is your shifter, just remember to workout those forearms a couple times before your next track day.
MGW Short Shifter with Lower Box Install Notes:
- I installed both shifters with the logo facing the drivers side.
- Ensure the pivot cup ball and housing has the proper amount of grease
- Install time with lowerbox approx 2 hours.
- Linkage rod in lower box is transferred from OEM unit
George at MGW Shifters has provided the following videos to help with the install process.
Initial Review after install : MGW doesn’t mention anything about a break in process with their shifter and that is one of the first things I noticed in comparison to the Hinson unit. The stiffness from left to right feels very similar to the stock unit and there isn’t any additional force required to make the shift. Long story short, it’s MUCH easier to move around in all directions then the Hinson shifter. For some reason, the MGW shifter feels longer then the Hinson when installed in the car. The travel between shifts is definitely shorter then stock but doesn’t feel as short as the Hinson shifter. Driving around town is a sigh of relief. The throws are smooth and tight, definitely less slop in all directions then the stock unit and my confidence in shifting is reinstated. Personally, it was easier for me to WOT shift the MGW then the Hinson shifter. I should also mention that my reverse was also working every time with this shifter as well.
C5/C6/C7 Standard/Race Spec :$360.00 (OEM knobs)
C5/C6/C7 Standard/Race Spec with new flat stick : $390 (white or black ball)
Conclusion : If you are looking for shorter shifter that retains a factory feel then the MGW shifter will suit you well. The design is flawless in fitment and form and shifting is fast and effortless. The attention to detail and thought that George has put into his MGW shifter packages for us Corvette guys is hard to beat. MGW goes above the minimum to provide a great shifting experience from pre thread locked hardware to dynamat and custom cut heat shields and even including allen keys for us to use.
Initial Review after install : The MGW race spec was designed for those seeking an even shorter shift than the standard shifter. Install procedure is the same as the standard shifter and pictured above is the “Flat Stick” assembly. Left and right travel is even and requires minimum effort to shift similar to the standard version. The throw feels just a hair shorter than the standard shifter and definitely not as jaw dropping as the Hinson shifter on the initial drive around town. WOT shifting is flawless for the way I drive and my favorite part is how easy it still is change gears during city driving.
STOCK : Neutral – 3rd = 18 degrees
HINSON: Neutral – 3rd = 11 degrees
MGW Standard: Neutral – 3rd = 13 degrees
MGW Race Spec: Neutral – 3rd = 12 degrees
Measurement Method : I sat in the garage for a while thinking about the best way to measure the travel between shifts knowing that most people relate to holding a strait ruler from a neutral point on the dash and the shifter and then measuring before the shift and after the shift. I decided to try something different by using a pitch angle tool to measure angle degree changes from neutral (90 degrees) to 3rd gear.
MY PICK :
Overall I was impressed with all 3 shifter setups. Each one offers a unique shifting experience that superseded my OEM shifter in every aspect. For now I’ll keep the MGW Race Spec shifter and lowerbox setup in the car despite the fact that the Hinson shifter is a degree shorter. For my current WHP and my addiction to drive the car daily the Race Spec just suits me best. It’s effortless shifting and tight tolerance design gives me confidence in WOT shifting/ rev match downshifting and overall city driving. Initially I was hesitant about the Race spec being too aggressive. I’m glad I was wrong. The flat stick design flows well with the interior of the car. I’m sure I’ll second guess this decision a hundred times because in the end, the Hinson measures shorter, feels shorter and gives you that satisfaction of locking into gear, something you will have to experience on your own. Just make sure the guys at Hinson include a month pass to your local gym to prepare for the extra muscle required to shift, or maybe I just need to hit the gym.