What Happened to Pete Jackson Gear Drives?

Published by Dustin Babich on

Pete Jackson gear drives once held a prominent place in the hot rod world. Their distinctive whine was a familiar sound at drag strips and car shows, signifying a focus on performance under the hood. However, the gears seem to have ground to a halt, leaving enthusiasts wondering about their disappearance.

Pete Jackson: The Man Behind the Gears

Before delving into the fate of the gear drives, let’s acknowledge the man behind the name. Pete Jackson was a drag racer and innovator in the hot rod scene. His dissatisfaction with existing timing components propelled him to develop his own gear drive systems, promising precision and durability for demanding engines.

The Rise and Fall

Pete Jackson carved a niche for himself in the world of engine timing components. His gear drives replaced traditional timing chains, promising increased accuracy and durability, especially in high-performance engines. Yet, the company seems to have quietly faded away, with gear drives becoming harder to find.

There are a few factors that likely contributed to this decline:

  • Rumors of Wear and Reliability: While some swore by Pete Jackson gear drives, concerns circulated about accelerated camshaft wear and, in extreme cases, potential engine damage due to debris.
  • Competition and Technology: Advances in timing chain technology led to more durable and quieter options, making gear drives less appealing for some builders.
  • Company Changes: It’s believed that Pete Jackson sold his company. Although it’s unclear precisely when, a change in ownership can sometimes lead to shifts in product focus and availability.
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Where Do They Stand Today?

It seems that Pete Jackson gear drives are no longer in regular production. While you might occasionally stumble upon old stock or used sets, they’ve become a rarer sight in the performance parts market.

The Gear Drive Debate

Despite their diminished presence, gear drives still spark discussion among gearheads. Some maintain they offer advantages for specific high-performance builds, while others consider them a relic of a bygone era where technology has offered better alternatives.

Alternatives to Pete Jackson Gear Drives

With Pete Jackson gear drives becoming less common, what are the alternatives for engine builders? Here are a few options:

  • High-Performance Timing Chains: Advances in chain technology, including double-roller chains and adjustable timing sets, offer increased accuracy and durability compared to older chain designs.
  • Belt Drives: Popular in some racing applications, belt drives are known for quiet operation and reduced crankshaft stress, but can require more maintenance.
  • Gear Drives from Other Manufacturers: While not as widely known as Pete Jackson, other brands offer gear drive systems, potentially with advancements in design or materials.

Finding Pete Jackson Gear Drives Today

While no longer in mainstream production, there’s still a chance to snag a Pete Jackson gear drive:

  • “New Old Stock”: Some retailers might have leftover inventory from before production ceased.
  • Used Marketplaces: Online auctions, forums, and classifieds could be sources for used gear drives. Thoroughly inspect any used components for wear and damage before purchase.
  • Vintage Parts Specialists: Dealers specializing in classic performance parts might have Pete Jackson gear drives in their collection.
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Should You Use a Pete Jackson Gear Drive?

The decision to use a Pete Jackson gear drive, or any gear drive for that matter, depends heavily on your specific build and goals. Consult with experienced engine builders, weigh the pros and cons carefully, and be aware of the potential risks associated with older components.


Though their presence has diminished, Pete Jackson gear drives remain a piece of hot-rodding history. Their legacy is intertwined with an era of innovation and the relentless pursuit of performance. Whether you admire them from afar or actively seek them out for your build, they continue to hold a certain fascination for gearheads.


Are Pete Jackson gear drives completely gone?

While not in mainstream production, you might still find old inventory or used sets for sale.

Why did Pete Jackson gear drives disappear?

A combination of factors, including reliability concerns, advancements in timing chains, and likely a change in company ownership.

Are gear drives better than timing chains?

Debatable. Gear drives may offer precision in certain builds, but modern timing chains are generally more reliable and quieter.

Where can I find Pete Jackson gear drives?

Check online forums, parts marketplaces, or specialized vintage performance parts suppliers.

Should I consider a gear drive for my build?

Consult with experienced engine builders and carefully assess your engine’s specific needs and the potential trade-offs in durability.

Dustin Babich

Dustin Babich

Dustin Babich

As the passionate author behind Automotivesimple.com, Dustin Babich is a knowledgeable expert in all things automotive. With a deep understanding of car tools, equipment, engines, and troubleshooting techniques, Dustin Babich shares invaluable insights, practical tips, and effective solutions to empower readers in overcoming car-related challenges.

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