Just purchased a Manual transmission kit from the parts place inc. in Illinois and an alluminum bell housing. (71 Buick Skylark 455)
First, the alluminum bell housing would not let me fit my stock 455 starter. The nose would bottom out, first call the guy who answered said he never sold one before and suggested grinding away at housing to fit. Next day I call and get a guy named Joe, (maybe a boss?) who says I need to get a starter for a manual transmission. I call every parts place in arizona and NONE show a manual transmission option for a buick 455 starter. I had to buy a mini started from TA performance for $300 to fit the beefed up aluminum bell housing. I am still waiting for Joe to put his money where his mouth is and cough up a part number for this mysterious "manual tranny starter option"
Second, the manual conversion kit Part#MT166S is not the one pictured. The z bar is made of flat steel not like factory. When I called they said they use a oldsmobile kit for the pictures and the company who fabs them just uses flat steel like the 350 motors used. The clutch fork pushrod was 2" longer than the kit would accept, & told me I needed to fabricate it to fit, but then after arguing for 10 minutes, he states that he has one that is shorter & will send it to me, but refuses to overnight it, so now I have to wait another 5-10 days for a part that I am sure is not correct. They sent parts in zip lock bags all tossed loosely in a large box which I believe was scrapped & taped together from others & shipped. I expected a little nicer packaging for $300 worth of junk. There was no clutch return spring, no grease valve, but they state the kit has everything you need minus clutch, flywheel etc.
I highly recommend anyone thinking of buying anything from these guys to seriously rethink and try Year One or TA Performance. I have never had such problems with parts, and flat out denial of their parts being faulty. This kit is absolute garbage, & I am actively looking for replacement parts.
I have had 5 different mechanics at the repair shop working on & inspecting these parts. It is a reputable shop, & they have the same opinion as me. They say the kit is JUNK and told me to find a correct kit.