Figured out what was wrong with my shifter. I was right! ... sort of.
Ewww. Probably some of that is late seventies chest hair.
My gear lever was not holding in any particular gear. meaning while driving I could bump the lever with my arm and go straight from drive to reverse. Uh oh. anyway I figured the sear was likely not engaging to whatever tab it was supposed to go in. I figured something was worn, either the actual tabs or the sear.
What you are looking at is the main housing for the shifter. That split caused/is causing the larger back piece to generate spring-esque pressure and push outward, not engaging with the sear. Now, I can’t find this piece new. They make a similar piece for conversion to a 4 speed automatic:
But not a new piece for my car. Boo! But my dad does have brazing tools. Yay! The piece is also riveted in. Boo!
Ehh. At least I can actually fix this so I am pretty happy. What they do and do not make for these cars always surprises me.
I think I will figure out how the ratcheting function works AFTER I fix this lol.