Once upon a time, I owned a 1939 Chevrolet pickup truck, and was working on putting a modern-ish Chevy 350 and a T-5 transmission in it. In the process of converting a Camaro transmission into one better suited for the seat position of a truck, I ended up with a spare Borg-Warner T-5 tailshaft housing kicking around (this is the back end of a transmission in a rear wheel drive car/truck). It's a nice example of a complex, mass-produced diecast aluminum part. One cold night in Syracuse, it turned into a lamp.
Ok, it took more than one night. I started and stopped on it a few times, but it eventually became a useful lamp and a fun conversation piece. It's my idea of Restoration Hardware.
Body--T-5 tailshaft housing, cleaned, wire brushed, and sealed with clear laquer
Switch--Standard on/off/dimmer wall switch, mounted to a 3/16" aluminum plate (also brushed and laquered), which mounts to the flange that usually mounts the gear shift lever. The knob is a cabinet pull I found at Lowe's! Fasteners are standard Allen head cap screws with black oxide finish.
Lamp parts: Lamp rod, bulb socket, and wiring were all taken from an ugly lamp I found in my basement. Lamp hardware is easy to find at most hardware stores, or you can buy an ugly lamp at Goodwill and cannibalize it.
Lamp rod mounting: The driveshaft end of the transmission (the top end in Lamp Mode) has a hole much bigger than the ~1/2" lamp rod, but I found an aluminum pulley, turned down one lip of it until it fit into the transmission, then used two thin nuts to lock the rod to the pulley (bottom picture). The pulley is held in place on the housing with a thin bead of RTV silicone. Simple but effective.
I love lamp. -Brick