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Vehicles with strange controls.

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This is not so much a strange control as a perverted control. In the 30's Rover provided a short gear lever that was a nice to use. Unfortunately the car it was attached to was either too rusty or expensive for me so I'm stuck with the waggly abomination that replaced it on my P4. It is made this way to allow a 3rd person in the front and is adjustable so that the lever can be swung closer to the driver. Unfortunately it does a terrible job of changing gear- the series Land rover gearbox is similar but without the linkage and you don't often hear people eulogising about how slick that is.

One control you don't come across too often these days is the freewheel which is engaged by turning the black knob. This allows clutch-less gear changes and the possibility of shitting yourself on long declines with a sharp bend at the bottom.

 

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Citroen DS 23 with 5 speed column change box.......................to digress slightly, in the sixties, Triumph flogged a load of Standard Atlas vans to the Belgian Postal service.................which kept ending up in tram depots..............the track on them was exactly the same width as the tram tracks............

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I once had a GS Pallas with enough odd controls to send a millennial used to Euro-norm into paroxisms of confusion. A normal gear lever and gearbox but with hydraulic drive - moving the lever triggered an electro valve which cut hydraulic pressure, for smooth changes.

 

A lever which moved the car up and down on its suspension, either to prevent clamping or to clamber over rocky tracks. Having demonstrated this unusual feature, it confused some even more to explain that if you loaded the car up with passengers and luggage, the car would automatically rise to the right height - no driver involvement necessary.

 

On the GSa, the revolving drum speedo and rev-counter together with no stalks but rockers and lunettes further foxed most people, the dashboard handbrake handle only reinforced their view there was something not right with this car. Opening the doors wasn't quite as confusing as on other Cits, but for some it was a struggle.

 

If people managed to re-educate their brains, the cars were beyond superb, I think they outsold the BX despite being from a generation when far fewer cars were sold.

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Ah, the Citroen C-Matic, micro switches and s olenoids and impossible to find transmission fluid.

I've had them in Gsa and CX flavour. Both nice to drive, both came with shocking mpg's.

In fact I replaced the 1300 Gsa with an 3litre XM and saved money on fuel.

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Ah, the Citroen C-Matic, micro switches and solenoids and impossible to find transmission fluid.

I've had them in Gsa and CX flavour. Both nice to drive, both came with shocking mpg's.

In fact I replaced the 1300 Gsa with an 3litre XM and saved money on fuel.

 

From a time when people accepted non-standard gearboxes came with a fuel penalty, remember.

 

I always had issues with GS fuel economy (even with a 5 speed manual), partly because the engine alone was quieter and smoother at 90 than a Cortina or Marina at 55, partly because the suspension and roadholding was so amazing it seemed a shame not to use its abilities.

 

But also because compared with flimsy VWs, Vauxhalls and Fords it was heavy for its class and because of French road tax the engines were no bigger than necessary. For France's fast roads, not our roundabout-strewn suburban nation. They even sacrificed economy for quietness with a bit of cylinder head quackery - in France it was very much a Rover 2000, bought by well-off older people.

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I found nearly all the controls in The Moogs 406 confusing.

Well, from a base 305 van with sub-minimalist controls, some of them don't work, to a 406, that took me a couple of days to realise there was a THIRD stalk. Wtf does that do ? No idea at the time but left it alone in case something happened and I wouldn't know what to do to reverse things. I woz well confuzd bro, and the heater controls, jeez, a whole panel of buttons ffs. Stab, stab, stab. More in hope than certainty.

Apart from that it was an alright steer when you got used to it.

Didn't get the looks that a 305 van does of course. Verdict; Went well but somehow a bit bland.

A sincere thanks to The Moog for the loan while windscreen and clutch cable disabled my heap.

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Fixed wing aircraft want to stay airborne, whirlibirds do not; Helicopters don't fly, they're so ugly they repel the earth. Even with hindsight it's not clear why we're still fucking about with helicopters and nonsense like the V22 when the Fairey Rotodyne existed and worked really well.

 

Apart from deafening everyone in a 10-mile radius, according to legend...

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As far as switches and warning lights go, the 924 is not a shining example of Germanic rationality. The hazards, sidelight/headlight and HRW switches are either side of the steering column, the rear fogs switch is in the middle of the dashboard and the rest are behind the gear lever. These include a switch which seems to have the function of disabling the "secondary headlights" (in the bumper) when it's switched on. In addition to the main cluster of warning lights, there's a second handbrake warning light in the middle of the dash, and a second main beam warning in a hole between two of the instrument dials (though IIRC, one of those is for the main [popup] lights and the other for the secondary ones). There's also another hole between the dials which doesn't actually have a light in it.

 

All part of its charm, though...

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Apart from deafening everyone in a 10-mile radius, according to legend...

Not really; the prototype was louder than it should have been as BEA decided well into the development phase that the MTOW had to grow by eleventy percent and a quick way of doing that was to boost the tip jets beyond their designed thrust, extra fuel and air meant much greater noise. Had it gone into production larger tip jets would have been designed to return it to the original (still quite noisy) noise level and newer tip jet designs with lower noise levels were in development. From a practical perspective the 'noisy' phase would have been minimal, perhaps 90 seconds at take-off when full power is applied and then perhaps 30-60 seconds at landing. Not that noise levels are a very compelling argument against, aeroplanes are noisy and it's no coincidence everyone on the ground at airfields trogs about with ear defenders.

 

It's quite something that the first helicopter flew 8 decades ago yet they're still falling out of the sky because of basic stuff like the rotor falling off or stopping because the gearbox decides to disassemble itself, generally killing the occupants in the process. Gyrodynes don't have gearboxes, as an engineer designing failure points out of a system appeals to me from both an elegance and a safety perspective.

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Mitsubishi Colt had a dual range gearbox. Most pre-war stuff is unusual in some way. The Model T is indeed most odd.

Had one,quite clever as they had to introduce a shaft anyway to change orientation. A couple of gears duplicated 3H was same as 4L so ended up as 6 usable gears.

 

Sent from my SM-G935F using Tapatalk

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What about the switch in the Mini which just illuminated the (!) Lamp, bet there's no other car like that.

We had a 1981 Renault 4 that had an illuminated push-switch on the dash labelled ‘Brake Test’. I thought it would have done something really clever with solenoids and pistons but no, all it was was a low brake fluid warning lamp and pressing it just tested the bulb.

 

Squirrel2

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Early Saab 99s had a couple of controls which seem strange today, the 3rd position on the wiper stalk which kept the wipers running fast and added a continuous washer operation and in the days with 1750cc engines there was a freewheel control lever down by the gearlever.

 

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Since I've no pic of a 99's wiper stalk, here's a pic of an early engine.

 

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What about the switch in the Mini which just illuminated the (!) Lamp, bet there's no other car like that.

 

 

I'm pretty sure Talbot Horizons and Alpines prior to the "series 2" revamp had a similar button which seemed to do nowt but illuminate the handbrake tell-tale on the instrument panel. I think the Princess range had them as well, though it was a piano-key switch

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I'm pretty sure Talbot Horizons and Alpines prior to the "series 2" revamp had a similar button which seemed to do nowt but illuminate the handbrake tell-tale on the instrument panel.

They did. Some of the early series 2 models had them too before the wiring was modified to include the lamp check in the ignition-on-but-engine-not-running circuit. IIRC the early Samba had the same.

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My GS had an unlabelled button that did nothing but light an unlabelled lamp on the dash. I never saw it light up under any other circumstances, so I don't know what it meant - except that someone had pressed the button.

Citroen have continued this fine tradition of having a button and a lamp that does absolutely bugger all except give you the choice of driving with the lamp on or with the lamp off: The Citroen Berlingo always comes with HRW switch and a HRW lamp. Even on models with solid back doors and no glass to heat. The relay is even still fitted, so you can hear it click, and I'm assuming a cable goes live in the loom somewhere.... doesn't do a lot though.

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As far as switches and warning lights go, the 924 is not a shining example of Germanic rationality.

 

All part of its charm, though...

Was about to post on the scattergun approach to switch placement in the 924, but you've saved me the trouble! Ive got that switch by the gear knob that does something to the lights but i dont know what, theres no difference with it on or off.

You did miss the electric mirror adjustment hidden from view under the window switches. I had to read the manual to find it. Also the boot release button (late model luxury ftw!) is next to the accelerator pedal.

 

I do like the handbrake next to the door, but its the one thing that confuses me when i switch between cars.

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Have just completely randomly remembered the control in my Renault 25 Monaco that totally baffled my mother: the interior door handles. First time we went out in it she couldn't figure out how to get out.

They're a little square plastic flap with a recess at one side which looks (apparently) like it's an ashtray not a door handle. Her words not mine!

Thinking of the 25, the heater controls in them were a bit special, likewise the high level stereo controls with the huge (for the time) LCD screen integrated into the instrument panel. It felt like the thing was a space ship to me...and I'd still dearly love to have another one...

 

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Horrible quality, sadly that's the only photo I have of the interior of mine.  Still the most comfortable car I've ever sat in, by quite a long shot.  Yes, several models of Rolls-Royce, Bentley, Jaguar etc are in that list too.  Only things that have come even close have been a couple of Buicks and Cadillacs from the 70s and 80s.

 

I actually prefer the Monaco interior to the top of the line Baracca...I reckon the quilted leather on the doors suits the styling so much better than wood.

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