Why did column shift manual transmissions go away?

Discussion in 'The Pub' started by seajay, May 3, 2013.

  1. seajay

    seajay Member

    Messages:
    2,645
    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2006
    Location:
    The Chi
    I've never driven one but it makes more sense than a floor shifter in that your hand isn't as far off the steering wheel when you shift.

    So what happened?

    Heck, you don't see nearly as many column shift automatics for that matter.
     
  2. Route234

    Route234 Member

    Messages:
    8,860
    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2007
    Location:
    northern VA
    My friend had a "three on the tree" POS of some sort and it was a pain to drive. I cant recall if it was just because of how different it was, but I remember it being a strange car to drive.
     
  3. madstrat

    madstrat Member

    Messages:
    1,976
    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2006
    Location:
    tx
    the linkage sucked

    plus it looks cool
     
  4. Flyin' Brian

    Flyin' Brian Member

    Messages:
    29,648
    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2005
    Location:
    K7C 4K8
    I had a couple of those years ago and as a matter of fact I took my driving test with one. But nobody has 3 speed manual trannys anymore and the linkage for a 4 or 5 speed on the column could get pretty difficult to build.
     
  5. John Coloccia

    John Coloccia Cold Supporting Member

    Messages:
    9,560
    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2007
    Location:
    Connecticut, outside of Hartford
    Without knowing any of the real history, from an engineering standpoint it's an absolute nightmare. Maybe it didn't matter at one point, but I have a hard time imagining a linkage that will be reliable for 150,000+ miles, and that's pretty much what you expect from cars these days. I have a hard time imagining what possessed anyone to put a manual shifter there in the first place, honestly.

    I don't know if that's why they fell out of favor, but if it's not it should be :)
     
  6. Peteyvee

    Peteyvee Premium Platinum Member

    Messages:
    54,584
    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2010
    Location:
    Just East of Venice Beach
    The linkage and because they were PITA to drive. On one of my first jobs, I had to drive an ancient Ford Econoline panel van with a three on the tree. I figured it out in 30 seconds, but it sure wasn't fun or easy to drive.
     
  7. swlees

    swlees Member

    Messages:
    881
    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2013
    Location:
    Southeast PA
    I learned to drive on one - a 1966 Ford Custom 500 sedan. As I recall, the linkage was pretty sloppy and did not lend itself to fast shifting. Saab actually did have a 4 speed column shift on the first 96s that were imported in the 60's. As an additional bonus, the Saab was a two stroke.
     
  8. Tone_Terrific

    Tone_Terrific Supporting Member

    Messages:
    27,192
    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2004
    Location:
    Canada-GTA
    Sports cars had floor shifters because it worked better.
    Sedans had column shifter so you could have a bench seat.
    Floor was cool, in a sporty, mechanical way and became the norm as bench seating faded away.
     
  9. ACfixer

    ACfixer Member

    Messages:
    17,806
    Joined:
    May 12, 2005
    Location:
    L35 - SoCal
    Remember those old "custard and mustard" GTE trucks Pete? Yep, I was in one of those sporting three on the tree.
     
  10. Peteyvee

    Peteyvee Premium Platinum Member

    Messages:
    54,584
    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2010
    Location:
    Just East of Venice Beach
    Yes, I do Lance. You're dating yourself. :D I was working for Pico Screen and Glass and driving around huge panes of glass in that thing was not easy...
     
  11. mc5nrg

    mc5nrg Member

    Messages:
    8,713
    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2004
    Location:
    DC, Philly, Asquared, Upper Michigan
    The location of the transmission may be a factor...
     
  12. RussB

    RussB low rent hobbyist Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    11,063
    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2004
    Location:
    CT
    Safety

    With collapsible steering columns, you can't put steering linkage in the column. Folks also like tilt steering wheels. Nowadays with "fly by wire" transmissions, they put shift paddles in the steering wheels (for auto trannies)
     
  13. fredgarvin

    fredgarvin Member

    Messages:
    11,224
    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2007
    Location:
    Oregon coast mountains
    Didn't you listen to Groucho? It was the DeSoto push button transmission.

    [​IMG]
     
  14. twinrider1

    twinrider1 Member

    Messages:
    13,368
    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2005
    Location:
    Columbus, OH
    World car platforms? Shifter in the center, either floor console or on the dash for all cars. Use the same steering column for both, whether it's on the left side or the right.
     
  15. skydog

    skydog Supporting Member

    Messages:
    9,536
    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2006
    we used to move them to the floor, bench seat or not. only drawback was having that damn knobby thing on the steering column still!
     
  16. joe_jr

    joe_jr Supporting Member

    Messages:
    1,561
    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2006
    Location:
    Dearborn, MI

    I'd love to have bench seats back again.
     
  17. HoboMan

    HoboMan Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    15,836
    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2007
    Location:
    WI
    I used to drive my friends old AMC Rambler with column shift and it DID NOT make sense.
    Imagine turning left with your left hand on the steering wheel as your right hand is shifting upward on the column.
    Akward.

    Floor stick shifting is SO MUCH Better.
     
  18. bluesjuke

    bluesjuke Disrespected Elder

    Messages:
    24,147
    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2005
    Location:
    Gretchen's House, Bluesland, TX.





    "Name the gear, win a prize"
     
  19. ANALOG GUY

    ANALOG GUY Member

    Messages:
    1,838
    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2012
    Location:
    Space coast, fl.
    I've got a '61 chevy belair with 3 on the tree, had a few more including a Benz sedan with 4 spd. on the column. Plenty of wear points causing slop over the years.
     
  20. bluesjuke

    bluesjuke Disrespected Elder

    Messages:
    24,147
    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2005
    Location:
    Gretchen's House, Bluesland, TX.
    The first time I drove one was an old Bronco.
    Not a very good idea but easy to get familiar with and feel natural.
     

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice