tristarenvy
Topic Author
Posts: 2234
Joined: Wed Jan 21, 2004 2:07 am

Three-on-the-Tree Or Four-on-the-Floor?

Thu Nov 25, 2004 1:55 am

Back in the day when most family cars came w/bench seats, that were a mile wide and covered in vinyl, we had a choice when it came to shiftin' gears. A stalk out of the tranny hump, or an ungainly lever poking out of the steering column. Now it's all on the floor. But up until about 1979*, most CARS built in the U.S. of A. could be had, if they offered a manual transmission, with three-on-the-tree. Now, TRUCKS still offered that into the 80's.

Miss the old column gearchange, or not?

*I base the date on a quick look thru "Standard Catalogue of American Cars 1976-1986" AMC seems to have dropped it in '76...GM by '79 in the A bodies...Ford in '78 with the Fairmont...Chrysler in '78 w/midsize Monaco-Fury twins. If wrong, so sorry.
If you don't stand for SOMETHING, you'll fall for ANYTHING.
 
SlamClick
Posts: 9576
Joined: Sun Nov 23, 2003 7:09 am

RE: Three-on-the-Tree Or Four-on-the-Floor?

Thu Nov 25, 2004 3:00 am

Don't miss it at all. The linkage was complicated and the cars of the time were cheaply made. A few miles on them and you might have to carry a tool specifically to get the car out of some gear.

My '39 Dodge pickup paved the way for me with three on the floor. I've never owned column shift car other than the selector for the automatic in my '53 Chevy BelAir.

We had a '56 Packard Caribbean that had an automatic. The shifter was pushbuttons on a pad in the place of the column shifter. Really strange!

I love new cars. No nostalagia for anything but the really expensive cars of a couple of eras - Deusenbergs from the 30s, Ferraris of the 60s etc. Today's cars are technically fabulous except for the styling. (Whatever happened to a car having a little front and rear overhang? The 2005 models will get into suspension damage in a 2mph collision. Also don't care much for those GIANT chrome rings in the middle of the dash or the Mercedes SLK emblem that makes it look like a Studebaker!
Happiness is not seeing another trite Ste. Maarten photo all week long.
 
skysurfer
Posts: 1034
Joined: Wed Sep 15, 2004 5:37 am

RE: Three-on-the-Tree Or Four-on-the-Floor?

Thu Nov 25, 2004 7:46 am

I absolutely HATE having to drive 3-on-the-tree vehicles!! At work we have a '69 Chevrolet V8 truck and i try and get out of driving it whenever i can. I can drive it, it's just that i was born and raised in England so i'm not used to the shifter being where it is. On more than one occasion i've reached down to shift gears and wondered where the hell the shifter went!

Cheers
In the dark you can't see ugly, but you can feel fat
 
sccutler
Posts: 5835
Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2000 12:16 pm

RE: Three-on-the-Tree Or Four-on-the-Floor?

Thu Nov 25, 2004 9:49 am

Oh, nostalgia!

I still miss my '73 F100 with the 240 straight-6 and the three-speed tranny. Column shifter worked great, and it allowed the middle of the seat to be fully used, which is much more difficult with a 4-speed floor shifter.

Great truck. Wish I still had it.
...three miles from BRONS, clear for the ILS one five approach...
 
Superfly
Posts: 37705
Joined: Thu May 11, 2000 8:01 am

RE: Three-on-the-Tree Or Four-on-the-Floor?

Thu Nov 25, 2004 9:53 am

Believe it or not, I've never driven a manual colum shift vehicle. I'd love to get my hands on one and take it for a spin.
It would be bizare to drive a 1971 Plymouth Belvidere with a manual column shift.
Bring back the Concorde
 
NKP S2
Posts: 1665
Joined: Mon Dec 20, 1999 3:16 am

RE: Three-on-the-Tree Or Four-on-the-Floor?

Thu Nov 25, 2004 11:17 am

Floor shift always...whether 3 or 4 speed ( or 5, or 6 )

Never cared for column-shifted manual transmissions, I found them clunky, vague, and sloppy, much like SlamClick says. Hardly conducive to go ripping through the gears and barking the tires.................

BTW, I recall working on a customers old Saab Sonnet that had a column-shifted 4 speed.
 
ltbewr
Posts: 14495
Joined: Thu Jan 29, 2004 1:24 pm

RE: Three-on-the-Tree Or Four-on-the-Floor?

Thu Nov 25, 2004 12:34 pm

From June 1978 to June 1979, I owned a well used 1966 Plymouth Belvedere II, with good old '3 on the tree' (and oil buring/leaking Slant I-6 under the hood). This was the only car I owned with manual/stick transmission, and one of the few vehicles I regularly drove with such a shifter, as well as my brothers 1968 Ford F-100 pick up. So long as the mechanism wasn't too worn, they worked fine. As noted above, the column shifters opened up the middle part of the front seat, so could fit 6 in a car. (3 in the front seat).
Column mounted manual shift set up's were popular in the USA from the mid-1930's to the mid-1960's, declining sharply in about 1967 due to the dominance of automatic transmissions and the preference with higher preformance vehicles to have floor shifters. Many people converted their column shifters in both trucks and cars to floor mounted ones with easliy available kits for preformance or to replaced failing column shift systems. Column mounted stick shifts continued on some non-USA cars into the early 1970's, espcially Peugeot, Sabb and some other unique cars. The change to FWD cars and the mechanical problems with the designing and reliability of steering column mounted manual transmission shifters, finally doomed them. Whether automatic or manual floor shifter, often are cable and not hard linkage systems today.
 
whitehatter
Posts: 5180
Joined: Sat Jun 12, 2004 6:52 am

RE: Three-on-the-Tree Or Four-on-the-Floor?

Thu Nov 25, 2004 12:51 pm

The only one I've seen recently with a manual column change is a Kia Sedona

Dunno if they export them to the US but they look like the Chrysler Voyager

Nowadays there are quite a few coming along with dash mounted gears, and some of them are really comfortable to use as you don't need to move your arm down to a floor mounted lever.
Lead me not into temptation, I can find my own way there...
 
dmeeky243
Posts: 200
Joined: Mon Aug 30, 2004 3:48 pm

RE: Three-on-the-Tree Or Four-on-the-Floor?

Thu Nov 25, 2004 1:44 pm

Man, the 3 on the tree sure brings back memories. Although for my daily commuting life, I prefer it on the floor. Anyway, I used to be able to knock my dad's truck into second with a perfect upward motion, and some additional 'flair.' One time though, while demonstrating my shifting technique for my buddies in the truck with me, some guys waiting to turn thought I flipped them off and started trying to run me off the road. Must've looked interesting, us in a restored truck, and them in some beat up Ford Taurus.
"I have a favorite dish, which tends to change daily depending on my mood, or whether I have a hangover, or whether it's
 
itsjustme
Posts: 2738
Joined: Sun Apr 25, 2004 6:58 pm

RE: Three-on-the-Tree Or Four-on-the-Floor?

Thu Nov 25, 2004 8:46 pm

Anyone remember push button trannys? My grandma had either a Volvo or a Rambler (can't recall which right now) that had push buttons on the left side of the dash for P, D, N, R (remember, too, when on automatics, "reverse" was the bottom position for the gear shifter?).
 
tristarenvy
Topic Author
Posts: 2234
Joined: Wed Jan 21, 2004 2:07 am

RE: Three-on-the-Tree Or Four-on-the-Floor?

Sat Nov 27, 2004 12:00 am

My dad brought home a brand new 1964 Dodge Dart when I was three, and it had those cool push buttons. PLUS, the slider that allowed you to engage "PARK". Federal law of 1960-something that standardized the shift qudrants made them illegal.

Best use of push buttons goes to, yes, the long laughed at 1958 Edsel. Shift buttons were in the center of the steering wheel.
If you don't stand for SOMETHING, you'll fall for ANYTHING.
 
RedDragon
Posts: 1096
Joined: Sat Jul 03, 2004 2:24 am

RE: Three-on-the-Tree Or Four-on-the-Floor?

Sat Nov 27, 2004 3:17 am

Re. the Sedona - yes, Kia does export them to the US, along with pretty much their entire model range except for the Picanto (no surprise on that one!). The latest models have a dash-mounted gearchange rather than a column-mounted one, and although I don't remember the original models having one I could be wrong.

Also from Euroland, the last two generations of Renault Espace have had column shifters for the automatics (manual cars sticking with a rather underwhelming floor-mounted conventional gearstick - underwhelming given the rest of the interior), as does the iDrivel BMW 7-Series.
 
itsjustme
Posts: 2738
Joined: Sun Apr 25, 2004 6:58 pm

RE: Three-on-the-Tree Or Four-on-the-Floor?

Sat Nov 27, 2004 8:05 am

Speaking of classics....anyone seen the Ford commercial for the 05 Mustang starring, yes....Steve McQueen? It's a take off on Field of Dreams with dubbed in images of Steve from his role as Lt. Bullitt. A blast from the past.
 
N863DA
Posts: 1140
Joined: Sat Sep 04, 2004 6:36 am

RE: Three-on-the-Tree Or Four-on-the-Floor?

Sat Nov 27, 2004 10:47 am

WhiteHatter:

Don't mix up a, "dash" shift with a, "column" shift. In the years I lived in the UK, I never saw a column-mounted shift (either automatic or manual); however, like you said, I did see many dash-mounted shifts.

Meanwhile, I'm familiar with both the US and UK Kia Sedona, and neither have column shifts BUT they do have dash shifts, as you said.

A column shift (for those who may not be aware, but probably are), is mounted behind the steering wheel; in the US (and right-hand-drive countries) it replaces one of the windshield/turn signal arms in location on the steering column, and everything for that is elsewhere on the dash or, as in the case of many trucks (including my own Dodge), simply on the other arm (on the left). In the UK, I'm guessing things would be reversed because you move the stick with your, "inside" hand - the one nearest the center column.

As far as manual-transmission column shifts, that's a first for me! Oh how I learn from this site!

FLY DELTA JETS



N 8 6 3 D A

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: ArchGuy1, MaverickM11 and 18 guests

Popular Searches On Airliners.net

Top Photos of Last:   24 Hours  •  48 Hours  •  7 Days  •  30 Days  •  180 Days  •  365 Days  •  All Time

Military Aircraft Every type from fighters to helicopters from air forces around the globe

Classic Airliners Props and jets from the good old days

Flight Decks Views from inside the cockpit

Aircraft Cabins Passenger cabin shots showing seat arrangements as well as cargo aircraft interior

Cargo Aircraft Pictures of great freighter aircraft

Government Aircraft Aircraft flying government officials

Helicopters Our large helicopter section. Both military and civil versions

Blimps / Airships Everything from the Goodyear blimp to the Zeppelin

Night Photos Beautiful shots taken while the sun is below the horizon

Accidents Accident, incident and crash related photos

Air to Air Photos taken by airborne photographers of airborne aircraft

Special Paint Schemes Aircraft painted in beautiful and original liveries

Airport Overviews Airport overviews from the air or ground

Tails and Winglets Tail and Winglet closeups with beautiful airline logos