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3 on the tree

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  • 3 on the tree

    I thought it was always a bit unusual to have a column shift on the TBird, but after looking at these muscle cars, I was really surprised.


  • #2
    I agree Nyles - not knowing that much about the Camaro - (maybe all the Chevy guys know right off) - but that one was a real surprise.

    When I was a kid - my first car was a '67 MGBGT. All MG's had a hydraulic clutch - easy to push - really easy. 4 on the floor.

    I needed a truck one time to pick up a motorcycle I bought. My neighbors Dad had an '70 F-100 so I asked to borrow it. Her Dad asked me if I knew how to drive a column shift and I didn't so he came out and showed me. He gave me the key and went back in. I cranked up the truck to head out. DAAAANNNNGGG - I thought something was wrong because I couldn't push the clutch in so I went to the door and asked him to come out and see what was wrong. I told him the clutch was stuck. He laughed and just said - push harder.

    I couldn't believe how much more pressure that clutch took to operate over my old MG..... but I made it.....

    He also had a '67 Fairlane Sports Coupe that was straight drive column shift - remember riding with him in that one a few times so the Torino didn't surprise me as much.

    Cool memories - thanks Nyles.


    • #3
      3 speed column shifters have their own personality. Once you get over the fact that you're not going to do any serious shifting, you'll find the easy going column shifter simple and fun. If you own a car with a bench seat, the floor is clear, clean, and uncluttered. That's just what Detroit had in mind.



      • #4
        Our '59 Galaxie came with a 'standard column stick shift'. Meaning, this transmission was included in the base price.

        We tend to forget that ALL cars were standard shift right from the beginning. My Mom learned how to drive our family 1954 Country Sedan with standard shift and a Mileage Maker Six, in the middle of a Michigan winter.

        Cars came with a price and many customers simply refused to pay any more. My Dad didn't want extra cost options he didn't need. He saved until he could pay with cash. The 1960s changed him as more option packages were introduced.

        Human nature is funny. Europeans didn't trust automatics for many decades, citing accidents where the car 'drove itself'. That would NEVER happen with a stick.

        Americans are no different because we didn't trust the first tubeless tires and how long did it take for hydraulic brakes, steel-body cars, electric wipers and radial tires to become popular? Cost ruled supreme but competition ushered innovations at a reasonable cost.

        BTW, Robin wouldn't drive her Galaxie until I changed it to a C-O-M. To this day, she will not drive my daily driver because it is a stick. - Dave
        My latest project:
        CLICK HERE to see my custom hydraulic roller 390 FE build.

        "We've got to pause and ask ourselves: How much clean air do we need?"
        --Lee Iacocca


        • #5
          I didn't learn to drive a three on the tree until I got my '61 Sunliner. I hate to admit it but it was my wife who taught me how to drive it.

          Attached Files
          John Pizzi - Squarebirds Administrator

          Thunderbird Registry #36223


          • #6
            I learned to drive on a 64 Galaxie - 352, 4bbl and 3 speed and no options!! Before that my parents had several Chebbys with 3 on the tree. We did didn't know any different. The family's first automatic was in my 67 Fairlane GTA! Some habits die hard.

            My daughter learned to drive a 99 Cougar with a stick shift and her husband just bought a Roush Mustang convertible with a manual trans. (He was a BMW addict, but has converted) She loves it. Once you have the grip of the stick in your blood, you never lose it!