Sunday, 20 November 2016

The Great Race...

The film, not the recent US Presidential race...

As Mrs O'Blene and I watched one of our favourite films again last evening, 'The Great Race', with Jack Lemmon, Natalie Wood and Tony Curtis, and in between absolute hoots of laughter, we suddenly realised that the cars all had their steering wheels on the right!

This was news to me, so I had to find out if it was one of Blake Edwards' merry japes, or a true fact!


It is indeed the latter, as the pic above shows, and here's the link to more info...

Every time I've tried to drive a left-hand drive  manual-gearbox car, I've managed to change from 1st to top in one easy swipe on many occasions, but that's another story!


10 comments:

rvi said...

Agree - a brilliant film (especially the custard pie scenes).

I have driven all over the world in all sorts of vehicles. It made no difference to me which side the steering wheel was, although when I collected my own very first LHD car way back in the early 1960s from the garage in Europe, I came out of the forecourt and instead of turning right, I immediately drove straight across the road into the wrong lane! Fortunately a mechanic was with me who quickly put me right and happily there happened to be no oncoming traffic!

The oddest car I ever drove was a Citroen with a push-me/pull-me gear-stick with a ball on the end poking out of the dashboard. That took a while to get used to. But I could never get on with those steering column shifts like they used to have on the old Vauxhalls. I have had automatics since the mid-1970s (being a lazy slob!).

Sen. C.R.O'Blene said...

The steering was always OK, Reevers, but a right-hand stick change kept me hopelessly waggling the gears in all directions, and creating mayhem to every rude Italian driver on the road! It's funny how they all had something wrong with their middle fingers!

The funniest time (on an automatic), was in US, when we picked up a car which had the raising steering wheel sytem. We went from the airport to the hotel with my hands about three ft above my head...

Sen. C.R.O'Blene said...

Now you mention it, my dad had a Vauxhall Cresta with a change like that, and after a few crunches, I did get the hang of it, but reverse was always going to be touch and go...

Hillman Minxes also had a change like that too!

rvi said...

Back in the 70s I had a Hillman Avenger - but automatic (of course!).

Last year I spent a few days in England and because of a cock-up with the booking when I arrived to collect my car there were only manuals left. So we had to make do with a pokey little manual Peugeot - and virtually every time I started it, I forgot to check that it was in neutral and simply switched the thing on - which of course made it lurch forward. I hated the blasted thing and was glad to give it back!

En passant, is your new VW a manual or automatic? (or is that a silly question?)

Thud said...

A great film and as for cars the advent of 8 gear autos couldn't come quick enough for me.

A K Haart said...

A fine film. Reminds me that there were one or two of that type in those days. "Those Magnificent Men In Their Flying Machines" springs to mind. Haven't watched any of them for ages though.

Michael said...

Reevers, it's a VW Golf 1.6 TDI Auto, and I just love it!

Round here it's very hilly and curvy, so I sometimes have to alternate between Drive, Sport and even Manual when I'm behind a bus...

But it's all dead easy and while I don't ever get into top in Sport, (no fast roads), it just goes like a rocket!

rvi said...

Ha ha! Yes, I thought that might be a silly question!

Once you put the gear in Drive, there is no need to touch the gear stick again as the car will do all the work for you - except if you are descending a very steep slope when it is advisable to shift down manually to stop the car running away with you - and let the engine do the braking. I have to do that when leaving a local car park which has a very steep spirally curvy road out. But it f goes straight back into Drive once I am out.

If you want it to be nippy and use a bit of wasted petrol, just leave it in Sport; no need to mess about with the different modes. I have all these options on my own car and occasionally pop it into Sport just for the hell of it, but my good lady prefers that I use the Comfort mode which is slightly more genteel - and which at my age is probably a very good idea anwyay! :-}

Michael said...

A good chum gave me a tip about not using cars very much, Reevers.

He said that as you need long journeys to make the heat of the engine work, it's best to use the Premium diesel, which won't clog up the jets. For a quid a fill more, I reckon that's worth the extra, as I buqqered my lawnmower by using supermarket petrol last year!

rvi said...

Yes, I agree with that. My Merc is rated at 95 octane which is just fine but I occasionally fill up with the higher premium stuff and give the car a good run to do the automatic internal cleaning. In this neck of the woods a litre costs the equivalent of about 40p (ducks rapidly to avoid flying wheel brace) so petrol does not really figure too much in our daily expenses. That is also one of the main reasons I can afford to run this vehicle!!

Happy motoring!