Sunday, August 12, 2007

Push button car

I read of innovations in new cars with great interest. Rear view cameras are a bit of wank. Turning your neck around to check behind will probably help your arthritis. Use it or lose it.

Have you noticed how hard it can be to walk between parked cars at times? Their bat wing mirrors stick out so much, you have to turn sideways to get past. There is some massive four wheel drive in our car park that has mirrors that fold in when the engine is turned off, or should I say the car shut down. Hmm, good idea.

Santa may or not bring me a satellite navigation system this year. Quite unlikely really, but I think they may be useful and certainly fun. Can't you bloggers club together and buy me one?

We hear endlessly about ABS, ESB.....lost track of them and what they do. But they are good if they help avoid accidents. Of course driving within the capabilities of your car is a bit alien to many. The capabilities of cars are so much greater now, so you tail gate a bit closer, go around the corner a bit faster, swing the steering wheel that bit sharper. Your car is your protector and insulates you from the world.

When my old car, the Humber, first arrived it Australia, a car that had been retrofitted with power brakes had a warning sticker on the rear windscreen. Caution, power brakes fitted. The Humber came with power operated disc brakes and also hemispherical combustion chambers in its engine, long before Chrysler made a song and dance about them in their Valiants.

Speaking of Valiants (I had one of those too, best car ever), I mentioned to R just now about a new car that now has an electronic push button gear shift on the dash board. Seems a brill idea to not have a silly stick in the middle of the car.

I had one thirty years ago, R said. I have established that is was an AP6 Valiant (I think) and indeed it did have push buttons for gear selection. To the right of the steering wheel were buttons in a vertical row, L, N, D, R, low, neutral, drive and reverse and next them a slide lever to select park.

For you real motorheads or people who typed Valiant into that very large search engine and came across this post, I believe it was a three speed transmission. Holden (GMH) and Falcon (Ford) only offered a very inferior and slow two speed automatic. If you selected Low from start, the car would stay in first gear. If you selected Low when you were moving and in Drive, the car would select second gear. Valiant enthusiasts, correct me if you will.

My Humber had a quirky gear selection too. It went in the opposite direction to most column shift automatics. Park was on the hard down left, not the high right. It was a three speed auto, but started in second gear unless you really put your foot down. It had a very sloppy change from second into a locked up top gear and when driving it on steep hills, it was always hunting between second and top, in a constant state of being in neither gear. But it was just a matter of shoving the gear stick forward and it would stay in second gear up to about 80kph. It made for a very smooth car, eminently suitable for heavy London traffic.

Aren't moi so butch with all my car talk?


  1. My dad had a Valiant, and loved to pick me up from school in it. Talk about cringeworthy!!

    He only sold it about a year ago too.

  2. Only a Valiant Charger would be suitable for Steph.

  3. Haha, butch with all that car talk..indeed! Living out in the sticks as a kid, my mum and dad had many a car..we lived in an area with un made roads...well, it is still that way to this day too.
    Predominantly we had occasional Ford, including dad's fairlane Rach Wagon, and once dad had a loan of a car off an American was a yank tank...arrgh, I cannot remember the name of it... but it was like riding in a boat, YES, I got sea sick from it!
    Many a timeI did say to my mum, "Park around the corner from the school when you pick me up". That was on Friday's when I didn't have to ride the school bus home. Now I am sad that I said it.. my poor mum.
    We used to paddock bash in the mini minor..and we did have a valiant once, that dad gave to my Uncle when he needed a car. I liked it. It was an Army tank in dusguise I reckon!

  4. Very butch indeed... careful're turning me on.

    If Santa doesn't bring you a NavBitch, let us know and Robyn & I will throw in five bucks each.

  5. I worked out that if I bought a single $600 nav system now, or a new melways every five years, I'd be driving well into my 90s before melways caught up to nav system. Aside from the hot, slightly English female voice telling you what to do and when to do it, ther's very little point in me ever getting one. If one does come my way by accident, I'll be sure to pass the digital map love to you.

  6. I remember them Cazzie. Didn't they have faux wood grain on the side? We used to bush bash with a Morry Minor too, a neighbours.

    Thanks Jo and Robyn. Do you want to see the car grease build up under my nails?

    Oh no Rob, not the English nanny holding a cane syndrome. Seen

    I only want sat nav as a toy to play with.