Saturday, February 11, 2017

Push Button Transmission

1962 Plymouth Valiant

Sometimes in the world of cars things that are old are new again. We're seeing that in the comeback of several nameplates that were retired and are finding their way back to the road. Names like Jeep's Wagoneer or Lincoln's Continental for instance. This is also the case with functional parts of the car like the transmission shifter. Some of them were on the column (who remembers "3 on the tree") while others and perhaps more common especially in later model vehicles the shifter was moved to the center console. Well, now there's a trend to go back to the older push button style shifters.  After talking to some Car Crazy fans they fondly remember the 1962 Plymouth Valiant who famously had the push button shifter mounted on the dash. (See below)

Acura RLX push button shifter on the center console.

Push button shifter mounted on the dash of a '62 Valiant.

Acura has re-introduced the push button transmission in the new RLX as noticed at the DC auto show posted by Grant Winter of In Acura's design the buttons are mounted on the console with varying shapes and textures. The gear selected illuminates to notify the driver of which gear they've activated. It's an interesting arrangement that apparently takes time to get used to. Notice the contrast between the two. It reminds of the distinct styles of the classic 1960's Starship Enterprise verse the modern 1990's version. They both do the same thing but one is a low tech functional version while the other is high tech sophistication.
You may enjoy this photo submitted to me by a reader (Thanks Jon!) of the 1962 Plymouth Valiant bought new for $1600 cash! What a proud moment for this couple! (They won the money playing Bingo at the Knights of Columbus!) You can click here for a gallery of photos of more cool pics of the push button shifter over the years. This sight has a plethora of pics to feast on. It's quite fun to browse through.  Have you ever owned or driven a car with a push button trans? Chime in! We'd love to hear from you.

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