snopes.com  


Go Back   snopes.com > Urban Legends > Automobiles

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 27 September 2008, 06:08 PM
snopes's Avatar
snopes snopes is offline
 
Join Date: 18 February 2000
Location: California
Posts: 109,620
Driver This Car Changed America

Quote:
One could start a lively debate among historians about which car is the second most influential in American history. Perhaps the Chevy Corvair, which launched Ralph Nader, the consumer movement and the litigation explosion? Or the Volkswagen Beetle, the official car of the 1960s counter-culture? Or maybe the Toyota Prius, which might lead to cars powered by electricity and fuel cells?

But there is zero question about which car has had the biggest influence: Henry Ford's Model T, which went on sale 100 years ago, on Oct. 1, 1908.
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122246777029780525.html
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 28 September 2008, 08:42 PM
mountainman1956
 
Posts: n/a
Default

reminds me of the old joke "what time is it when a Model T hits a Model A.........tin to tin"
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 30 September 2008, 07:10 PM
Debunker's Avatar
Debunker Debunker is offline
 
Join Date: 29 September 2003
Location: Yorba Linda, CA
Posts: 420
Driver

One nit to pick: the article says the Model T's "...accelerator was mounted on the right side of the steering column, where turn signals often are found today."

Um, every car I've ever driven has the turn signal stalk on the left side of the column.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 30 September 2008, 07:15 PM
snopes's Avatar
snopes snopes is offline
 
Join Date: 18 February 2000
Location: California
Posts: 109,620
United Kingdom

Quote:
Originally Posted by Debunker View Post
One nit to pick: the article says the Model T's "...accelerator was mounted on the right side of the steering column, where turn signals often are found today." Um, every car I've ever driven has the turn signal stalk on the left side of the column.
What about in the UK?

- snopes
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 30 September 2008, 07:32 PM
BoKu's Avatar
BoKu BoKu is offline
 
Join Date: 20 February 2000
Location: Douglas Flat, CA
Posts: 3,813
Driver

I learned to drive in a Model T (in 1975).

Quote:
The Model T's two-cylinder engine produced 20 horsepower...
Oops, Paul got this one wrong. All real Model Ts had four-cylinder motors.

Quote:
The Model T had three floor pedals: a clutch, a reverse pedal and a brake...
Close. The left pedal goes half-way down for neutral, and all the way down for low gear. As stated, the middle pedal is reverse gear, and the right pedal, where the accelerator is on a modern car, is the brake.

Quote:
Mr. Ingrassia, a former Dow Jones executive and Pulitzer Prize-winning Detroit bureau chief for this newspaper, is writing a book on the cars that helped define American culture.
He is also co-author with Joseph White of Comeback : The Fall & Rise of the American Automobile Industry, a very readable account of the US auto industry in the 1980s and 1990s.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 30 September 2008, 07:37 PM
Der Induktionator's Avatar
Der Induktionator Der Induktionator is offline
 
Join Date: 18 April 2005
Location: Luzern, Switzerland
Posts: 1,296
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Debunker View Post
One nit to pick: the article says the Model T's "...accelerator was mounted on the right side of the steering column, where turn signals often are found today."

Um, every car I've ever driven has the turn signal stalk on the left side of the column.
Your left is the steering wheel's right, if it is facing you.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 30 September 2008, 08:15 PM
Richard W's Avatar
Richard W Richard W is offline
 
Join Date: 19 February 2000
Location: High Wycombe, UK
Posts: 25,125
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by snopes View Post
What about in the UK?

- snopes
I've not driven for ages, but I seem to remember they're on the right here, yes... (That's the right as you look at it from the driver's seat, not the right that the steering wheel would think of as being its right if it cared about these things, and thought of itself as facing towards the driver as Der Induktionator assumes.)
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 30 September 2008, 08:21 PM
Richard W's Avatar
Richard W Richard W is offline
 
Join Date: 19 February 2000
Location: High Wycombe, UK
Posts: 25,125
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by BoKu View Post
Close. The left pedal goes half-way down for neutral, and all the way down for low gear. As stated, the middle pedal is reverse gear, and the right pedal, where the accelerator is on a modern car, is the brake.
That's interesting though; I suppose I knew that the pedals were the same way round (CBA for Clutch Brake Accelerator) whether you were in a left-hand or right-hand drive car, but in this context it seems odd that it would be the case. Perhaps manufacturers realised it would be much harder to reverse your expectations of the foot-pedals in an emergency than other controls. It makes sense really, I suppose - there's no reason why the pedals should be reversed based on the position of the steering wheel.

(eta) As for the original article, though, it seems a bit like saying that the car that had most influence was "the car". The Model T might have been the first affordable mass-produced car, but from this distance it seems that some other would certainly have got there and had the same effect if the Model T hadn't. Although having said that, the article does make quite a decent argument.

Last edited by Richard W; 30 September 2008 at 08:27 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 01 October 2008, 12:06 PM
Embra's Avatar
Embra Embra is offline
 
Join Date: 01 June 2000
Location: Surrey, UK
Posts: 7,779
Default

On my (UK, right hand drive) car (a Fiat Punto) the indicator stalk is on the left of the steering wheel column. The windscreen-wiper control stalk is on the right.

I have a feeling that the side on which each control is found is just an idiosyncrasy relating to the make of car, not a universal standard. I also drive a VW Golf from time to time, in fact I was driving it this morning, and I think the layout is the same.

When I have driven left hand drive cars, the problem has not been getting used unusual indicator/wiper controls, but smacking my hand into the door every time I went to change gear! One reason I suspect that conrols don't switch sides depending on whether the car is RHD or LHD is that the handbrake and gear stick are always in the middle (which could be your left or right, depending) and the set-up of the pedals is universal (from L-R: clutch, brake, gas).
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 01 October 2008, 04:14 PM
Der Induktionator's Avatar
Der Induktionator Der Induktionator is offline
 
Join Date: 18 April 2005
Location: Luzern, Switzerland
Posts: 1,296
Default

Series IIA Land Rover (1960s) I drove around as a kid (before I was old enough for a driving license) had the turn signal on a little panel in the middle of the dashboard, kind of like where the radio is in modern cars.

The horn was a button mounted on a stalk on the side of the steering column.

Turning the steering wheel clockwise caused the car to curve to the right, and counter clockwise turned it to the left. This logic seemed to escape the turn signal lever, and there was only a single light to indicate it was blinking, but not if the left or right one was blinking. As soon as you try to think about it, invariably you turn it the wrong way. I just never bothered with it.
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 01 October 2008, 05:19 PM
UEL's Avatar
UEL UEL is offline
 
Join Date: 01 August 2004
Location: Ottawa/Fredericton, Canada
Posts: 8,567
Driver

When I lived in the UK, I hired a grand total of three cars. A Citroen Xsara, a Fiat Punto and a Peugeot 406. The Citroen and the Fiat had the turn indicator on the left side, as in I used my left hand to actuate it. The Peugeot had it on the right side. (RHD vehicles)

Here, we are driving Toyota Hilux SUVs and Toyota Eclipse vans, and they have the turn indicator on the right side. (RHD vehicles)

So, I don't see much of a standard.
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 01 October 2008, 06:17 PM
kanazawa kanazawa is offline
 
Join Date: 19 January 2007
Location: Cupertino, CA
Posts: 331
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by snopes View Post
What about in the UK?

- snopes
I think the general rule is that the turn signal stalk is on the side nearest the door. Makes sense as that frees your other hand for shifting.

There are exceptions of course, one being the old Datsun Fairlady roadsters sold in the US.
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 01 October 2008, 07:59 PM
Delta-V
 
Posts: n/a
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Embra View Post
One reason I suspect that conrols don't switch sides depending on whether the car is RHD or LHD is that the handbrake and gear stick are always in the middle (which could be your left or right, depending) and the set-up of the pedals is universal (from L-R: clutch, brake, gas).
The gear shift is not always in the middle. The RHD Ford GT-40's had it on the right. Same with the 1956 SAAB Sonnett. I think it's a fairly common setup in RHD race cars.
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 02 October 2008, 05:26 AM
Toys For Big Boys's Avatar
Toys For Big Boys Toys For Big Boys is offline
 
Join Date: 31 December 2005
Location: London, England
Posts: 1,980
Driver

Quote:
Originally Posted by kanazawa View Post
I think the general rule is that the turn signal stalk is on the side nearest the door. Makes sense as that frees your other hand for shifting.

There are exceptions of course, one being the old Datsun Fairlady roadsters sold in the US.
I have driven three different makes of car; Vauxhal (or Opel for you mainland European folk) Corsa, Renault Megane and VW Polo and the turn signal stalk has always been on the left.
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 02 October 2008, 05:49 AM
me, no really's Avatar
me, no really me, no really is offline
 
Join Date: 02 June 2005
Location: Brisbane, Australia
Posts: 2,528
Default

Cars here typically have the indicator on the right hand side. Some European cars I have driven here (notably Volvos) have it all backwards, which gets very confusing when you turn on the wipers to go around a corner.

me
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 05 October 2008, 04:46 PM
Archie2K's Avatar
Archie2K Archie2K is offline
 
Join Date: 17 December 2002
Location: Reading, England
Posts: 2,963
Default

My 1986 Nissan Micra had the indicator stalk on the right.
My two Ford Fiestas have both had the indicator stalk on the left.

My driving instructor says this is the preferred layout because you change gear and flick the indicator with your left hand. When the indicator stalk is on the right you change gear and flick the indicator stalk with opposite hands, and can accidentally take bot hands off the wheel. This seems logical to me. Hence is a LHD car the indicator stalk should be mounted on the right of the steering wheel. I can't remember which side they were on the two US hire cars I've had.

I'd suspect that the foot pedals maintain CBA because my right foot is much subtler than the left, so the important controls of accelleration and brake can be done with the best foot, and the clutch which needs less subtlety is operated with the weaker foot.
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 06 October 2008, 06:11 AM
Troberg Troberg is offline
 
 
Join Date: 04 November 2005
Location: Borlänge, Sweden
Posts: 11,580
Default

Quote:
Cars here typically have the indicator on the right hand side. Some European cars I have driven here (notably Volvos) have it all backwards, which gets very confusing when you turn on the wipers to go around a corner.
That's wierd, I would have thought that driving on the wrong side of the road and being upside down would cancel each other out.
Reply With Quote
  #18  
Old 06 October 2008, 06:31 PM
Debunker's Avatar
Debunker Debunker is offline
 
Join Date: 29 September 2003
Location: Yorba Linda, CA
Posts: 420
Driver

Quote:
Originally Posted by snopes View Post
What about in the UK?

- snopes
Well, considering the article was about an American car, published in an American newspaper, written by an American...
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Forum Jump


All times are GMT. The time now is 01:29 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.