: Question on car terminology



orconn
06-09-13, 04:52 PM
All of a sudden I keep hearing the term "standard" used to describe a "manual transmission." I don't ever remember haring the term standard used in this context before. Maybe I am just too parochial, being a bi-coastal, but I have heard "four on the floor," "stick shift" and "manual" used to describe a non automatic transmission but never "standard" used for this purpose.

I am not saying that this term is wrong, but since it seems that the very vast majority of cars sold in the U.S. are equipped with n automatic transmission that the term "standard" is a miss use of the term. I know there are a few members here that actually remember when most cars had manual transmissions, but they are certainly in the minority here on the Forums.

Ranger
06-09-13, 04:53 PM
I remember it. It's a holdover from waaaaay back when an automatic was an option.

Submariner409
06-09-13, 04:57 PM
Yep ........ Even when I ordered my '65 Chevelle Malibu SS the salesman (Bill Griffin, R.I.P.) asked me "Do you want a standard or automatic ?" Chevy Chase Chevrolet, February 1965.

orconn
06-09-13, 05:03 PM
Hey, Sub, I know it doesn't seem that long ago, but 1965 was a long time ago! Most of the guys here n the Forum were even a twinkle in their mother's eye back in the sixties. But even then the term was out dated.

dkozloski
06-09-13, 05:20 PM
Standard was "three on the tree". A stick shift was "four in the floor with a fifth under the seat".

orconn
06-09-13, 05:27 PM
Yeah, Koz, I remember "three on the tree," in fact I learned to drive in a 1953 Ford Customline 2 door sedan. Bet you remember when three on three floor was all you could get!

Submariner409
06-09-13, 05:39 PM
My first car was a 1951 Morris Minor drophead coupe. 37 hp of rompin'stompin' flathead four power ! Went from that to a '49 Ford flathead.

I'll bet even you remember a 2-speed Powerglide auto........... in a Chevy with vacuum-operated windshield wipers that stopped every time you stepped on the gas.

CadillacLuke24
06-09-13, 05:48 PM
5th under the seat? :hmm:

CTSCHICK
06-09-13, 06:27 PM
To much over thinking it for me :bonkers:

2kflhr
06-09-13, 06:31 PM
Or the starter pedal in the floor on the 50's trucks. The tube type radio that took about a minute for the tubes to warm up and radio to come on.

cadillac kevin
06-09-13, 06:38 PM
5th under the seat? :hmm:

Seat adjustment lever?

orconn
06-09-13, 06:46 PM
Yeah, Sub, I do remember the Power Glide two speed, But I don't think I ever drove one. The early fifties Chevys I drove all had "three on the tree!"

The first automatic trans car my family had was the 1956 Cadillac Fleetwood. Everything before that car was stick and everything after it was automatic. Of the cars I have owned, the '58 Jag XK 150 was a four speed Moss box as was '64 E-Type coupe, the Lamborghini 350GT, and '84 VW Scirocco had all synchro 5 speeds. Every thing else was automatic including my '65 Nissan Cedric 2800 Speciale! I still enjoy a good manual transmission, the ones available in the light cars of today are so easy an a lot of fun.

drewsdeville
06-09-13, 07:10 PM
'84 vw scirocco yesssss

orconn
06-09-13, 08:35 PM
5th under the seat? :hmm:

Binky's brother is referring to the "fifth" of anti-freeze he used to carry ( many other North Poleians as well). Preferred brands were Jack Daniels, Johnny Walker, etc., etc. When Koz was already in his dotage a fifth gear became available on many manual transmission cars, but that fact had nothing to do with the "fifth" under the seat.

dkozloski
06-09-13, 08:47 PM
Yeah, Sub, I do remember the Power Glide two speed, But I don't think I ever drove one. The early fifties Chevys I drove all had "three on the tree!"

The first automatic trans car my family had was the 1956 Cadillac Fleetwood. Everything before that car was stick and everything after it was automatic. Of the cars I have owned, the '58 Jag XK 150 was a four speed Moss box as was '64 E-Type coupe, the Lamborghini 350GT, and '84 VW Scirocco had all synchro 5 speeds. Every thing else was automatic including my '65 Nissan Cedric 2800 Speciale! I still enjoy a good manual transmission, the ones available in the light cars of today are so easy an a lot of fun.You aren't a real driving enthusiast unless you can double clutch a crash box.

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My first car was a 1951 Morris Minor drophead coupe. 37 hp of rompin'stompin' flathead four power ! Went from that to a '49 Ford flathead.

I'll bet even you remember a 2-speed Powerglide auto........... in a Chevy with vacuum-operated windshield wipers that stopped every time you stepped on the gas.If the windshield wipers stopped when you stepped on the gas the vacuum side of the dual diaphragm AC fuel pump was bad.

2kflhr
06-09-13, 08:58 PM
Seat adjustment lever?Liquor

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How about an old Buick that had a glass jar in a bracket mounted to the firewall labled windshield washer fluid.

Ranger
06-09-13, 10:29 PM
Standard was "three on the tree". A stick shift was "four in the floor with a fifth under the seat".
My first car ('61 Ford Galaxie) was 4 on the floor.............. but one of those was reverse. Of coarse that was after I converted it.

talismandave
06-10-13, 12:33 AM
In the 80s when I was selling cars, standard trans was still extremely common term and in Pontiac and GMC trucks most came with it unless you paid more. Only Bonneville and Grand Prix were only automatic.

......a fifth under the seat was also quite common!:shhh:

C&C
06-10-13, 05:40 AM
Sure, I remember the term; maybe a regional thing. Also remembering some of the other things mentioned (and gone), one more; the high/low beam controlled with the foot switch. Also, some of the unique places to hide the gas filler cap, i.e., behind the tail light or behind/under the license plate bracket.........................ah, the fifties. :)

Submariner409
06-10-13, 09:36 AM
Hah !!!! Good ol' '49 Cadillac gas cap ............. Push in on the cat's eye, flip the tail light up. Filled plenty of those during my after-school part time job at the local AMOCO station ..............

"Hey, Mom ......... That car has water running out of the license plate !!!" ....... "No, honey - he left the gas cap off !" ( some Chevy, Ford)

bigm57ict
06-10-13, 09:40 AM
In the '90's I drove a '61 Chevy with the 2-speed powerglide. That transmission was bullet proof, but the car really sucked up the gas if you did any regular highway driving.

Since we've moved on to features of cars past, one that I really miss was the fresh air vent by the kick panel. Pull a lever on the dash and you get a blast of outside air without the noise and wind from open windows. I wish they'd bring that back. But nowadays, we're just supposed to run the A/C all the time...

I've often heard the term "Standard transmission". You are right, though. It hasn't been "standard" for a long time.

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Sure, I remember the term; maybe a regional thing. Also remembering some of the other things mentioned (and gone), one more; the high/low beam controlled with the foot switch. Also, some of the unique places to hide the gas filler cap, i.e., behind the tail light or behind/under the license plate bracket.........................ah, the fifties. :)

True, those were common in the '50's, but my '79 still has both of these features :)

Going back to the '40's - Before the headlight dimmer switch was on the floor, the starter switch was.

Submariner409
06-10-13, 09:42 AM
Push the choke knob in, Dad !

EcSTSatic
06-10-13, 09:52 AM
My '65 Buick GS had the 2-spd 'slip and slide'. My '65 GTO had a Muncie 4-spd

How many other automotive labels are remnants of days gone by? How about parking vs emergency brake? Glove compartment? Even 'dashboard' comes from the horse and buggy days.

bigm57ict
06-10-13, 09:58 AM
A "trunk" was a large rectangular container one used when travelling (early suitcase). Early cars came with a rack on back to hold the trunk. Eventually, a storage area in the back of the car became a built-in feature. It retained the name, though. :)

Aztec ETC ECS
06-10-13, 10:06 AM
Push the choke knob in, Dad !
What's a choke knob?? :hmm:

cadillac kevin
06-10-13, 11:09 AM
I liked the floor mounted hi beam switch....my apollo had one

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Also, I loved the hidden gas fillers. My dad picked up a friends kid from school once in the 83 lesabre (she was maybe 10 or so at the time). He had to get gas and she asked if she could help. She then spent 5 minutes trying to find the fuel filler door. He then showed her that it was hidden behind the license plate, which she was amazed by (after he explained that the gas did not in fact go into the trunk like she thought) and thought it was the coolest car ever because of it.

EcSTSatic
06-10-13, 11:38 AM
We had a 'hidden' engine in our VW Squareback. Back in the full service days, the kid wanted to check the oil under the hood. The engine was in the back under the cargo space

Submariner409
06-10-13, 11:47 AM
Talk to Corvair owners about the service station kid filling the engine with water - because the oil fill cap - on the air cooled engine - looked exactly like a radiator twist-off cap.

Here's my '64 Spyder turbo engine............ (these engines were the source of the now-totally-incorrect term "turbo muffler".)

EcSTSatic
06-10-13, 11:49 AM
Here's my '64 Spyder turbo engine............ (these engines were the source of the now-totally-incorrect term "turbo muffler".)

I used real Corvair turbo mufflers on my GTO back in the 70's. They were the hot setup back then.

Ranger
06-10-13, 12:01 PM
I liked the floor mounted hi beam switch....my apollo had one
I did too.





Going back to the '40's - Before the headlight dimmer switch was on the floor, the starter switch was.
I remember the starter switch on the floor in my fathers 1950 Ford. Used to like to go in the garage and play like I was driving when I was a kid. Scared the living shit outa me the first time I stepped on it.

C&C
06-10-13, 12:07 PM
What's a choke knob?? :hmm:
Manual choke; when cold in the morning, you pulled the choke knob out to choke (additional butterfly, cable controlled to block free flow air to go into the carburetor) to make the air/fuel mixture richer. As the engine warmed you pushed in the knob. Same sort of thing still on a lot of lawn equipment today.

Submariner409
06-10-13, 12:14 PM
I used real Corvair turbo mufflers on my GTO back in the 70's. They were the hot setup back then.

Curious, because the Corvair turbo muffler was designed with increasing backpressure as gas flow increased - the turbo had no wastegate to control intake air pressure, so the power output was limited by strangling the engine at high rpm - by using excessive exhaust pressure.

Thus my statement that today's "turbo muffler" idea is based on the wrong technology for today's exhaust system flow characteristics.

(another Spyder power level control was the single throat side draft carburetor - the bore was sized so that it came very restrictive as the air velocity through the bore approached the speed of sound - airflow would not go any higher. It was a dancing act between the intake airflow and exhaust backpressure. One way we used to coax more power out of a Spyder was to insulate the entire exhaust header/pipe system - hotter gas = more delivery to the exhaust turbine)

EDIT: Do I remember correctly - the Spyder had to be idled for a minute before a hot shutdown - to cool the turbo bearing to prevent oil coking ?

............. No electric starter solenoid on my '53 MG - Spring-loaded manual pull knob on the dash - right next to the choke knob.

The-Dullahan
06-10-13, 12:57 PM
I never heard of a Manual Transmission until 2009 when I got my first CTS-V. Up until that point, it was always called a Standard. I figured that it was because that generation V was not offered in Automatic, so calling it Standard, which implies that there is at least one other optional transmission, would be a poor choice in terminology.

Still, it is my natural first thought to refer to a "Manual" transmission as a Standard.

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Hah !!!! Good ol' '49 Cadillac gas cap ............. Push in on the cat's eye, flip the tail light up. Filled plenty of those during my after-school part time job at the local AMOCO station ..............

"Hey, Mom ......... That car has water running out of the license plate !!!" ....... "No, honey - he left the gas cap off !" ( some Chevy, Ford)

Cars without hidden fuel caps are uncivilized. Probably what lesser primates would drive, if they could drive.


Funny thing about leaking license plates though. That was the first thing I ever had to do to my Lincoln. Immediately after buying it and filling the tank, my friend who was following behind mentioned to me that petrol was pouring slowly from the fuel cap, which was of course behind the license plate (until 73 anyhow)

Aztec ETC ECS
06-10-13, 12:58 PM
Manual choke; when cold in the morning, you pulled the choke knob out to choke (additional butterfly, cable controlled to block free flow air to go into the carburetor) to make the air/fuel mixture richer. As the engine warmed you pushed in the knob. Same sort of thing still on a lot of lawn equipment today.
Where can I find it on my Northstar car? :histeric:

The-Dullahan
06-10-13, 01:01 PM
A "trunk" was a large rectangular container one used when travelling (early suitcase). Early cars came with a rack on back to hold the trunk. Eventually, a storage area in the back of the car became a built-in feature. It retained the name, though. :)

That's not a trunk. It's called a boot. It's on the opposite end than the bonnet, which is up at the front of the car and usually houses the auto's motor.

I am no expert on how to use them though. My Cadillac has five doors, no boot. That'd be creepy and peculiar.

orconn
06-10-13, 01:09 PM
My Jag E-Type and Lamborghini 350, not to mention my Jag XK 150, all had manual chokes. The fifties and sixties cars required that you depress the gas pedal once or twice before starting cold. Fuel injected cars do the choking automatically.

bigm57ict
06-10-13, 01:26 PM
That's not a trunk. It's called a boot. It's on the opposite end than the bonnet, which is up at the front of the car and usually houses the auto's motor.

In that case, we should probably also mention the windscreen (which one looks out to drive) and the repeater (which tells others of your intention to turn)

EcSTSatic
06-10-13, 01:32 PM
Curious, because the Corvair turbo muffler was designed with increasing backpressure as gas flow increased - the turbo had no wastegate to control intake air pressure, so the power output was limited by strangling the engine at high rpm - by using excessive exhaust pressure.


That is correct. They weren't as free flowing as glasspacks but noticeably quieter. And they had a 2 1/2" diameter!

cadillac kevin
06-10-13, 01:34 PM
My Jag E-Type and Lamborghini 350, not to mention my Jag XK 150, all had manual chokes. The fifties and sixties cars required that you depress the gas pedal once or twice before starting cold. Fuel injected cars do the choking automatically.

50s and 60s cars? Hell my 80s V8 cars require that (granted they are rarely driven). In fact, the smaller FI V6s (2.8 and 3.1 IIRC) requires you to "prime" the system by pushing the gas pedal down twice before starting.

The-Dullahan
06-10-13, 01:48 PM
My cars are ritualistically primed before turning the key. Face of habit. Floridian climate does probably occasionally mandate that, due to the mix of temperature and humidity level we receive.

The obese I drive less often probably require it, but I think the Pontiac would start nearly any time with or without priming. The Lincoln on the other hand, when I first got it, ALWAYS required priming unless it had already been ran in the last ten hours.

Submariner409
06-10-13, 04:27 PM
When The-Dullahan retires at night he pulls the counterpane all the way up to his shoulders ............ :rolleyes:

orconn
06-10-13, 04:44 PM
^^^ .... that's only after he is through playing with his lead soldiers on the counterpane!

The-Dullahan
06-10-13, 05:01 PM
In that case, we should probably also mention the windscreen (which one looks out to drive) and the repeater (which tells others of your intention to turn)

Those are not repeaters. A Repeater is a small compact crossbow that can fire two bolts in rapid succession before requiring reload. Those lamps on the sides of the car to indicate the direction you intend to turn are called "Blinkers". Contrary to popular belief, the device used to activate them is not a rod, but a stick. It's proper title is a Blinkerstick.


When The-Dullahan retires at night he pulls the counterpane all the way up to his shoulders ............ :rolleyes:

The-Dullahan does not retire at night. Even so, I sleep very, very rarely, so my counterpane remains for the most part entirely untouched.

Dave's on key, but all of my little lead knights went away with my childhood, so I've not had them for a good two decades.