Home » The Proper Way To Operate A PNHLR Shifter: COTD

The Proper Way To Operate A PNHLR Shifter: COTD

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For the most part, driving a car is a pretty simple task. It doesn’t take much noggin horsepower to figure out that “P” on an automatic gear selector stops the vehicle from moving while “D” makes it go. Now, the jury is still out on whether “R” reverses direction or enters you into race mode. Now, what if your shift pattern looks like PNHLR?

Currently, automakers love trying out different funky ways to permit or cease a vehicle’s movement. For example, the Volkswagen ID.4 uses a rotary dial where rotating forward gets you going forward while rotating it backward eventually gets you rolling in reverse. Park is a side button! Tesla is even playing around with predictive shifting called “Auto Shift out of Park,” where the car determines if you need to go forward or reverse and does all of the work for you.

Vidframe Min Top
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Variations on how to shift an automatic transmission have been around for decades. Recently, Jason showed us the crazy ideas of the Hurst Dual Gate and Hurst Lightning Rods. Today, Thomas showed us the first automatic transmissions that you could slide into the Park position. One of the transmissions was the Packard Ultramatic of the late 1940s and early 1950s, which has a PNHLR shift pattern.

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Of course, our readers were reminded of one famous scene from the Simpsons, from COTD winner Lilac Zier:

“As for the shift pattern on this bad boy, how does PNHLR sound?”

My brain, immediately: PUT IT IN H!!!

It was even on TXJeepGuy’s mind:

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Put it in H!

Of course, you scallywags couldn’t get through the article without some amusing puns, too. I see you, Canopysaurus:

This article casts a pawl over the history of auto transmissions. I like it.

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I’m just going to park myself here and watch the pun replies come in.

Jack Beckman

I’d remain neutral on the subject if I hadn’t had some “fun” in the past (see above)

Have a great evening, everyone!

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(Top image: Fox)

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Sgtyukon
Sgtyukon
8 months ago

You could rearrange the push buttons on my Dad’s 59 Plymouth automatic and they’d still work the way they should. If you moved reverse to the middle, when you pushed it, the car would still back up.

Having rented two cars since the beginning of September, I’d like to advocate for standardizing some things in all cars. You want to get into a car and drive, but the owner’s manual is 576 pages, and it’s missing from every rental car. After I got to where I was going, I found the owner’s manual for the last car I rented on line. That’s good, but it didn’t have a search function. Who wants to read a 576 page owner’s manual on the first night of a vacation or business trip? On a 2013 Explorer I rented, I had to pull over to figure out how to change stations on the radio.

I hate getting into a car and searching for how to start it. I know old SAAB’s had the ignition in the floor, but everything else I’d driven until recently had the starter switch on the lower right of the steering wheel or on the right side of the column. What’s wrong with that? You can’t really see it, but you don’t really need to look at it either.

A new Altima has the start button on the center console in front of the gear shift. A 2019 Lincoln MKC has it at the top of the shift quadrant and the shift is push buttons, vertical, and on the dashboard to the right of the wheel. I’ve been told some newer Lincolns also have the buttons for shifting on the dash to the right of the wheel, but they’re horizontal. The first time I saw a push button tranny, the buttons were to the left of the wheel on a 56 Dodge. In addition to location, the 19 Lincoln has paddle shifters. Who’s going to drive a Lincoln in a way that needs paddle shifting?

I know new models help marketing. I also know there are lots of things that can be improved over time. For instance, returning to the push button shifts of the fifties frees up space on the console. But some things don’t need changing and it would make life a little simpler if some things (such as the start switch and the shift quadrant) didn’t change.

Space Trucker
Space Trucker
8 months ago

Automatic. You know, for the people.

Delta 88
Delta 88
8 months ago
Reply to  Space Trucker

An REM and a Hudsucker Proxy reference??

Angrycat Meowmeow
Angrycat Meowmeow
8 months ago
Brandon Forbes
Brandon Forbes
8 months ago

No. Just no. I feel like you should have to pay penance for wasting 2 minutes of my life with that. I turned it off after just over a minute, but then I had to come back and respond which is the other minute. That was some of the most annoying music ever!

Buzz
Buzz
8 months ago
Reply to  Brandon Forbes

So you’re saying it’s the children who are wrong?

https://youtu.be/ApaGxk2j0II?si=r-dvUYWrL9-UtBNx

Brandon Forbes
Brandon Forbes
8 months ago
Reply to  Buzz

Nope. Not falling for it again! Mostly because I am “listening” to a zoom conference at the moment and can’t, but most likely, yes I am saying the children are wrong, probably.

Angrycat Meowmeow
Angrycat Meowmeow
8 months ago
Reply to  Brandon Forbes

Aw come on. Try it. You might like it.

For real though, that guy has another channel called Garbage Time where he does fun stuff with cars, that one’s definitely worth a watch and there’s no annoying music.

Doctor Nine
Doctor Nine
8 months ago
Reply to  Brandon Forbes

This.

Frank Smith
Frank Smith
8 months ago
Reply to  Brandon Forbes

I bet you’re a blast at parties.

Brandon Forbes
Brandon Forbes
8 months ago
Reply to  Frank Smith

Haha it was all in good humour, but joke’s on you! I don’t go to parties! 3 kids will do that to you.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
8 months ago
Reply to  Brandon Forbes

“I don’t go to parties! 3 kids will do that to you.”

You don’t go to parties? With THREE KIDS?!

What’s your secret? Did you not tell them about birthdays?

Brandon Forbes
Brandon Forbes
8 months ago
Reply to  Cheap Bastard

Haha fair. I consider that more like them going to parties while I play on my phone in the background and make awkward small talk with the other parents who all want to me there as much as I do.

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