Cars with push button transmission shifters


#1

I am trying to remember a make of car I used to play in, nearly 50 years ago. The car was a two door coupe convertible, with push button shift. The thing is the buttons - as I remember - were on a console between the front seats. Does that sound familiar to anyone?


#2

Late 50s-early 60s Chrysler products had push button automatics, but the buttons were typically to the left of the steering wheel. Maybe some had them where you describe.


#3

The only pushbutton shifters I can think of were on the early '60s Chrysler vehicles, but they were on the dashboard to the left of the steering wheel.


#4

The following U.S. cars had pushbutton automatic transmissions:
AMC Rambler & Ambassador (except American) 1958-1962
All Chrysler Products 1956-1964
Edsel 1958 (upper line Corsair and Citation only)
The Rambler and Chrysler products had the pushbuttons to the left of the steering column. The Edsel had the pushbuttons in the steering wheel hub.


#5

Plymouths and Dodges from the 1960’s.


#6

"Plymouths and Dodges from the 1960’s. "

While Plymouths and Dodges (and of course, Chryslers) of that era had push-button shifter selectors, those buttons were definitely on the left-hand side of the instrument panel, not on a console.

What Triedag has detailed above is a correct and comprehensive list of vehicles that utilized push-buttons for shift selection.

The OP’s recollection is inaccurate.


#7

Fifty years ago, bucket seats with a console between them were’t all that common. The Ford Thunderbird had a 2 door convertible around this time and the switches for the power windows may have been on the console. Could you have mistaken the window switches for the pushbuttons for the transmission?


#8

Could it have been an import? I don’t know what brand it might have been. I’m just brainstorming.


#9

I suppose that it could have been an import, but–50 years ago, did imports have a console in the middle? Please note that I am not referring to something like an Aston-Martin, a Jaguar, or a Ferrari. Those models may have had a console of sorts, but they most certainly would NOT have had a push button controlled automatic transmission!

The imported sedans that I recall from 50 years ago (Renault Dauphine, VW Beetle, various Fiats, Opels, and Austins) were very small, and although they had a shift lever and an e-brake lever between the seats, there would not have been room for a console!

On a side note, Renault offered a push button controlled automatic transmission on one of their models that succeeded the disasterous Dauphine. This slightly larger, squared-off model (The Renault 10??) used solenoids and servos to shift its manual gearbox, and the driver used push buttons (to the left of the steering wheel!!) to select gears. Like most other Renault innovations of that era, it was extremely prone to breakdown and was short-lived.


#10

One vehicle that I thought about was the Chrysler 300 letter series (A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, J, K, L) that was produced from 1955 to 1965. A convertible model was introduced in 1957. Some of these models were equipped with an automatic transmission. However, I still think that the pushbuttons were to the left of the steering column. I’m not certain about this however. Furthermore, there were very few Chrysler 300 letter series sold, particularly convertibles, so this would be a rare possibility.


#11

A highschool buddy of mine in the late '60s had a Dodge Dart with a pushbutton tranny.


#12

My brother had a 1963 Plymouth Belvedere with a push button shift - the buttons are on the right side of the steering wheel. There is a good picture at http://www.1962to1965mopar.ornocar.com/gillette63.html


#13

Nope, those are the climate control buttons. The shift buttons are on the left side of the steering wheel.


#14

Almost all Chrysler products of the 1956-1964 era had HVAC buttons on the right-hand side of the steering wheel that essentially mirrored the shift-control buttons on the left-hand side of the wheel. This produced a fairly balanced, symmetrical look to the dashboard.

In many cases, the slide control for HVAC temperature (on the right) even mirrored the lever for the “Park” position on the transmission (on the left). In fact, the '63 Plymouth had this exact type of symmetry. The photos at the link provided by Anno perfectly refreshed my memory my Dad’s '63 Belvedere–on which I learned to drive!

However, it was possible to switch the positions!
If presented with medical evidence of a physical handicap involving one’s left hand, Chrysler would reverse the above-noted positions, thus putting the trans controls on the right. (I have no idea whether there was a charge for this change, but I suspect that there was a fee involved)

If–and only if–Anno’s brother had one of these handicapped-adapted cars would the shift-control buttons have been on the right side of the steering wheel.


#15

Now He did say Convertable. Now I do remember that “Rambler” had a coupe (of sorts) with the push buttons in the middle. About 62 I think but 63 perhaps.

One option was an convertable top but not a fold down… you had to take the buttons off the top and slide it back down the roof line. )


#16

Well, this Rambler has the buttons on the left:
http://blog.hemmings.com/wp-content/uploads//2010/08/1962Rambler_02_700.jpg


#17

The only convertible in the AMC lineup in 1962-63 as I remember was the Rambler American. It had the conventional lever for the automatic transmision. AMC abandoned the push button transmission in 1963 for all its models.
I do know that the original Rambler convertibles which came out in 1950 had a convertible top as you describe. However, I think that Rambler didn’t offer a convertible from 1953 until 1961. The convertible again appeared in the Rambler American line. I am not certain how the top operated.


#18

When I was a kid, my father and I almost bought a Mercury Monterey Convertible. It has taken me some time to find out the year it was and I have narrowed it down to 1959. The reason I remember it most was because I had never heard or seen, before or since, a push-button transmission. The '58 also had a push-button transmission but the '59 had the extended rear bumper and continental kit (spare tire encased on rear). The p-b trans. was located on the dash in the middle. My father decided that my mother would kill him if we came home with it, so I never saw it again.


#19

I remember a car like that, cannot name it, but my dad had an early 60’s pontiac tempest wagon that had a shift lever on the dash to the right of the steering wheel (I believe)


#20

It’s always amazing to me that some people tend to have such flawed memories.
Yes, Mercury did employ push-button transmission controls for a few years, but by 1959, that marque had reverted to a traditional shift lever mounted on the steering column.
Ergo–the '59 Mercury did NOT have push button controls for the transmission.

Here is a link to a photo of the '59 Mercury dashboard and controls:
http://www.askautoexperts.com/classic-classics-1959-mercury-monterey/mercury-steerig-wheel/