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View Diary: A French Goddess (72 comments)

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  •  VW had a semi automatic (3+ / 0-)

    My mother had a VW Beetle in the late 1960s. She couldn't drive a manual shift and VW didn't offer a true automatic.

    It had a stick shift with what I think was an electric clutch that engaged when you pushed downwards on the shifter.

    If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

    by Major Kong on Sun Sep 08, 2013 at 06:14:35 AM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  The humble 2 CV... (3+ / 0-)

      Had a centrifugal clutch, like a moped, meaning that when in traffic jams you could stay in first gear while stopped... A breeze on the accelerator pedal and you would jump the next few meter without doing anything else...!

      It also had on the back wheels what was called the "Pots batteurs" a very simple empty tube soldered to the arm carrying the wheel. This tube had a heavy mass inside on an axis and spring. When driving in some North African desert, the regular little bumps created by the wind (called tôle ondulée = corrugated iron) would bring the rear suspension of each back wheel to fall in a chaotic rhythm that could then have enough energy to get the car in a rear before hood crash (phenomena well known to some pilots of light aircrafts !).
      This contraption (a few francs' worth) would dampen the vibrations and allow for some good speed on such difficult surfaces... :-)

      "What can I do, What can I write, Against the fall of Night" A.E. Housman

      by Margouillat on Sun Sep 08, 2013 at 03:57:55 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  2 CV amazing rollover properties (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        markdd, ColoTim, RiveroftheWest

        A friend was driving some of us home late one night in his 2 CV (I really thought of it as deux chevaux) in Heidelberg, when we knicked a trolly track on a curve, and the car flipped on its side. We opened the roof, climbed out, set the car back on its wheels, and continued on.  Apparently no damage, and a good story.

        •  Similar to "For Your Eyes Only" when Bond and (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          his paramour were in her 2CV and they rolled it in a town.  She had been driving, but after the townspeople put it rightside-up, he demanded to drive and proceeded to only do marginally better as he careened down a hill with switchbacks by going straight down.

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