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Re: American's and stick shifts (long)

At 15:23 19.08.98 EDT, MSV96@aol.com wrote:

>I can see F1 technology eventualy filtering down to the street car level. The
>tiptronic is a step in the right direction but until they go to an electonic
>clutch/gear selecter it is still a slushbox. I believe Ferrari has put the F1
>gearbox into a (supercar) street car haven't they? Of course those paddle
>switches would still be "in the way" of more important things than paying
>attention to driving such as cel phones, make up and big macs ;-)

There are at least two cars now available in Europe that use the
"automatically shifted manual transmission" technology.
First is the aforementioned Ferrari 355 F1. It has a normal geared
transmission with a dry cluth, but both are controlled by the computer and
operated by hydraulic governors. The driver can change gears sequentially
by using two levers located behind steering wheel (just like on F1 cars -
hence the designation). Optionally, the system can work in fully automatic
mode. It is possible to overheat the clutch during "spirited" driving,
therefore a warning light flashes if the clutch disk gets too hot. 

The second is BMW M3. The system is similar (a manual tranny with a clutch
operated by computer & governors and you change the gears sequentially),
except you change the gears with a floor mounted lever - like on BTCC cars.
It too can work in fully automatic mode, but it is reported that the
gearshifts are so violent that it is best to change gears manually and lift
the throttle while shifting.

Aleksander Mierzwa
Warsaw, Poland
87 Audi 5000CS turbo (mine)
88 Renault Medallion wagon (mom's)
91 mountain bike (just in case both cars broke at the same time :-)