Some arts are better off lost. Both hands on the wheel, people.
Years ago my Dad said that old trucks didn’t use first unless they were loaded and starting uphill. So like reverse, first was a special situation gear. Maybe that is the heritage of this pattern.
I have a daily driver in which I start out in 2nd if flat or downhill.
I once (1977) had to drive an artic in queue while the driver slept. Zero training. He made me start in 2nd, too. I stalled it, first time, of course.
The old Chevy and Ford pickup trucks with four-on-the-floor have “granny gear” that is as you describe. But they had reverse off to the left side of first, and up. The three-speed H pattern has first at the lower left so that it’s a single-direction motion from first to second.
I don’t know why anyone would design the first-to-second shift to be down, over, and up. Seems bonkers, unless you’re in the transmission repair business.
The overland coaches in our area all have a sticker on the dash that says “Always start in first gear”. Which no one does, ever.
Except for exactly one (1) vehicle, which you actually can start in 2nd. It just sounds like you can‘t drive because the poor engine is just a hair‘s breadth from stalling, which earns you ridicule from the passengers. (Those rural youth do know their trucks and tractors)
We had the bus and the fastback when I was a kid. Fun times in those babies!
War is hell.
This is the arrangement I used when I was first learning to drive. Four on the tree. Double-clutch to shift. It was a really, really beat up old 1950-something Ford truck. No tailgate. Paint job literally applied with a broom.
You probably guessed it: I was hopeless. Upgraded to a '68 Ford F-100 until I could at least drive in a straight line well enough to pass my driver’s license test.
I have a Dnepr MT-11 motorcycle that originally had a sidecar. The first gear is ridiculously slow, and the motorcycle can be easily started in 2nd gear. The reason for this is quite interesting - originally 1st gear was used to get the same speed as marching soldiers. There’s also reverse gear
Only those you’re a peeing cars. Murica mobiles usually have reverse next to 4th for 4 and 5 speeds (all the way right and back). My Gremlin has a three on the floor, so reverse is above first! (It’s a three on the tree transmission with a floor shifter setup)
Had a girlfriend with a Jetta some years ago with R next to 1. It was surprisingly easy to get the wrong one.
It has been my experience that one is far more likely to encounter hilarity while texting than shifting, and one is far less likely to text with three pedals.
Then there’s the dreaded dog leg shifter:
Came here for shift knob porn. Leaving satisfied…
That looks like a Subaru shift knob.
Here’s a candid still of my knob: