Top 10 strangest gearboxes fitted to cars

For some people, CVTs, automatics and conventional manuals are just not interesting or weird enough. Here is a selection of ten gearboxes that will have you scratching your head.


Made for racing applications, the Lenco gearbox consists of three levers attached to a planetary gearset. When dealing with extreme speed, quick actuation of the three levers makes gearchanges a thoughtless task. Check out the video above.

Alfa Q System

Before the Selespeed semi-automatic started plaguing Alfa Romeos, early 156’s were offered with this conventional 4-speed automatic that also had a H-pattern for selecting manual gears. The best of both worlds? This is the only gearbox of this type we’ve seen and wish it was more commonplace.

Dodge Ram with Road Ranger

In the pick-up truck world, The Dodge Ram with its Cummins 5.9-litre turbo-diesel six has been a favourite since the early 1990s. One way to make it even manlier is to fit a non-synchronised Eaton Fuller RoadRanger gearbox from a prime mover. Check it out in this video.

Sequential (BA XR8)

Despite some concepts and the use of Hollinger sequential gearboxes on its V8 Supercars, Ford never produced a Falcon with this gearbox. This aftermarket- fitted XR8 gives an idea on what that might have been like.

Abarth 695 Biposto

The Abarth’s dog ring gearbox was an expensive option for quicker shifts and a more racecar feel. As seen in this video, it is a very backwards design to someone used to normal H-pattern manuals.

Wartburg 5M

Column-shifted manuals have been the subject of a feature in the past, but this brilliant 5-speed Wartburg rally car escaped our attention then. We feel it deserves a place in this list.

Cord 810 pre-selector manual

This neat vacuum pre-selector is similar to what you might have seen on some buses, and the power-assisted manual gearbox was a clever way to make lives easier in the pre-automatic automotive world. Also seen on the Tucker Torpedo and some Dusenbergs.

Mercedes-Benz CLK GTR

The stubby little shifter in the vehicle that sent Mark Weber skyward on the Mulsanne Straight in 1999 is only there to select forward or reverse.

Ford Model T

The Model T may be remembered as the vehicle which democratised mass production transport, but thankfully its complex drive system didn’t stand the test of time.

Koenigsegg Regera Direct Drive

Christian von Koenigsegg’s brilliant direct drive system on the Regera hybrid does away with the need for a gearbox altogether and paves the way for other mass-market hybrid cars to follow suit.

What’s your favourite from this list? Tell us in the comments section below.