why steering on the right side ? - Alfa Romeo Bulletin Board & Forums
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-05-2006, 07:37 PM Thread Starter
Senior Member
Gold Subscriber
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: San Diego
Posts: 266
why steering on the right side ?

this question will probably clearly reveal my total ignorance but since I had asked it on several occasions before and never got a satisfactory answer, I'll ask it here:

looking at the Freccia d'oro thread, why most of the pre-war and after-war Alfas , Lancias etc. (including their trucks) have the steering on the right side when for example German cars had it left?? (yes I am aware that some countries drive on the "wrong" side )

and to make this not a totally useless thread for all of you who know the answer, I attach some lovely Alfa truck pics (one day I will own one !!!)
Attached Images
    
Fritzi is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-05-2006, 08:30 PM
Registered User
 
Alex's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: London UK
Posts: 5,963
I've always presumed it was so that the driver could alight directly onto the pavement (US: sidewalk). Something to do with older customs to do with chauffeurs, carriage drivers?
Alex is offline  
post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-05-2006, 10:46 PM
Registered User
 
twoliterlover's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Bellevue, WA
Posts: 1,458
Why do they have steering wheel on right side?

Frankly, I understand the purpose of the steering wheels on the right hand side in Italy (even when they drive on the right side) was so that the drivers could pinch girls on their bottoms without having to get out of the car. They drivers now find that difficult. So, I do NOT know why the company changed over with the 1900 series in 1951.
twoliterlover is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-06-2006, 06:40 AM
Registered User
 
series1gtv's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Southern,Illinois
Posts: 539
I always heard it was so that when on skinny mountain roads the driver could see more clearly where the edge of the road was. The last thing you want to do is put a wheel over.
Jeff

La Voce
1969 GTV
1961 Giulietta Berlina
series1gtv is offline  
post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-09-2006, 07:39 AM
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 6,139
It's my understanding that before the 1930s, people drove on one side of the road in the country and on the other side of the road in the city in Italy...
dretceterini is offline  
post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-09-2006, 03:57 PM
Registered User
 
twoliterlover's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Bellevue, WA
Posts: 1,458
Did John Wayne have an Alfa?. Why right hand steering?

I guess there might have been a serious question here originally. I chuckled as I suggested my previous answer. I must now be a nasty old man who only remembers what some other nasty old man told me years ago. However, if someone must try to give a realistic answer then one probably should start in Roman times when strangers meeting on the open road would raise their right hands to greet oncomers -- thus showing they were unarmed. However, in Latin, the language of the Romans, the word for the adjective of left (as in left hand) was sinister. And because these tricky devils held up their right hands but hid their weapons in the left we now know that sinister people are more than merely left handed. Italian and Spanish and other romantic languages have similarity of word root. Early brake drums were either destro (right) or sinistro (left) on Alfa cars.

Another theory comes from the early days of horses and carriages. Very very few men could handle a whip in their left hands as well as they could with their rights, and the back lash of the whip for the horses would have to curl back behind the drivers seat so it could be flipped forward. Only reasonable that a driver would sit on the right side so his whip could be used unhindered. I have noticed that even now in most (if not all) of the four-in-hand or six-in-hand carriage or wagon demonstrations that the driver sits on the right side so as to be able to use the whip. I confess, however, to having see few of these, and most memorable one involving Prince Phillip, the English Prince Consort (who can really drive a carriage with four or six well). I believe I also recall right hand side drivers in the early western movies involving wagons and stage coaches -- in fact, although John Wayne as "Ringo" started on his trip in the cabin with the "naughty but nice" blond "Dallas", he ended up after the indian attack riding "shotgun" on the left side of "Curly" who was driving the coach in that most famous of Western classics -- Stagecoach.

But I am old and my memory is failing. Let this be a perfectly good excuse to go to Blockbuster Video to check out that fine movie to prove me wrong. It will reacquaint you and those you love with traditional Americana when men were men and women were glad of it. Didn't John Wayne have an Alfa? Or was it Clarke Gable and Carole Lombard who had matching cars. If none did, they should have. Alfa was the prestige car in the world prior to the second world war. Ferrari is a newcomer. Jay
twoliterlover is offline  
post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-09-2006, 06:03 PM
Registered User
 
Alleggerita's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: BC
Posts: 2,170
Most countries that had mountainous regions continued to use RHD vehicles even though other traffic used LHD. In Switzerland for instance, until very recently, the postal service that runs public buses among others would buy RHD vehicles if they were predominantly used in mountainesous regions. The same was true fro private companies that operated primarily in mountaineous regions. As noted above it just allows a vehicle to be much more easily maneuvered if you are on the edge of a cliff on a mountain pass.
Alleggerita is offline  
post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-10-2006, 06:10 AM
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: augusta ks.
Posts: 2,068
then mountains are nascar and only have left curves?
cliff
Alfacliff is offline  
post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-10-2006, 09:38 AM
Registered User
 
Alleggerita's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: BC
Posts: 2,170
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alfacliff
then mountains are nascar and only have left curves?
cliff
If you drive a RHD car in RH traffic, you can safely move it to the edge of the road and look out of your window down where the edge actually is. This allows you to maneuvre more safely. By using all of the road it makes it wider
Alleggerita is offline  
post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-10-2006, 10:03 AM
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: augusta ks.
Posts: 2,068
unless the edge is on the left, then you would have to move the wheelto the left and look out the window. here in Kansas, we dont have mountains but the wheel is on the left when it should be in the center.
cliff
Alfacliff is offline  
post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-10-2006, 11:31 AM
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: UK
Posts: 518
From a noted Italian author ; the wheel is that side so that the driver could better judge his position to the edge of the road.
AllthingsZagato is offline  
post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-10-2006, 12:27 PM
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: augusta ks.
Posts: 2,068
a right hand drive car is driven in the left lane, right?that would put it just as far from the edge of the road as a left hand drive in the right lane. plus it would be hard to judge the oncoming trafic if right hand drive driven in right lane.
cliff
Alfacliff is offline  
post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-10-2006, 07:45 PM
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: montreal
Posts: 257
I used to drive a left hand drive alfa in england...it was an odd feeling..bit like having your shoes on the wrong feet....and when pulling out to see if I can overtake, it felt like a bad suicide attempt.
Then i took a right hand drive alfa to france and overtaking resulted in a head on collision.
Now I live in North America..drive an old left hand drive alfa on the right and can't get up enough speed to overtake anyone....which, in my case, is probably for the best.

Kribensis
montreal, canada.
gtv 71
kribensis is offline  
post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-10-2006, 09:30 PM Thread Starter
Senior Member
Gold Subscriber
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: San Diego
Posts: 266
Wow - after the first few responses, I thought this thread had died and i would be left again without conclusive answer - other than the reason for proximity to Italian Bellarinas from twoliterlover (which made a lot of sense... )

so, I am glad I am getting the full picture now - from horse carriages, John Wayne and Prince Philip to mountain roads in Switzerland and Nascar

btw: when I lived in Europe, I brought a right hand drive Austin A35 back from England. Driving it on the right side was no problem 'cause the car was so narrow, that you could easily slide to the left side (passenger-) seat while driving and check if you could pass.
Of course it was still an adventure to pass since it had only a 1100cc Morris engine...
Fritzi is offline  
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on the Alfa Romeo Bulletin Board & Forums forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:
OR

Log-in










Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page
Display Modes
Linear Mode Linear Mode



Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome