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The DS hydraulic gear change  

The DS employed hydraulic actuation of the clutch and gearchange.  A conventional four speed manual gearbox and totally normal clutch were fitted but control of both clutch and gear shifting were controlled by a gear lever mounted between the instrument panel and the steering wheel.
The starter [S] was operated by moving the gear lever from the neutral [N] position to the left.  It was thus impossible to start the car in gear.
First gear [1] is selected by moving the gear lever forwards.
Second gear [2] is selected by pulling the gear lever backwards through the neutral [N] position.
Third gear [3] is selected by moving the gear lever to the right.
Fourth gear [4] is selected by moving the lever to the right and down.
Reverse [R] is selected by moving the lever to the right from the first gear position.
In order to ensure smooth parking manoeuvres, the idle speed of the engine varies according to whether the brake button is depressed.  With the brake button held down, the engine speed drops, when the brake is released, idle speed increases, the clutch begins to engage and the car creeps forwards (or backwards if reverse is engaged).  As engine speed is increased by depressing the accelerator, the clutch fully engages.  The clutch is disengaged when the gear lever is moved.
It is impossible to stall the engine.
Actually driving the car requires the driver to use his or her right foot as if driving a car with a conventional manual transmission - lift off the accelerator when changing up and blip the throttle when changing down.
The speed (and quality) of the gearchange can be varied from very smooth but lethargic to very quick but fierce.
© 1999 Julian Marsh