I went on a tour of Sicily/Southern Italy over the summer and watched the driver of our tour bus make the most amazingly tight turns onto narrow streets. Then one day I watched him closer. Every time he had to make a really tight turn, he pulled out (or pushed in, I can’t remember) some sort of large knob on the dashboard. What the hell does this knob do? I thought it might be some sort of steering unlock button, something that might make the front wheels turn tighter than usual. Problem with that, though, is that there’s no real reason to leave it locked in a restricted state. Even if there was, the smart thing to do is have an automatic unlock that kicks in at low speeds. So as I see it, a steering unlock mechanism is out.
That brings me to some sort of front drive mechanism. It seems to me that a front drive mechanism would allow tighter turns more easily (the bus is obviously otherwise rear-engine and rear wheel drive). A mechanical front wheel drive mechanism seems far too cumbersome, but how about a low power (maybe a couple horsepower) electric front wheel drive mechanism? Anyone know?
Note to Southern Italians: damn, your food is good.