I recall that the factory “three on the tree” shifters had what was called an “H” pattern. Shifting between first and second, the shift lever had to just move back and forth. Shifting from first or second into third or reverse, the shift lever had to move to the neutral middle, drop down, and then move forwards or backwards. And J.C. Whitney sold a part that changed the pattern from an “H” to an “N”, which made shifts between second and third quicker, but which also made “rocking” a car out of mud/snow just miserable.
Anyone ever install one of those “N” shift gates?