In the early/mid 2000s, my mother owned a manual transmission Ford Contour, and I got to drive it a couple of times in my early teens. Both she and I remember the clutch pedal being in the middle (BRAKE/CLUTCH/GAS going from left to right). Today I got into a discussion with my father and it has almost become a battle to the death, as he is 100% certain that the above is impossible, and I am 100% certain that although this doesn't seem to be standard, what both I and my mother recall is correct. I've looked around the web for pictures/manuals, but have found no proof. Can someone please provide me with evidence proving/disproving the clutch on a 1998 Contour being in the middle? (my sanity and honor depends on it)


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    No proof but 1998 isn't that long ago in terms of automobiles and it just seems completely insane to have pedal configuration that way for no good reason... – Nelson Apr 3 '15 at 18:37
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    General layout for cars, whether left or right hand drive is the same with the (from l to r) clutch/brake/gas. It's done this way so people can drive any car. If it wasn't, they'd mess up when they get flustered while driving. Human nature. I don't have a source for this, so leaving it as a comment. – Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 Apr 3 '15 at 22:08
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    What country was this in? And do you know in which country the car was manufactured? – Nate Eldredge Apr 4 '15 at 22:28
  • @Paulster2 - I also agree with your logic and can't see why manufacturers would alternate that. But then again, why do they always move the wipers/lights around?? Thank you! – Ola Apr 5 '15 at 10:05
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    @NateEldredge - I don't know what was the country of manufacturing, but we live in CA,USA, and I assume that the car was also born in the land of the free. – Ola Apr 5 '15 at 10:07

I found a copy of the owners manual at http://justgivemethedamnmanual.com/ford/1998-ford-contour-owners-manual

It doesn't explicitly mention the location of the pedals (except for an unlabeled diagram on page 96). It seems extremely unlikely that Ford would have arranged the pedals differently from every other car on the road, and even less likely that they would do so and then not even mention it in the manual.

  • Would it have mattered what model of the car it was? Ours was SE 2.5 l. V6. – Ola Apr 5 '15 at 9:49


It's always amazing how sure humans are about facts that are 100% false, even when they have direct hands-on experience.

It's also a well known psychological phenomena that when more than one person believes the same thing, and interacts with others who share that same erroneous belief, that it increases the perceived certainty of that false claim by all members of the group. Before long, they all experience "100% certainty".


The clutch on the 1998 Ford Contour is on the left, the brake in the middle, and the gas on the right. I own one with over 150K miles.

Also, the manual, on page 96, shows a photo of the pedals, but it is not very clear either way, likely because it is a known standard.

Reference: the manual.

  • Thank you, Professor Freaud, always insightful. When I bought my first car (a few years later) and got behind the wheel, I couldn't figure out why I couldn't get the car to shift while keeping my foot on the middle peddle, and the same thing was happening to my mom when she decided to take it for a test drive after me, so idk, I can't say that my memory is 100% reliable, but everything I've stated makes it hard for me to believe that two people can both be so sure of/wrong about such a simple thing. Would it have mattered what model of the car it was? (Ours was SE 2.5 l. V6) Scissors!! – Ola Apr 5 '15 at 9:58
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    If you had mistaken the middle pedal as the clutch, you would not be able to start the car, so it is weird that you only had problems shifting, but not starting the car. – Nelson Apr 5 '15 at 13:58
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    Also the pressures on the clutch and brakes are very, very different. If my clutch felt like the brakes, I would have it towed. – Nelson Apr 5 '15 at 14:05
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    But the car still shouldn't have stalled because you were supposed to be in neutral. – Nelson Apr 5 '15 at 14:16
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    I'll ask the question from another angle. What does it take for you to recognize that what you remember is incorrect? I bet even if you found the exact model of the car, you will think of some other reason to hold on to what you remember. It really doesn't matter at this point. – Nelson Apr 8 '15 at 0:52

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