Shifters haven’t always had their place on the floor like we now see on modern vehicles. Shifters were traditionally located on the steering column, which is also nicknamed the tree. Both automatic and manual shifters at one point both came on the steering column. Three on the tree was a saying that originated from having a three gear manual transmission with the steering mechanism located on the steering column.
Once shifters found their new home on the floor of the vehicles, the shifters came in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Trucks traditionally came with a longer shifter, while cars usually had a smaller more petite knobs. Like anything on a vehicle, owners are always trying to come up with something cool and original to use as their shifter knob. Jaguar even once had a levitating shifter knob that used to magically appear when the vehicle was started.
Some on these we don’t recommend recreating as they may land you in some hot water with the police, as they could be considered illegal. Here are 20 examples are hilarious and unique custom shifter knobs that owners were able to come up with.
19 Gear Changes On Tap
Here is someone that really loves "The King" aka Bud, and went to the extreme of making their gear shifter out of a Bud draught handle.
The handle is actually pretty practical as they're built with the intention to be pulled on all day.
While it may not be illegal to have a tap handle in your vehicle, it may not look great if you get pulled over. Having drinking related items is often frowned upon but as long as you don't have a bottle of bud in your cup holder or haven't consumed any Bud or any other drink for that matter, you should be ok.
18 Ram It Into Drive
Like they say, "if you can't Dodge 'em, Ram em'" and it looks like this owner did just that. This shifter resembles an aftermarket Dodge Ram hood ornament that was a popular aftermarket modification to Dodge vehicles. According to All Par, the Ram appeared on Dodge vehicles as early as 1932, the Ram was first seen on Dodge cars, and wasn't put on their trucks until the 50's. Owners often still use old Dodge emblems, and are a very sought after item today.
17 Looked Better On The Mantle
Hunters have always been known to show off the animals they’ve downed like trophies. Antlers are often mounted on a plaques and hung on walls as a sort of decoration. Antlers are measured in point, which refer to how many literal points there are coming off the main antler.
According to the NY times, the world record for most points found on a buck was an incredible 47 points.
The owner of this vehicle appears to have fabricated a piece of an antler of some sorts to be his shifter, I guess that’s one way of showing off your prized possession.
16 More Cowbell
We need more cowbell! A quote that made famous by a skit on SNL performed by Jimmy Fallon and Christopher Walken. According to the Huffington Post, that may not be true as cow bells have apparently causing cows to go deaf. Cowbells are traditionally worn around a cows neck to ward off predators. The owner of this vehicle could probably quickly get rid of unwanted passengers by continuously ringing this cowbell that they custom fabricated to be their shifter knob, I hope for everyones sake the ringer is no longer in tact.
15 Mic Check One, Two
The owner of this vehicle looks like they have custom fabricated their shifter knob out of a vintage microphone. You often see these still in movies or music videos, as they are so visually pleasing.
This model in particular appears to be made by a company by the name of Shure, that are still making microphones to this very day.
The Shure company was founded back in 1925, when they got their start making parts for radios, and eventually started making microphones once the technology took off.
14 Hard Headed
This shifter appears to resemble a bit of a sugar skull. Dias de los Muertos, which translates to The Day of the Dead in Spanish, is a celebration that takes place on November 1st and 2nd. The sugar skulls are traditionally white and decorated with all sorts of flowers and designs. Sugar skulls were traditionally white as they were actually made out of sugar, due to sugar being so cheap and readily available. The sugar skulls are made to represent souls of relatives that they have since lost.
13 Locked And Loaded
This shifter appears to be fabricated out of an old rifle. Laws in regards to concealed weapons vary from state to state, so I hope that this driver had the proper permits to even have this thing in his vehicle. In addition this rifle appears to be sawed off which is also illegal. Whether or not the item was in working order, I wouldn’t be surprised if you got pulled over while driving this vehicle; the cop would ask you to step out of the vehicle and you would have a lot of explaining to do.
12 Locked And Re-Loaded
These custom shifters appear to be on a Lenco transmission. According to Super Chevy, a Lenco is a racing transmission has figured out how to make a semi-automatic transmission if you would. While you still need a clutch to get into first gear and reverse, you don’t need to engage the clutch to shift through gears.
The shifter knobs appear to be fabricated out of old revolvers.
The steering wheel, as does the whole vehicle appears to be custom built, also maybe a rat rod of some sort.
11 Tire Iron
This is a simple shifter that appears to be fitted with just a socket on the end where the knob used to be. The socket was invented all the way back in 1863, or at least that’s when the patent was issued, by an American Man by the name of JJ Richardson, It’s unfortunate, but this shifter knob doesn’t appear to be an made with an elusive 10 mm; but what makes the 10 mm so elusive? The 10 mm is the most commonly used size when working on a vehicle therefore it is the size that always tends to go missing or breaks.
10 One In The Chamber
This shifter appears to resemble a revolver barrel off a six shooter, full loaded with six bullets. According to the History Channel, the revolver was invented by Samuel Colt back in 1836. Colt revolvers were once used in US battles, being used in both the Civil and Mexican war. Over 150 years later, Colt is still currently producing their revolvers. While this driver's shifter appears to be a replica of a revolver, a cop may not think it’s too humorous.
9 Seven Samurai, Six Gears
This shifter appears to be fabricated to look like a handle off of a samurai sword. According to History Channel, a samurai sword is called a katana, the samurai being a Japanese warrior.
A katana sword is said to be so sharp it can half someone with just one slice.
The most famous and beautiful sword known to Japanese history went missing during WWII and still hasn’t been recovered. This shifter knob looks to be a replica of a katana sword but who’s to say this isn’t the lost artifact.
8 Mic Check Round Two
This shifter appears to also be fabricated to look like a more modern style microphone, unlike the vintage one that we saw earlier on the list. We have all seen or maybe even spoke into a microphone at one point in our lives. So how do they work? According to Media College, a microphone turns sound energy, into an electrical current, which then becomes an audio signal. Sounds complicated, luckily we don’t need to know how they work, we just need to make sure its plugged in to ensure it is on.
7 Ready To Blow
The owner of this vehicle looks like he has fabricated his shifter out of a replica of a hand grenade. According to Popular Mechanics, the most commonly known hand grenades are “pineapple” grenades, that were used back in WWII, getting their name from their uncanny resemblance of the fruit, their official name being a Mark 3. The Mark 3 was eventually discontinued due to discovering it contained asbestos. This particular one appears to be a replica of M67, that is still used by the US Army today.
6 A Clever Cover Up
Does this something about this shifter look slightly off to you? It should because it is an automatic trying to disguise itself as a manual. You see this often at stance shows, where building and owning an automatic is looked down upon.
Here the owner fitted a boot over the shifter to give the illusion of having a stick shift.
A usual giveaway would be when the automatic shifter knob has a visible button that allows it to it shift into a different gear. At a glance they may get away with the rouse, but on further inspection it just looks out of place.
5 Shifts Down Smooth
This is a very popular brand of distilled drink. Each bottle comes inside one of the purple felt bag seen here. The driver has custom fabricated the bag to make it their shifter boot. What makes a Crown different from the traditional Kentucky sauce? According to Whiskey Advocate in order to be considered a Canada type, the booze must be made from cereal grain products, 40% ABV or higher and aged in wood vessel 700 liters or less for at least three years, the spirit must be mashed, distilled and aged in Canada.
4 Flight Simulator
This shifter looks like to be like some sort of joystick, but it’s actually a helicopter cyclic control grip. According to Decoded Science, a cyclic also nicknamed the stick, is the control on a helicopter that can change the airspeed and attitude of the helicopter by changing the pitch of the rotor blades. The owner of this vehicle has fabricated his shifter out of an old helicopter cyclic control grip, but instead of changing the pitch of his rotor blades, he’s just changing gears.
3 Shift The Force
Some of you might not even know what this is at first glance, but chances are if you are a Star Wars fan, this shifter is right up your alley. This shifter was fabricated out of a handle of a replicate of a lightsaber. A lightsaber is the weapon that was used in the Star Wars movie. What is a Light Saber?
According to Nerdist, while some may think a light saber is made out of a laser, that wouldn’t explain its glowing qualities.
Instead they believe it’s made of plasma. Honestly it’s a sci-fi movie; who’s to say the whole technology isn’t fiction as well.
This unlike the sword previously seen on this list this appears to more of a pirate sword like one that Captain Hook used. This style of sword is often called a cutlass, which according to Reliks, was known as the sword of the seas. The cutlass sword was even once an official weapon of the US Navy. The cutlass has a wider, shorter blade with a d-guard or full basket on the handle to provide a bit more protection to the hand.
1 Shifter Of The Skies
The owner and fabricator of this custom shifter is an electrical engineer by the name of Frank Zhao. According to Franks website, eleccelerator.com, he used an vintage F-16 joystick used for gaming that he purchased off to eBay and installed it on his Hyuandia Santa Fe. The joystick was made to replicate a F-16 controls, which use a HOTAS or Hand On Throttle and Stick, in which the flight and weapon controls are on the same control.
Sources: Reliks.com, PopularMechanic.com, NYTimes.com