I have a 1970 Porsche 911T in stock right now (click here for details) and one of the enjoyable things about driving this car is its dog-leg five-speed gearbox. In other words, the shift pattern is such that first gear is out to the left and back. This means that you can quickly shift in a straight line from second to third and from fourth to fifth, and back again. It was a typical arrangement for racecars in the 1960s and 1970s. Today, it takes a few minutes to get used to but, once you do, a dog-leg configuration feels natural.
However, when Porsche introduced the new 915 gearbox to the 911 in 1972, it changed to what we’d consider a more conventional shift pattern, with straight lines from first to second and third to fourth, with fifth gear out on a limb. This does make sense for a road car when you tend to use first gear more, say in start-stop traffic, while fifth is more of an overdrive for cruising. Also, it’s what most other cars have so Porsche was sensible to toe the line.
Interestingly, Porsche used the dog-leg arrangement in later years, on the 924 Turbo and 928 GTS.
I did take a quick photo of the gear knob in the Porsche 911T but, well, it didn’t come out very well so I borrowed a diagram from Wikipedia which shows the layout better. 🙂