December 8, 2022

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automotive

British actor Stephen Fry discovers car feature many ignore

British actor Stephen Fry recently deduced the meaning of a dashboard icon that has baffled many drivers. 

Fry, 64, shared with his 12.4 million Twitter followers the meaning of the little triangle next to the fuel-gauge icon.

“Well, simmer me in prune juice and call me Daisy. I never knew till now that you can tell which side of a car the filler cap is on by a little arrow next to the petrol pump icon,” the “Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows” actor tweeted.

“64 years on the planet shrouded in ignorance. My life is changed forever,” Fry said of his aha moment.

Ford CEO Jim Farley responded to Fry on Twitter, sharing the backstory for the feature.

Actor Stephen Fry speaks onstage at the Rainbow Honours on June 1, 2022 in London, England.
Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images

“The idea for this indicator icon was recommended by a @Ford engineer named Jim Moylan in 1986,” Farley shared.

“It was such a useful idea it eventually spread to other manufacturers,” he added.

Farley shared the original letter pitching the idea, which included an illustration.

“The indicator or symbol I have in mind would be located near the fuel gauge and simply describe to the driver on which side of the vehicle the fuel filler door is located,” Moylan wrote in April 1986.

“Based on personal experience . . . I feel that this little indicator would remove the guesswork of which side I want to park,” the letter said.

The icon was first used in the 1989 Ford Escort and Mercury Tracer and later adopted by other automakers, according to Fox.