Jim et al:
You are right about this being a man's car. No one else wants to drive it because of the reverse issue which I see as a plus. I tell the women that the car was built to go fast (forward) that we men don't know what reverse means.
SOunds like this condition is not normal. I've never looked at the linkage, but someone wrote that it is all visible/accesible from underneath. Ilook for an obviously worn bushing that doesn't allow it lift.
I lift it up till it hits a nominal stop and then with two hands must lift it another mm for it to slide into the reverse gate. Otherwise it slides into second. engaging other gears, double clutch et cetera have no effect.