So what were the mystery objects ?
Well, here's the first clue.
And here's one of the little blighters peeking out from behind the steering wheel.
And here's its partner, sitting behind the steering wheel.
Got it yet. They're paddles used to change gear in a car with sequential transmissionr.
The cost, and remember, I had to buy a matching pair.
£128.14 plus vat EACH. Not far short of £300 the pair. That's the downside of owning an Alfa Romeo.
p.s. don't know where the reputation came from, but paddles are not at all "flappy".