Xantia TD Speedo Fault

I'm asking this out of curiousity as I no longer have the car. My N-registered Xantia TD had a speedo fault which would cause the
pointer to home in on 50MPH and stick there even if I wasn't driving within 10 - 15MPH of that mark - i.e. both above and below it. A slap on the dash would clear this but why would it jump to 50 before sticking? Eventually I drove on the rev-counter (speed ~ 2 x revs in 4th).
Cheers - Joe
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