Thanks to David Hinds for providing the critical suggestion.
Tecra 700CT Linux 2.2.6 pcmcia 3.0.5 (or 6?) PCIC_OPTS="do_pci_scan=0"
Also worked: same as above with Linux 2.0.38 and pcmcia 3.0.9
also: just adding that PCIC option and doing restarting (with rc.pcmcia restart - maybe I also tried "stop"+"start") didn't work, I had to do a cold reboot. I addition, during much of this saga the machine was in resume mode without my noticing it; possibly this was a factor too.
Thanks again Dave!