Question of the week: Manual or automatic transmission?

A co-worker and I were in the to-be-Missus in her tii and he asked “Why do you bother with a manual?” Her response? “Because I like to drive.” Still with her and there has always been a three pedal in the family.

I learned to drive at age 13 in a WW II vintage military “Deuce and a Half” dump truck. Lots of levers to play with, the 4 speed trans shifter (NO synchros, BTW) was the first lever. To the right of that was the big parking brake lever and the 2WD / 4WD transfer case lever (I forget the order, that was in 1962 … ). I had to sit on the front edge of the seat and pull against the wheel to get enough “throw” to push the clutch in all the way. I drove a '62 Dodge D100 in college, 4 speed with synchros in 3 and 4 only. Purchased a 1973 Datsun 240Z in flight school (1973) and still love driving it; modded from 4 speed to 5 speed many years ago. I guess everyone knows my preference …

How about a little of each? An automatic is great for a daily driver where traffic can spoil the fun of a stick. But when driving for pure pleasure, let’s have the 4 speed!

I have a 1996 Imp SS and 4L60E is what they come with. almost 300K on mine. It’s nice when you get PCM reprogrammed so it performs ! Truth be told i would love to have a manual converted Impala. :slight_smile:

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My wife and I purchased a 1988 mustang gt
5 speed I just wanted an automatic because
she could share in the driving experience. But
happy that it’s standard. It’s a different feel when
taking it out!!m

I recently purchase two Toyota vehicles that ware my first automatics. I am going to be 70 soon and although I have been driving manual shift trucks and cars for over 50 years I felt it was time for me to drive something different. Right now I do not think I will ever like driving the new type of automatic transmissions at least I do not have to deal with a CVT type transmission. Fortunately I also own a 2003 Toyota MR2 that is a 5 speed so I will not forget how to enjoy driving.

65 Corvair
66 F-100
67 Shelby GT350
68 Shelby GT500KR
72 Pinto
77 Granada
78 Pinto
83 Mustang
85 Mustang convertible
87 Aerostar
92 Cayman GT
95 SHO
03 Ranger
10 Escape

All except one was manual transmission.
I’ll let you speculate which one.

My experience is different from a lot of those posting here as I learned to drive on automatics and did not really use manual transmissions until I had to rent cars in Europe from time to time in my mid-50s. I did not really enjoy the econoboxes very much but they clearly would have had no power with an automatic and I was not overly impressed with the dual-clutch version I had in a VW Scirocco, so I just left it in auto mode, as I also did with an Aston Martin DB9, a big, heavy highway cruiser. That said, I really enjoyed some of the BMW 1-series cars I rented and a VW Polo as they all had very precise manual boxes. I liked them so much that when I bought my C6 Corvette I three years ago I searched out a 6-speed and really like it; the Tremec is very easy to shift and with all that torque the car is hard to stall. I feel I have mastered a new skill and enjoy that but I don’t buy into the idea that it has made me a better driver particularly. There is some snobbishness about using manuals (I see it in some of the postings here!) but it is only a matter of time before the classic manual is gone–try ordering a Porsche or Ferrari with one today.

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Tough question. I learned how to drive in a truck with ‘3 on the tree’. And the first few cars I had were manuals. I recall that it was frowned upon to possess a muscle car or 4x4 truck with an auto, once upon a time. But, automatic transmissions have come a long way you have to admit.

My current car is an auto with paddle shifters and my (2002) Silverado is a 5 speed manual. I enjoy driving both.

What a beauty ! I had a 55 Chevy convertible and sold it in 67 for $100.00 I am still kicking myself 52 years later ! I bought a 68 Cutlass convertible in Decamber 1967 and vowed never to sell it - still have it today ! I did learn my lesson !

I have a 1931 dodge brothers coup, trans problem - pops out of gear. Looking for repair shop in the Tri-Cities area in Washington state (Richland, Pasco, Kennewick), need help.

I have a E-Type roadster with a manual 4 speed and can’t imagine it would be as fun to drive with a automatic transmission. For the family sedan auto is the way to go.

I own a 55 Chevy 2, Dr. Ht, It has a 400 horse 350 w/ a 411 Posi and a 5-speed trans and tri-power let me tell you there’s not a better feeling than going through the gears in a nostalgic car like this. I think you lose the feeling of driving, downshifting around corners and stuff. I taught my grand son how to drive this car, and he loved it!! ( Oh, by the way, I’m 80 years old and I’m going to be dead a long time so I’m going to enjoy myself while I’m still here!!)!


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It was obliquely mentioned in the comments and even more summarily dismissed…

Both, in the form of VW’s automatic stick shift.

But, I will echo other people’s comments it kind of depends on what you’re doing.

Parades and traffic are built for automatics. I’m sure VW’s venerable semi auto tranny would fare well with those as well.

Need a rolling start option?

Have a desire to peel out?

Then you have to have a manual.

I’ve taught my boy how to drive a manual… He can do it, although he doesn’t care for it. I gave up trying to teach the wife a manual.

I am also probably echoing other’s sentiments that the newest vehicles in the livery tend to be automatics.

I know of no hybrid vehicle that is a straight stick. It’d be something to see, though.

Anyhow, here are some obligatory pictures of the livery at the Davis homestead.

You guess which is auto, which is autostick, and which is manual…



Apologies for the last image, couldn’t find any pictures of the wife’s car, so that is a stock photo. Hers is the same year and color.

Auto with a manual/automatic valve body, 2400 rpm stall. I like manual transmission, but the cars I currently have auto trans. I like a manual for twisty roads, but seeing as most of what I do is in a straight line, , bumping up through the gears with my floor mounted auto is almost as fun, and the stripes left when I hit 2nd and 3rd are fun no matter how many pedals it takes to do it.

Besides that, it’s just as much fun to launch an car with a good auto.

Hot Rods got to have 3 pedals!!

Before I purchased my 49 Olds coupe, my plan was to install a Muncie.

So much more exciting to drive. All 49 Olds with the Rocket 303 V8 were assemble with the Hydramatic Trans. because Olds did not hav a stout enough manual trans.

For everyday driving the automatic wins hands down. I currently live in metro Detroit and wind up in hours long traffic jams due to accidents in construction zones. A clutch can be really hard on the left knee, especially if you have had an injury. However, I had an e-type Jaguar that would not have been anywhere near as much fun with out the stick.

Pop the clutch
Pop the hand brake

You have to ask?