Question of the week: Manual or automatic transmission?


I have a 69 Camaro, 427, M22 Yenko clone; 70 Chevelle SS454, M22 and an 07 Shelby Mustang GT500, 6 speed manual only. I love them. Other cars auto is the way to go: Challenger Hellcat widebody, 8 speed automatic; ZL1, 10 speed automatic or a 911 turbo S with the PDK. I love both but some cars deserve the automatic ecspecially when pushing it to the limits whether in a straight line or the twisty’s.


I have had a string of Mustang GT’s, all with manual transmissions. Until recently. I bought a new one with an automatic. Blame my advanced age, but what a mistake. It’s a wonderful car, but I truly miss “driving” my car. Rowing those gears and being connected to the vehicle just cannot be accomplished with paddle shifters. My next one will be a manual, again.


My two 1957 Pontiac Chieftains I owned, one before and one after I was in the US Army, had automatic transmissions. The 1957 Pontiac Chieftain I own now has an automatic transmission. I am very happy with it. I remember my first Pontiacs when I was a teenager being 3-speed manual. While that was common and not difficult to drive, I must admit I prefer an automatic transmission.


Driving a manual makes you think about the road ahead. No time for distracted driving.


Depends on the car. Automatics work well for cruisin’ geezers. Manual are best in sports and muscle cars. Also, the manual transmission is near extinction. If you are a collector of sports cars or coupes, go with a manual. They are sure to have higher resale value in the future compared with automatics.


I love my 55 belair coupe with, a tremec 5 speed w/ tri power. WHAT A RUSH !!!


AMEN TO THAT!!! I love to hear those 3 carb open up


I eat the cake I have. My 64 Ford has the good old dual range cruise o, I shift manually and can dim my headlights mid shift.
My daily is a 6 speed manual as my prior daily was a mini with an auto, I always was longing for that 3rd pedal. Now that I have it some days in traffic I wish I didn’t.
Just depends on the drive and the ride. They BOTH have their place in my heart and garage.


Depends on the car and my mood.
My 69 Fury coupe has an auto and I relax and cruise around with a burbling 440 big block. If I am in a more aggressive mood I take a drive in my 86 turbo Omni GLHS Shelby with a 5 speed.


@twd1769 - Thats an interesting pair of cars. I like it!


I agree. It depends on the car.


Nothing like a manual transmission. Makes you feel more engaged and part of the car itself.


I am in the depends on the car crowd. Classic land yachts and newer everyday cars that are used in modern conjestion are deffinate in need of automatic transmissions.
Personally though I prefer manual! I did not learn to drive a stick until later in life, and find that the mastering of different manual patterns, a small but fun challange.
I have two different manual configurations in my cars and find both put a smile on my face that stays there for a bit even after the drives are complete.


I’d almost always prefer a manual to an automatic. First, you have to do more than just point the car–it makes you more aware of the rigors of driving (you definitely can’t text and drive stick at the same time, for example). If you live in the US, driving stick catapults you into an elite fraternity–less then 10% of Americans can drive stick. If you go anywhere else in the world and rent a car, you don’t have to pay some obscene charge for an automatic. Finally, almost no one will ask if they can borrow your car. I told my daughter I’d buy her a car but it had to be stick. Every now and then, a college friend would approach her and say “Hey Avery, can I b…never mind.”

My favorite reasons used to be that manuals were faster and got better mileage, but now that most automatics have as many or more gears as manuals, the automatics actually get slightly better mileage and have slightly better acceleration. That said, I have a very different attitude about a sports car with a manual transmission than an automatic.


Yes, when it’s necessity, it’s easy to understand. And undoubtedly, I or anyone could one day find themselves in that situation, at which time one would be grateful for the engineers who have made modern automatics so good. Perhaps I should have said “why people like me” would choose that… and your point is well-taken. I suppose if I were Andre the Giant, I could have said “I don’t understand why you need an engine, when you can just push the car”. However, when you drive a car with a manual, you ofter hear people say they’d prefer one, if they could find one. But there’s no incentive at the dealerships to sell a CHEAPER car, and the real reason manuals don’t sell well in America isn’t because people don’t like them, or “can’t drive them”, it’s because cars have gotten so good, and so cheap, nobody in America goes hunting for the lower priced option (as they do in Mexico and much of Europe), and the dealers steer them away, or even lie to them and tell them it’s not available (for instance: manual transmissions were available on the Ford Fusion through MY2017; did anyone know?). So I stand by the idea that in my situation, it’s easy to not understand why I’d choose an automatic, when I’m able and prefer a cheaper, simpler option. If and when that situation changes, understanding will come with it. I could point out that in my profession, I’m doing my very best to make sure the automatic you buy is a great, safe, reliable, economical product. I have no complaint with people driving automatics, but I have a complaint with a dealership system which steers people away from cars they might otherwise prefer, herding us like so many sheep toward the day of autonomous cars. I will be the last guy in line for one of those.


For my commuter, I’m happy with the automatic. For my weekend fun car, I wouldn’t even look at an automatic. I love the engagement of the stick. My truck is a stick which I like most of the year, but I’ve learned, sucks for snow plowing.


Manual for me. My daily driver is a 2011 BMW 328I Coupe with the “M” package and a 6 speed manual, my weekend car is my 1985 911 Targa Carrera obviously a 5 speed manual. My children were all taught to drive manuals before they ever drove an automatic.

A little story to add. My youngest sister went to an all girls college in the NE, in her sophomore year my parents bought her a new Honda Civic with a 5 speed manual, it was the best thing that they could have done, since most of her friends didn’t even have a car. When ever someone would ask her if they could borrow her car to go the store to get beer or Kotexes or what ever, she would say sure, but my car is a stick shift, 9 out of 10 times they would say Oh forget it.


I always wondered if I was the only guy that preferred the gray-market-only 280’s with the venerable inline 6 and euro-style bumpers - and most importantly, the 5 speed tranny!


Thanks. The odd couple! Can’t imagine a 4 speed in my big ole Fury. I just want to sit back and chill.


Love the stick and have had several. 62 Valiant 3 on tree, 64 Cuda V8 4spd, 84 Fiero, 90 Chevy truck and currently 64 Stude Daytona Convt.289 4spd. My Granddaughter wanted to drive manual and learned in the Daytona.