Question of the week: Manual or automatic transmission?


James, you hit the two of three things that drove my purchase although in a different order … 5 speed, euro bumpers, low mileage. Found this one 5 yrs ago with 25k on the clock :+1:.



More manuals may actually save lives. Enjoying the driving experience is fun and some may put down their mobile devices.
Enjoy your ride and shift a little !


My wife and I own 10 cars/trucks. Three Chevy Nomads - 1 original powerglide, 1 700r4, 1 Tremec 5-speed. We own two Chevy Apaches ('55 and '59) both original 3 on the tree. An original '32 Chevy 5-window coupe 3 on the floor. A '35 Chevy street rod - 350 auto. I bought a '12 Corvette GS last year. I specifically shopped for a paddle shift automatic. My DD is a '18 GMC Sierra 8-speed auto. Her DD is a '02 Trans Am WS6 auto. I wouldn’t change any one of them. Each has its own personality. We are both in our late 60s. I have had surgery on both knees. She’s had hip replacement. I can use a clutch just fine today. Who knows if some day I won’t be able to. I may have to give up driving some day. I don’t want it to be because I can’t push a clutch. The paddle shift in the Vette is a hoot to drive and offers great performance. I like 'em both. I agree with someone who said a C-2 Vette needs three pedals. But that’s largely because a powerglide is a lousy transmission. That’s not the case with these new 6, 8 and 10-speed autos. They’re extremely durable and offer tons of performance. To each his/her own. I like 'em both in the right place.


You made me count!

11 manuals (mostly foreign, except for my 26 Chevrolet and 65 Ford F700)

6 automatics (mostly Toyotas or American)

Generally, sports cars/sedans need to be manual, trucks and American cruisers best as autos.

Interestingly, I find my 2016 Ford Fiesta 1.0 liter Ecoboost 3-cyl a manual that is about as easy to drive in traffic as an automatic!


I’ll stick with the stick until my knee’s say NO MORE! :grinning:


I used to tell people that when you buy used, you don’t get your choice of color, but you can sometimes get your choice of transmission though, so I’ve driven both over the years.
I ordered a Nova SS new in '71, and ordered it with the 350 Turbo hydramatic only because I was going to teach my then girlfriend how to drive, and I wanted it to be as easy as possible for her to get her license. Today, I’m glad I did as I too have blown out my knee from driving trucks for too many years. Time changes a lot of things.


Do wish my 69 427 vette was a manual yes but sure nice around town with auto. We also own Audi SQ5 with a 8 speed with paddle shifters talk about fast and fun it one of the funnest vehicles I have every driven and kinda of a sleeper 0-60 in under 5 seconds and factory exhaust sounds good. The vette sidepipe sounds pretty good also idling or on the gas.



The only thing that matters is how youfeel driving in your car it seems that everything is turning into a this versus this Battle Crazy


For me the car & its purpose dictates the transmission (excluding original transmission cars). Of all the cars I’ve owned, every two seater had a manual - no other option in my mind. The rest varied and after thinking about it, all my cruisers were automatics, the high performance cars were manuals - with one exception: My '66 Nova with a blown 383 was an automatic - it was too hard to manage shifting!


I worked on a farm growing up and Tom (my boss) bought a BIG WHITE BUICK 2 door with 4 on the floor! He shortly ruined it by spilling milk in it and not cleaning it up!


Stick! More control! Jump start! Coast! Save on gas!


Manual in the Camaro, huge driving experience item. An auto would make it too mundane and out of character. The dune buggy, well, it’s a VW, so manual.

In my rock crawler, auto. I had a manual in the Jeep for years, switching it out for a modified 700R4 was a great move. Much smoother, and haven’t rolled since installing it.


My sister learned how to drive at this bizarre driving school which had 60’s Ford Galaxy’s with 3 on the tree in the late 70’s. She never drove a manual after that and being an engineer she would say why do what a machine can do better. I learned how to drive on a 71 Pontiac Lemans with a 350 and 3 speed automatic. I learned how to drive manual on a John Deer 2040 farm tractor and a some of the other farm equipment. I prefer the automatic but I did have a 1982 Diesel Chevette with a 5 speed, a 2001 Diesel Jetta with a 5 speed and a 2006 Gas Jetta 5 banger with with a 5 speed. All of my other car’s were automatics. Since they only make a hand full of car’s with Manual’s I don’t think I will own a new car again with a manual.


@uwedodge, I agree…it IS the only thing that should matter to the owner. But the rest of us can have an opinion and I see no “battle crazy” going on over the subject.

@michael Reminds me of my manual education…a Ford 8n tractor when I was maybe 8 or 10. Then graduated to a 47 Willy’s that we used to do fence repairs in the boonies…usually in low range. Then a 52 Chevrolet inherited from my two older brothers. That car was originally a Powerglide but a conversion to a 3 speed was mandated by dad for reliability reasons. While it was probably a good move I still have the car and it’s still that 3 speed. Sometimes I wish for ease of cruising it still had the PG.


I prefer a good manual transmission in any classic car that is to be driven. Case in point I upgraded the Hydramatic in my 49 Olds coupe to a Muncie 20.


Jim R I did not mean Battle crazy as such of course you opinion is every bit as important as anyones(including mine I just find it funny that everywhere especiall in car magazine every few pages there is a something versus something and this is conjured up hipe like we happyly agree its all fun Cheers uwe


For me, it’s defiantly a manual. (With the exception of my 2001 Dodge Dakota 4X4, my other three vehicles are manuals)
My one aim as I was growing up was to drive at Le Mans! Then reality set in…
But I had a triumph TR4 Surrey top with the 4 speed my last year of high school.
Practiced heel toe downshifts (uuuuglee until I got the hang of it) and braking to a stop so you couldn’t actually feel the car stop. (That car prepped me well for my time in June of 2000, when I did the Skip Barber three day racing school at Laguna Seca. You had to know how to heel toe down shift, as the formula Dodges had crash box 4 speeds!)
For me personally, driving a manual is almost like dancing with a mechanical partner. You always have to keep at it to be good and smooth.
Then the TR had to have its transmission replaced. Got one with the Laycock de Normanville overdrive, without the O/D lockout of second gear! O/D in 2nd was a perfect step between 2nd & 3rd, but it was also a hand ballet as my O/D switch was on the steering column, not on the gear lever like the TR6. Still miss OYM594…
Now I’m having fun with my 1973 Jensen Healey, so I’m keeping both hands and feet active!


I’ve always loved the shape of that Mercedes, but have always wanted a manual one. Always heard the term “A manual 260-280??! Rare as hens teeth”.
But I know they’re out there.


I have a 69 Charger with the 727 Torqueflite (best transmission ever). Best of both worlds. I shift it manually on the fun roads and can drive in traffic without a problem with my knees. I’ve had both (34 Plymouth) and enjoyed both. I’m 71 and bought the car new. It has over 200k on the odometer and has never been babied. Have always played with the shifter, even in my 55 Dodge (on the dash) and the push buttons in my 62 Fury. I do get to use both feet because I’m a left foot breaker.