Question of the week: Manual or automatic transmission?


Certainly for LBC’s and their ilk, have to go with the manual. I am fortunate to have a trio of roadsters - a '73 TR6 (4-speed), an '80 TR7 (5-speed) and a '12 Miata (6 speed). Cannot imagine such cars with an automatic. But a dream cruiser with an automatic is also righteous. Our four millennial “children” all drive 3-pedal manuals, so there is hope for the future indeed.


Manual. The only way I would purchase a collector car with an automatic transmission would be if it wasn’t available with a manual transmission.Then I would wonder if I really wanted it.


I love to drive. It doesn’t matter what I’m driving I want to be responsible for the everything when it comes to the application of torque to the road. That means manual. I’ll drive an automatic, some cars come only that way , and I will love it for what it is, but given a choice, I’ll take a cluch every time.


I think that it depends on the type of car. Our new cars are automatics. Our 67 Mustang conv, 289 4 BBL is a 4 speed as it should be!


Automatic. Its time set back and cruise the old classics. Its even better when you are just cruising and someone comes speeding up from behind just to check out your ride.


Interesting question: To me it all depends on the car; I have a 1972 VW Beetle; now they did make a few automatic type shift Beetles but part of the Beetles appeal is the shifting, putting power to that little engine in the back; same with some of the EU sports cars I’ve owned, Triumph, MG; you wouldn’t want an automatic in those, the “driving appeal” on a little sports car is all about the “shifting”. Now; I had a few automatic cruisers that I wouldn’t want them to be a standard shift; a 1964 Ford Galaxie and a big old Mercury; they were huge inside, big old bench seat like a sofa; when driving those you would have (northern slang) a “Cleveland Lean”; I couldn’t see me enjoying the ride while having to use my left foot. So to me its the “car”; some are meant to be shifted, some are only appreciated via the “winding the gears” and some are meant simply to do the “slow cruise”. One more comment: I recently picked up a 1995 C4 Corvette; it is “automatic” and on this one; although the cruising is nice I wish it was a standard shift. That’s my “2 Cents Worth”.


Manual is my choice for sure. All my classics are manual and so is my daily driver (late model Audi). I haven’t bought a daily driver American vehicle for many years because the choice in manual transmissions is so very limited.


If I want to use the car predominantly for drag racing then I would opt for either a newer vintage automatic or a highly beefed up vintage automatic. If I were using the car for road racing or auto cross I would prefer a manual transmission. If you just have to have that joy of shifting, the newer automatics provide for paddle shifting. I have a C6 Corvette and that really doesn’t cut it for me, but others swear by it. I tried to teach my son to drive a stick using my Mazda RX7 but he just couldn’t, or wouldn’t, learn. It actually saved me years later when I acquired a numbers matching '69 Corvette 427 coupe with an M21 4 speed. He couldn’t drive it!


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:



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.


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.