The Scientist’s Guide to Manual Transmission Snobbery

All good points, but they don’t make your life experiences match mine.

manuals also usually cost less to repair when they DO go out, and they do have a slight braking advantage on ice, as you can put the clutch all the way down and brake without the engine trying to keep you going forward.

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Not to excuse their behavior, but I imagine they couldn’t help but creep up while trying to figure out what neat object was in front of them.

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Not sure about those straight cut gears. I don’t think an accord ever had them. Now my 31 Dodge has them. That’s a lesson in coordination.

I saw a comment about timing. Modern transmissions are fantastic and versatile. I had an automative in my BMW E30…swapped that out to a manual. Not because I’m a manual snob…but now I enjoy driving the car. Didn’t before; that transmission was a dog (and not a dog-leg). Second point on timing–my teenage daughter drives a manual. Not because she’s a manual snob, but because she drives better than her peers (and MANY adults) and enjoys it. She anticipates potential challenges more, she’s more engaged with the complete driving ecosystem and potential hazards, she controls the car more effectively than her peers, she says it’s more fun than driving her friends’ cars, and she doesn’t text/Snap, etc. (yes, confirmed through a variety of ways and people) when she drives.

A Marine Corps F4S in burner is an orgasm:. a Miata 6 speed is far less, but with the silky hydraulic clutch and the 2 7/8 inch throw (non-OEM knob), it is pure sensuality – and 100 times a trip.

Yeah, but the race car version -The Clubsport- comes with a PDK as the only choice. Same for other factory/turnkey race cars like the Audi TT RS Racecar and the 911 GT3 Cup (it comes with a Sequential Manual, the closest to a true manual on this list)

There are other, front-wheel drive factory racecars like the Civic Type R TCR and the Hyundai Veloster TCR, and they might have manual transmissions (I haven’t investigated them) but for rear-wheel drive, the only ones would be the MX-5 Cup and the Caterham Seven (the top Caterham, the 620R, comes with a sequential manual)

yes. precisely the reason i prefer my 5-speed '73 911 (my daily driver, in the la basin) to my wife’s 991 (with pdk).

and also partly why i enjoyed flying my mooney, particularly in instrument conditions.

the automatic transmission, like hydraulically assisted steering, were invented to expand the available customer purchase base, essentially for women;

nothing against women, but the other edge of the Damacles sword is that the automatic transmission in particular has afforded a broad spectrum of very poor drivers to take to the road;

it is these drivers, of all gender and stripe, who are responsible for and/or precipative to well over 95% of traffic accidents and fatalities which you may have noticed are again on the rise;

having to drive a stick will force the better part of these poor drivers to pay more than a modicum of attention to the road and thereby others on it over themselves, since they will need both hands and feet to drive;

frankly, i don’t care if that would be a hardship on drivers with disabilities;

all our insurance rates are too high and that is what public transportation is for;

the only exceptions i would make are service vehicles—long haul trucks, fire, police, EMT, military, etc;

this rather clumsy attempt to make driving a manual transmission analogous with elitism usually reserved for the tea and crumpet set is humorous;

since when is wanting hands-on control is something at your fingertips elitist?

and you date yourself with the rather hysterical and ludicrous example of Michael Schumacher as a top GP driver;

first his era coincided not only with another era in GP where Ferrari purchased and purloined and lobbied and bribed its dominance to the degree they were the only big fish in a little pond (much like the end of WWII up to the early 1960s) he was also the chief beneficiary of the early semi-automatic transmissions of the era spearheaded by the English marques, most notably Williams-Honda who were conveniently outlawed for the same level of dominance;

in other words, Schumacher wouldn’t have cut it as a test driver in the pre-automated/computer assisted F1 era where driver ability was tantamount and the competition much more keen;

don’t think many of the current computer-assisted crop would’ve been of much use in the legitimate GP era, including the current champion since there is no competition for Mercedes nor has there been for over a decade;

for such a crappy article it has a lot of comments…

I love my autostick beemer - mostly because I can play with the stick when I want to and leave it alone when I don’t… I do miss the pedal though even though I know it would slow me down

I think what most of us manual lovers hate about the way things are going is that it isn’t even an option anymore… and it won’t be long before the option of having a steering wheel and accelerator will start going away… just touch the ‘home’ icon on the touch screen dash and sit back and read the paper… ugh

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Not up to previous articles I’ve enjoyed…are you insuring bicycles now?


I’m not a woman, but caution you on your thread… it is almost like you may be singling out the fairer sex for an inability to drive responsibly.

I dont know enough about racing to make any intelligent comments about f1, Schumacher, autostick transmissions and their applications in racing, but I do know enough about life to know some people may have lost their left legs to other incompetent drivers, the odd farming accident, and even the horrors of war be it in the jungles of southeast Asia or the arid and deadly deserts of the middle east.

Should these unfortunate souls be deemed unworthy of automatic transmissions and relegated to mass transit?

That all being said, there’s something to be said about the modern automobiles penchant for distancing any connection the driver or passengers would have with the road or even the vehicle itself. It is this very distance, the lessening of the reality of being able to control all of the force of a runaway 1 ton boulder into a mindless video game that we should perhaps watch out for and be in the lookout for. If that is what you are trying to say, then I totally understand where you’re coming from.

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Two of my cars are manual trans, a Shelby GT and an MX-5. Having that fifth connection to the car in addition to seating, steering, braking and throttle just does something. The Fifth Connection! Maybe I’ll write a book …

I love manual. Always have. I’d rather drive a car than just steer it. I’m not against progress. The reason I bought the specific 71 MG that I did was because the dual SU carbs had been replaced by a two-barrel Weber and the points in the distributor by magnets in an electronic ignition (no drying out damp distributor caps on a moist September morning).

My regular cars have always been 2-liters and underpowered. Without a stick, my Rav-4 and Hyundai Tucson would have been undriveable. Something no one has mentioned about downshifting is the reduced need to replace your brakes. I have a 13-year old Hyundai and have only replaced the brakes twice in all that time.

So the manual/auto debate is about enjoying your ride. If you have to be in the car, you might as well be having fun. There is something very British in the ‘vrrroooomm’ noise the MG makes slowing down from third to second. You hear it in the seat of your pants and it never fails to make me smile.

Everybody should stop arguing and enjoy your ride. By the way, I bicycle commuted for 40 years and still ride, so don’t begrudge me the damn 18 inches of dust and broken glass encrusted, sewer-grated pavement I need. If you can’t drive on the remaining ten feet of lane, stay off the road. I’m one less car ahead of you at the next intersection and my old 12-speed means there more cheap gas for you.

Enjoy the road, play nice, share and don’t forget to smile. It’s contagious.

So are brake pads cheaper than transmission repairs?


IMHO I think many who believe the 3rd pedal is dead may only need to a few minutes in a cts-v with a stick to arrive at a very different point of view…

Turned in my Rav with 105,000 miles and it’s original clutch. If you know what you’re doing there’s very little wear on the clutch and tranny.

After 10 years on my ‘07 Hyundai, my mechanic says there’s no discernible wear.

That’s what was called the “suicide clutch”. My first motorcycle was a 1949 HydraGlide and fortunately I did not know about removing any springs on the clutch mechanism. I marvel now that I was able to ride that bike (did tip over a few times). The biggest challenge I recall was pulling out from a dead stop in an uphill situation. You really did not want to stall and go through the whole process of restarting the bike with a line of cars behind you!

i don’t know how to drive an automatic… :grin:

don’t worry, be happy.

Two manual shift cars and enjoy the man/machine interface plus grew up in the 60’s. Worst day ever last summer in 6 speed on interstate where semi had caught fire. Highway Patrol closed lanes in both directions and were directing traffic off at the nearest exit. Forty minutes of left leg in, left leg out had me at breaking point, plus had to pee like a racehorse!! Worst car day ever!!