Hagerty.com

Will stick shifts become extinct? Not on our watch

One of the things I’m proudest of at Hagerty is a program we offer to teach teens and young adults how to drive cars with manual transmissions. We call it the Hagerty Driving Academy, Powered by Skip Barber Racing School. It also teaches more advanced skills—things like skid control and emergency lane changing. But those young faces behind the wheel light up the most when they finally figure out the mysteries of the clutch and gearshift.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/articles/2019/10/09/will-stick-shifts-become-extinct
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I installed the Hurst shifter in my '63 Nova last week and showed my 16 year old how it worked. He said, “So first gear is forward? That’s weird.” The only other stick he has driven is our '46 Willys CJ2A and 1st is back in that. I thought it was funny.

Teaching my son how to drive in a car with a manual transmission brought back quite a few old memories for me. Now he wouldn’t have it any other way. I only hope that he’ll have some decent choices available to him in the future.

Three daughters, one Audi a4 stick, two clutches. But they now love driving stick.

I have two neighbors who recently acquired their driver’s licenses and I’ve already promised them I am going to teach them how to drive a stick!

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I just bought a 2019 Mustang Bullitt… 6 speed stick is the only way it comes…3 years ago I bought a 1990 Nissan 300 ZX 5 speed stick. People like them…LONG LIVE THE STICK…!!!

It’s also very amusing to read various news stories that attempted car hijackings have failed badly because the perpetrators had no clue how to operate a shift stick vehicle.

Here in Finland automatic transmissions used to be kind of luxury and I guess manuals still rule and almost everybody can drive them.
If you get your license practising with automatic, you are not allowed to drive manual.
Of course, our roads are quite empty comapared to USA, Germany etc. I always rent an automatic when travelling there.
Shifting gears in my '65 Mustang GT Coupe is awesome and would never have it any other way :slight_smile:

My “fool proof” way of teaching stick is 1) First explain what a clutch and a transmission do and why. 2) Have the student start in second gear (third for trucks). Once they can start the car from second or third, first is never an issue! Yeah, a little tough on the vehicle but a fast way to learn.

I told both my kids that if they wanted to drive, they would learn on a stick. First car would have manual transmission. When they buy their own car, they can choose. I had fixed up a 1999 Jeep Wrangler TJ, 5 speed for me. When my daughter was nearing 16, she said in a very sweet voice, “Dad, do you think the Jeep can be my first car?”. Sure. So she is 18 now, and loves her Jeep. My Jeep. I think 2 of her friends can drive a stick, and I taught one of them. Her little brother will be turning 16 in the next year and he expects her to move on to my Audi A3 6 speed for school, and he can take over the Jeep.

They like being able to drive a car not many can. And if you look at the news, it even adds theft security. If someone is thinking about stealing your car, and then realize it is manual, they move on to an easier one.

Close to 20 times I have payed my money and signed a title— every one a (real) manual. Not even one of those “automated manual” paddle shifted things. Daily drivers, toys, doesn’t matter. Only manuals!

In modern rush hour traffic, having an automatic is really the way to go. I used to do rush hour with a stick and found it tedious back then. Today’s traffic is so bad that it would drive me crazy. However, get me out on a weekend with a manual transmission and I’m a happy boy!

Someone is selling a 1972 Triumph TR6 nearby. It is sitting in a parking lot in front of the store where the owner of the car is the manager of the store. I was looking at the car when he stuck his head out of the door, looked at me and said, “I assume you drive a stick.” Then threw the keys and I went for a ride. Even in suburban traffic, it was a fun ride! I am considering buying that TR6 because it would be fun to have a manual transmission car!

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Sooooo… Does the Hagerty school teach drivers how to deal with three on the tree and a non-synchro first gear?

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Just bought a '16 Cadillac ATS Coupe with a 6-speed manual as my everyday driver. It took about two weeks of online searching but It found one “only” 2,500 miles away. Parking valets here in Los Angeles are absolutely incredulous and, soon thereafter, joyful when they get in the car and see that it’s “a Cadillac with a clutch!” Traded my '14 Mini Clubman (of course, it was a manual) to a guy who had similarly been searching for something specific with a clutch. Spreading joy six forward gears at a time.

Of my three sons two learned to shift and one now owns a manual. I have bought nothing but manual cars since 1972, so they had no choice but to learn.
My in-laws had a Toyota Celica with a worn clutch that I used as a learner.

Daughter learned to drive in our Saab 900 - manual 4-speed - and took her test in it. The examiner came back impressed that she not only passed, but did a genuine emergency stop when someone pulled out right in front of her without stalling the engine, and also smoothly negotiated hill starts, balancing the hand brake with the clutch, which, when we showed her how to do that, she thought was “magic”. And BTW, she just loves our sports cars, especially the recently restored Bugeye Sprite!

scott5 is right!
With today traffic conditions a stick shift will give you leg and back trouble for life and the clutch will have a short life span to boot.
Secondly, these new automatics are quicker then a stick shift and you can keep both hands on the wheel at the same time.
Ever hear all the noise when a guy misses a shift?

Considering only 18 percent of Americans can shift a manual transmission, wonder what percentage can ride a motorcycle with manual transmission?

Coming of age in the 60’s, every guy I knew could drive a manual ( 3 on the tree ) and ride a motorcycle. We looked down on automatics. How times have changed.

Unfortunately most Americans look at automobiles as simply transportation. Many could care less about driving at all if other options are available.

Those of us that enjoy driving a great car with a stick and/or a motorcycle are truly unique.

In my opinion, it’s cost and traffic that’s behind the change. Electric vehicles will render stick shift vehicles “toy car” status.

Sorry to be Debbie Downer but you can see it coming.

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One nice thing about many not being able to drive a stick shift is that your car is much more likely NOT to be stolen

I have four adult kids and every one of them learned how to drive in a Jeep with a six speed manual. I personally have never owned an automatic. Yea, it’s unfortunate that manual transmissions are most likely going to go the way of the dinosaur in the near future. I can at least say I did my part to keep them alive a little longer.