Telling You What's Good

Friends don’t let friends drive automatic – Stick it to ’em!

Photo from caranddriver.com/var/ezflow_site/storage/images/reviews/car/09q3/2010_spyker_c8_aileron-first_drive_review/gallery/2010_spyker_c8_aileron_shift_lever_photo_22/2896742-1-eng-US/image_cd_gallery.jpg
Booonkeerrrsss

Enjoy that simply staggering picture of the gear shifter from a Spyker C8, a Dutch (really) supercar with the most over-the-top styling in the history of motoring, as I’m about to become more opinionated than usual.  Those easily offended may want to stop reading. For the brave, read on.

Ready? Here goes.

AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION FUCKING SUCKS. If you can’t drive stick, you can’t drive, full stop, end of story, go home.

Driving manual is real driving, driving aware and in control of your car.  Stick gives you greater gas mileage, better reliability, and better performance.  Thanks to engine braking, it even saves wear on your brakes.  Ever drive an automatic, put your foot down, and nothing happens for a second or two, or heaven forbid, more?  Yeah, it’s MISERABLE.   Not so on manual! Put your foot down and GO!  Ever drive an automatic, only to have it be indecisive about what gear to go into, or not shift soon enough, or shift into the wrong gear?  That sucks too.  There’s a reason an automatic transmission is often called a “slush box.”  But hey, with manual, YOU are in control, not your car, and it does exactly what you tell it to, when you tell it to.

Are you a human? Are you superior to a machine? Then exert your control and ditch Park-Reverse-Neutral-Drive and go for this:

Classic BMW 5-speed manual layout  (they now use 6)

Yes it has a learning curve, and yes it takes some skill, and yes it takes a while to really get it to be second nature.  But everything worthwhile requires effort.  Automatic transmission, in addition to being shitty transmission, is also lazy transmission.  No excuses.

The United States is one of the only places where auto outsells stick.  (Australia is another, which is sad, cos otherwise Australia is awesome).  In much of Europe and Asia, manual outsells automatic by a factor of roughly 5:1, and, according to Wikipedia, in

“New Zealand…Belgium, China, Estonia, Dominican Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Jordan, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Singapore, Slovenia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Turkey, U.A.E and the UK, when a driver takes the licensing road test using an automatic transmission, the resulting license is restricted to the use of automatic transmissions…Some other countries (such as India, Italy, Pakistan, Malaysia, Serbia, Brazil, Russia, Ukraine and Denmark) go even further, whereby the license is granted only when a test is passed on a manual transmission.”

In other words, unless you can drive manual, you’re not a fully competent driver.  You are essentially just putting a foot down and steering.  Might as well be on autopilot.  In fact, it would appear that many of the majority auto drivers in this country ARE on autopilot – not having to pay attention to revs, a clutch, and actual shifting means less attention paid overall, and that has a snowball effect.  The unfortunate times when I’ve had to drive (someone else’s) automatic car, I can sense myself not paying as much attention, as opposed to driving a stick shift car, where it’s hard to drift off simply because of the awareness required to drive successfully.

So – drive better, drive safer, drive more fun, and drive in control.  Long live manual transmission!

PS: what is with people that get a sporty car, with sporty options, and get an automatic?? Do they not get it or what!

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One response

  1. J

    I obviously have to agree.

    –J

    January 9, 2012 at 12:09 pm

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