Manuals give a car it’s character. You are driving the car, choosing the revs and the sound, not just pointing the car to it’s destination. Who cares if an auto box can shift better than me, that’s missing the point. The obsession with performance numbers has produced many soulless cars.
In the old days there was always a good old car with an easy tranny and clutch, or a rental car, to teach manual shift. My middle daughter wants to learn how to “drive shift” but I am loathe to give her my fresh gearbox gtv6 to learn, not exactly the paradigm of intuitive gearchanging. Maybe I’ll teach her the idea of gears on the 4c first and then graduate to a third pedal, or see if my mechanics will lend me an old alfa that is already worn out!
My 2016 MX-5 ND is a row-your-own and I wouldn’t have it any other way. There’s something much more engaging in driving a car with 3 pedals. I was very disappointed to see Toyota has moved to a 2-pedal stick for their “intelligent” manual. I get it that machines can perfectly shift on every shift, but that takes all the fun out. As CitationMan said below, “soulless cars”.
Hardly a better feeling in motordom than the perfectly executed heel and toe downshift. The lever moves into the slot with no resistance, the tach doesn't waver a millimeter after the blip, the chassis remains resolute. You've chosen the perfect rev level, and executed with epic timing. All is zen...
Or that time you did a repair and didn't need one extra trip to the garage or the auto parts store.
Contrary to the online obsession with track time bragging rights which favours a pdk, in the real world away from the computer screen, there are real drivers who use their cars on the road and drive for the fun of it. They like the involvement of a manual. Porsche screwed up a few years ago by not even offering a manual GT3. They got spanked. They learned.
That is how I felt a few years ago, when, in a fit of pique, I traded my 2009 Buick Lacrosse Super on a 2015 Impala. :<( And, in early 2017, I almost traded the Impala on a new 2015 Chevy SS - wish I HAD made that trade!
My niece Erin just scored a used Subaru Forester with a six speed. We were told that while she was signing the papers, two other people showed up to look at it. Welcome to the cult, Erry........Subies and Manny Trannies......
I’ve owned over 20 cars in my life so far and 17 have been manuals. If I get the urge to drive an automatic, I just drive my wife’s. Currently I own. NB Miata with a 5 speed and 2015 Audi A5 with a 6 speed. When you shift the transmission, you are still in control. There will be a time in the near future where that may not be the case. For now I’ll hold on to what I have and enjoy the drive. Remember, real cars don’t shift themselves!
Lets face it, we drive manuals because they are fun. For me it is the difference between driving from point A to B, and just getting there. When I am going to the beach with the family loaded up in the Suburban, I just want to get there. The automatic trans with lane holding steering fits the bill. But when I just want to drive, nothing but a manual will do. Even if it is just a spin down to the supermarket. When I need to get a load of pine straw or mulch, I will rent the Home Depot truck for 19.99, but if I need to have fun getting something, I break out the 1968 SS396 El Camino with the rock crusher four speed. Yes it will take me an extra hour to get it ready, but it is just more fun to drive.
There are seven vehicles in our household including my wife's two, and all are manuals by choice. Soon, her mom will not be driving any longer and has offered her her late model, low mileage automatic econobox. We're a bit conflicted but likely won't be able to turn it down.
My son & daughter learned in stick-shift cars and I insisted their first cars be manuals. A manual trans requires the driver to pay much more attention to driving and surrounding traffic. Much more difficult to fiddle with a cell phone/food/drink as well.
The story made me smile; and the comments here are great, too. I have purchased 11 cars and 5 bikes for me over the years. All manuals. (Still have all 5 bikes.)
To add to what Jfslater98, said below (but translating it to a motorcycle)— nothing quite like perfect rev-matched downshifts setting up for a corner; just the right amount of trail braking as you tip it in and shift your body position; lean into the apex; and pick up the throttle as you stand it up. Then repeat!
Just last year on a sparsely traveled rural mountain road near my house into North Carolina, I waved through 4 bikers to safely pass me, then got to watch what you described for miles, including some knee down in the corners. A joy to watch.
Glad to hear the manual is still popular on this most-pure version of the 911. I taught both of my Millennial daughters to drive a stick shift - at their request! I still enjoy it, as does my wife. I hope a few cars with manuals stick around (no pun intended), for at least another few years - more, if possible!
My neighbor’s daughter was just at the point of learning to drive when I offered her a chance to drive my 1939 Dodge truck, she at first said she would really prefer to do her homework but her father coaxed her into at least trying. The old non synchro transmissions are either the perfect teaching machines or a really bad idea from a maintenance point of view. Anyway we were running down the road and she was starting to catch on meaning she made it to 2nd gear when I decided to also explain that steering was a requirement too! All in all it was a fun afternoon and I bet if she ever drives a newer stick shift it will be a breeze!
As a M/T driver, Miata RF, 46 C truck, and 1 of the few HRV with 6sp in calif, I will agree the manual offers true connection to the vehicle, however, driving 7 gears 400 + ponies on a track, take the DCT or you will be driving one handed.