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All of the fun is in the gearbox

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All of the fun is in the gearbox

 
Old 08-26-2017, 08:05 AM
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Default All of the fun is in the gearbox

All the fun is in the gearbox



I know, I know. Modern automatic transmissions are more fuel efficient than manual transmissions, and on the race track they’ve proven to be faster. Sometimes as much as .001 of a second faster. You can’t buy a new Ferrari with a manual transmission, if you want a BMW with a manual transmission you have to have it built in Germany as American dealers won’t import them for inventory, and if you want a new Honda with a manual transmission you have to buy an Si, Type R or wait for a special order which may or may not ever be delivered. What happened?

I was listening to the radio a few months ago and the news reader was talking about new cars. It seems that only 6% of all new cars being produced are being made with manual transmissions and only 18% of the licensed drivers know how to drive a manual transmission. What happened?

I learned to drive a manual transmission on a 1972 MGB way back in 1972 (actually I learned on a motorcycle a year earlier, but that’s a story for another time) and I’ve never looked back. I’ve been driving manual transmissions for so long that it feels like a very natural thing to do. All of my limbs are involved. When I drive a car with an automatic I don’t know what to do with my left foot or my right hand. I’ve driven cars with paddle shifters, but it’s not the same. Paddle shifters don’t react the same, exacting way, and anyway, it’s not a manual transmission if it doesn’t have a clutch peddle. My left foot has nothing to do and falls asleep.

A manual transmission keeps you involved with the car. Driving isn’t and shouldn’t be a passive activity. The driver should always be completely focused on driving and participate completely with the car. Upshifting makes the car go, downshifting is the art of driving a manual transmission. To be in the right gear in all situations is the demand of a manual and being able to do it is the skill you develop. Having developed the skill adds to the fun of driving.

I fear that with all of the emphasis on autonomous, self driving cars, we will see less and less manual transmissions and less and less people will know how to drive them. I suppose that is progress, but I’m not so sure that kind of progress is always a good thing.

My 1972 MGB put out only 95 horsepower, but with a 4 speed manual transmission I was able to do magical things. My 1978 X-1/9 put out even less, something along the lines of 70 horsepower, but that didn’t matter. It had a manual transmission and was a great deal of fun to drive.

I have heard many people say that if the S2000 had an automatic transmission it would have sold much better. Maybe so. Maybe more would’ve sold, but would they have been as much fun to drive? It’s a great car no doubt, with a great engine and great handling, but for me and many others it’s not the engine. All of the fun is in the gearbox.
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Old 08-26-2017, 08:48 AM
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Great anti-theft device.
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Old 08-26-2017, 09:26 AM
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AMEN, brother!
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Old 08-26-2017, 10:05 AM
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I'm sure if the S2000 had an automatic option most of the owners on this site, including me, would still have got the manual 6 speed.
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Old 08-26-2017, 12:09 PM
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part of what i like about the S is that it was never offered in automatic,
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Old 08-26-2017, 01:47 PM
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^Ditto the Civic EK version of the Si...and maybe others.

I guess a manual transmission is not compatible with texting.

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Old 08-26-2017, 05:05 PM
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I'll bet the automatic Miatas far outsell the manual versions.

-- Chuck
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Old 08-26-2017, 05:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Chuck S View Post
I'll bet the automatic Miatas far outsell the manual versions.

-- Chuck
According to Mazda, as quoted in an LA Times article last November, 60% of Miatas it sells are equipped with manual transmissions. Although it is not clear from the article whether Mazda is talking US or world-wide sales. However looking at US sales, as recently as 2011 two-thirds of the softtop NC's and slightly less than half the retractable hardtops sold were equipped with manuals,
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Old 08-27-2017, 04:46 AM
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Thanks! Surprising (to me .

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Old 08-27-2017, 05:34 AM
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Hey, many of us Miata owners still love to use three pedals. I learned to heel/toe in my S2000 but I've perfected it in my Miata.
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