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Thread: The demise of the stick shift

  1. #1
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    Default The demise of the stick shift

    (Imagine a mournful sigh)

    Manual transmissions are very rapidly becoming a thing of the past... and I'm VERY sorry to see it.

    A few decades ago, a manual transmission, in a car, was more or less standard.... and an automatic transmission 1) cost more, 2) was associated with the 'bottom of the line' models, and 3) delivered better mileage than an automatic.

    My fascination with stick shifts started when I was perhaps 15 or 16. At the time, I had an after-school job, along with several classmates, and occasionally, the mother of one of the other kids would drive us to the factory. She drove a sedan with a 'three on the tree' shift... and I was amazed at how smoothly she was able to shift and drive. My parents always had automatics, so this was my first exposure.

    When I bought my first car, a 1971 Chevy Vega (and that car alone, could start a pretty good thread!), it was a four speed... and while I was kind of rough for a few weeks, I eventually got to be very smooth with it... even double clutching the downshifts with heel/toe (probably unnecessary, with synchromesh, but I had fun with it, anyhow).

    From that point on, and right to the present day, I have always bought cars with stick shifts. I recall teaching my wife (girlfriend, at the time) to drive it, and she became a pretty good shift stick driver. I taught my nephew, and my younger daughter, as well. The cars included three different Toyota Celicas, an MGB, a Mazda RX7-GSL, a Miata, a Mazda 626, a VW Golf, a 1999 Honda Accord, and (currently) a 2013 Honda Accord.

    Unfortunately, sticks are beginning to disappear. When I bought the 1999 Accord, one could get a 5 speed in a 'mid-level' Accord model.... by the time I bought the 2013 Accord, it was only available in the very bottom of the line, with a 6 speed (which is what I drive now).

    I have to admit, the modern day automatic tranny is a great deal different from what was available just 20 years ago.... and when you look at mileage figures, it appears that today's automatics actually beat out the mileage numbers, compared to the same car with a stick.

    I've been contemplating a new car sometime this year... and there's frankly not much of a choice, if I want to drive a stick. For example, in the Honda Accord lineup, only one model, a mid-level 'sport' edition, can be had with a stick... and it doesn't have a lot of the modern electronics, as well as luxury features, that I'd like. Their top-of-the-line model can be had with either a CVT, or a 10 speed automatic.

    To be fair, there certainly ARE cars available with manual transmissions:

    https://www.popularmechanics.com/car...-transmission/

    ...but none of them are particularly appealing to me (or, affordable).

    I always considered the ability to drive a manual transmission to be a beloved skill.... and hate to think that my next car won't have one.
    "Reason and facts are sacrificed to opinion and myth. Demonstrable falsehoods are circulated and recycled as fact. Narrow minded opinion refuses to be subjected to thought and analysis. Too many now subject events to a prefabricated set of interpretations, usually provided by a biased media source. The myth is more comfortable than the often difficult search for truth."







  2. #2
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    Default Re: The demise of the stick shift

    i'm kinda with you, sorta kinda
    but we live on a rural road that for several miles has no houses only farms and heavily wooded areas, in the wooded areas its hilly with lots of tight curves, in the farm areas its slightly elevated with long straights punctuated by wide sweepers
    the eight speed automatic with paddle shifters in kat's charger has been a revelation to me
    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: The demise of the stick shift

    Real man are secure enough to have the gears shifted for them....
    Elect a clown expect a circus

  4. #4
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    Default Re: The demise of the stick shift

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Pless View Post
    i'm kinda with you, sorta kinda
    but we live on a rural road that for several miles has no houses only farms and heavily wooded areas, in the wooded areas its hilly with lots of tight curves, in the farm areas its slightly elevated with long straights punctuated by wide sweepers
    the eight speed automatic with paddle shifters in kat's charger has been a revelation to me
    SWMBO's Ford Escape has paddle shifters... but I've never used them... it always seemed kinda stupid, to me. The automatic tranny in the Escape is particularly good.

    When I bought the 2013 Accord, I sacrificed some features, in order to get the 6 speed manual model.... no electric seat, no nav, no leather seats, and a bunch of other stuff that I would have liked. The 2018 Accord with the 6 speed is the same story.

    I suppose that I'll probably have to satisfy my 'need to shift' with just the motorcycle.
    "Reason and facts are sacrificed to opinion and myth. Demonstrable falsehoods are circulated and recycled as fact. Narrow minded opinion refuses to be subjected to thought and analysis. Too many now subject events to a prefabricated set of interpretations, usually provided by a biased media source. The myth is more comfortable than the often difficult search for truth."







  5. #5
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    Default Re: The demise of the stick shift

    I get all the shifting I need on my motorcycles. A stick shift sucks in stop and go traffic.

    My Mazda 3 has the capability to shift the AT, but I haven't used it much.

    My Wolfsburg Jetta had a DSG transmission. It shifted a lot better than I ever could
    Elect a clown expect a circus

  6. #6
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    Default Re: The demise of the stick shift

    Quote Originally Posted by Bobcat View Post
    I get all the shifting I need on my motorcycles. A stick shift sucks in stop and go traffic.
    Don't I know it

    Back in around 1996, I was consulting to my former employer, located just about 7 miles from my home. At the time, Mazda was offering really incredible leasing deals... where you could 'pre-buy' extra miles on a leased vehicle, for just 8 cents per mile, and the unused portion was actually refundable. Since my wife was driving a minivan at the time, I didn't need to drive anything big, and wasn't going very far, so I leased a beautiful little Miata.

    About a month later, my client announced that they were transferring me, and my project, to their facility north of Boston.... a 37 mile drive in heavy, dense traffic. That Miata, which was a delight for the 7 mile no-traffic commute, was a veritable NIGHTMARE on Rt 128 in Boston.... noisy, and with constant stop-and-go clutch-work all the time. I think I had over-developed muscles in my left leg, by the time the contract (and the lease) ended in 1998.
    "Reason and facts are sacrificed to opinion and myth. Demonstrable falsehoods are circulated and recycled as fact. Narrow minded opinion refuses to be subjected to thought and analysis. Too many now subject events to a prefabricated set of interpretations, usually provided by a biased media source. The myth is more comfortable than the often difficult search for truth."







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    Default Re: The demise of the stick shift

    IMMIGRANTS BUILT AMERICA - IMMIGRANTS BUILD AMERICA

  8. #8
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    Default Re: The demise of the stick shift

    She and I both much prefer sticks. We held out for a clutch pedal on her 2015 Audi S5, in spite of the dealer’s dire warnings including resale value. We don’t buy cars for resale value anyway. So we got it and still have it, but I have to admit it doesn’t feel much like a stick shift the way my older Boxster does or older cars in general. It almost feels like a computer is shifting anyway. The computer seems to be controlling the rpm when your foot is off the gas pedal, and there is a readout on the dash that tells you what gear you are in and what gear you should be in, which is pure BS because it usually says you should be in 6 when you are in 3 or 4. That’s probably so they can get their mileage sticker on the window to sell cars. I’m not used to lugging cars in high gears. We joke that the clutch pedal on this car is a placebo.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: The demise of the stick shift




    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Bow View Post
    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: The demise of the stick shift

    Urban legend has it that stick shift cars won’t get stolen because kids don’t know how to drive them. Not sure how true that is but it helps us rationalize buying clutch pedals.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: The demise of the stick shift

    Not in Europe! It's almost impossible to rent an automatic there.

    We just had the supreme joy of parking a car in Medina Sidonia, Spain, most days for 3 weeks, with a manual transmission, usually into a tiny spot, parallel-parking, on VERY steep hills.

    I'm afraid that clutch is now well-used. In fact if the car was offered for sale tomorrow, I wouldn't buy it. Not after what I did to it.

    Dave

  12. #12
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    Default Re: The demise of the stick shift

    Quote Originally Posted by ron ll View Post
    She and I both much prefer sticks. We held out for a clutch pedal on her 2015 Audi S5, in spite of the dealer’s dire warnings including resale value. We don’t buy cars for resale value anyway. So we got it and still have it, but I have to admit it doesn’t feel much like a stick shift the way my older Boxster does or older cars in general. It almost feels like a computer is shifting anyway. The computer seems to be controlling the rpm when your foot is off the gas pedal, and there is a readout on the dash that tells you what gear you are in and what gear you should be in, which is pure BS because it usually says you should be in 6 when you are in 3 or 4. That’s probably so they can get their mileage sticker on the window to sell cars. I’m not used to lugging cars in high gears. We joke that the clutch pedal on this car is a placebo.
    I won't deny that stick shifts in cars are, to a great degree, anachronistic.... considering the performance of modern automatic transmissions.

    However, I should think that, in a community of people with a high interest in wooden boats, there would be an appreciation of stick shifts in very much the SAME sense as people appreciate wooden boats... an homage to an earlier era. After all, what's more anachronistic, in the sense of utility and service, than a wooden boat?
    "Reason and facts are sacrificed to opinion and myth. Demonstrable falsehoods are circulated and recycled as fact. Narrow minded opinion refuses to be subjected to thought and analysis. Too many now subject events to a prefabricated set of interpretations, usually provided by a biased media source. The myth is more comfortable than the often difficult search for truth."







  13. #13
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    Default Re: The demise of the stick shift

    I drove trucks for years with a stick. I raced little sports cars with sticks. In high school, I owned a Comet with hi-pro 289, a 4-speed, and Hurst linkage.

    I've done my time, and enjoyed almost every minute.

    Today's automatic trannies (shaddup Pless.,, shaddup Skip <G>) are superior in almost every way.
    David G
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    "It was a Sunday morning and Goddard gave thanks that there were still places where one could worship in temples not made by human hands." -- L. F. Herreshoff (The Compleat Cruiser)

  14. #14
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    Default Re: The demise of the stick shift

    Quote Originally Posted by David G View Post
    Today's automatic trannies (shaddup Pless.,, shaddup Skip <G>) are superior in almost every way.
    Undeniable...

    ....but I'll miss it, nonetheless. When I'm driving SWMBO's Ford Escape, my wife laughs at me for keeping my hand on the shift lever
    "Reason and facts are sacrificed to opinion and myth. Demonstrable falsehoods are circulated and recycled as fact. Narrow minded opinion refuses to be subjected to thought and analysis. Too many now subject events to a prefabricated set of interpretations, usually provided by a biased media source. The myth is more comfortable than the often difficult search for truth."







  15. #15
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    Default Re: The demise of the stick shift

    Modern automatic gearboxes live or die by the quality of the software controlling them - I've had some epic battles with a Daf truck and its psycho 12 speed.

    Probably optimised for the stone flat Dutch roads but clueless in Wales.
    Creationists aren't mad - they're possessed of demons.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: The demise of the stick shift

    One of my complaints in the past about automatics was the hesitation, push on the gas and a bit later the car moves. While certainly improved, the early Boxsters had a Tiptronic automatic. But to me the hesitation was still there. Now the Porsches and Audis have moved to a PDK trans. I haven’t yet tried one but am told they will convert the die hard sticksters like me.

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    Default Re: The demise of the stick shift

    Quote Originally Posted by ron ll View Post
    One of my complaints in the past about automatics was the hesitation, push on the gas and a bit later the car moves. While certainly improved, the early Boxsters had a Tiptronic automatic. But to me the hesitation was still there. Now the Porsches and Audis have moved to a PDK trans. I haven’t yet tried one but am told they will convert the die hard sticksters like me.
    The DSG transmission shifted faster than a person can shift

    As for the theft deterrence of a stick, probably so. A friend had an old kickstart HD Sportster that was a bitch to start. He had to do a bunch of stuff in the exact order and in the right way to get the engine fire off. He told me he was okay with it because it meant no one could steal the bike
    Elect a clown expect a circus

  18. #18
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    Default Re: The demise of the stick shift

    Quote Originally Posted by P.I. Stazzer-Newt View Post
    Modern automatic gearboxes live or die by the quality of the software controlling them - I've had some epic battles with a Daf truck and its psycho 12 speed.

    Probably optimised for the stone flat Dutch roads but clueless in Wales.
    Well THAT'S your problem... driving around inside a Wale!!! Daft, indeed!!! <G>
    David G
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    "It was a Sunday morning and Goddard gave thanks that there were still places where one could worship in temples not made by human hands." -- L. F. Herreshoff (The Compleat Cruiser)

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    Default Re: The demise of the stick shift

    I remember my '55 Oldsmobile was the first automatic I actually liked. It seemed to know exactly when to down shift and was pretty quickly in the correct gear.

    I enjoyed shifting myself when I was younger, and for some time. I'm not sure that the automatics have not advanced to the point where they may get better gas mileage than manuals.
    How do we form a mutiny? Our new captain is navigating poorly.

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    Default Re: The demise of the stick shift

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Bow View Post
    ??????????????? Bizarre, so much time with both hands off the wheel.
    Last time I drove a "heavy", it was a Scania tractor unit I was deadheading for a friend, it had a 24 speed paddle shift. Right hand for up, left for down. A lever for fnr, another for crawl. Piece of cake and super smooth.
    I'm pretty comfortable with the 6 speed stick in my pickup, I'd be ok with an auto, but it wasnt available in the same price bracket.

    John Welsford
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    Default Re: The demise of the stick shift

    I owned a few trucks with twin sticks, main and auxilliary transmissions. My favorite was a Cummins powered B series Mack with a "married transmission" a 5 speed main and 4 speed auxiliary. That truck also had two speed rear axles, we used it with a low bed trailer to transport large, and wide tractors. Macks were unique that the auxilliary shifter was closest to the driver, unlike the Brown-Lipe style, which had the transmissions separated by individual driveshafts, the aux shifter was on the passenger side of the cab and they were a little dicey that the linkage would occasionally bind up at the most inopportune times. Factory set up on a Peterbilt used an oak block/bushing bolted to the bottom of the cab to support the shift rods which were about 10 feet long!
    There were no luxuries quite like power steering, Oh Joy!

    edit to add; I spent a lot of time steering with my left knee.

    Mack with a Cummins


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    Default Re: The demise of the stick shift

    When a young man living in the rural Adirondack mountains, I always drove a stick. It was especially helpful in snow.
    When I moved to Long Island, N.Y. at age 25, I soon found the stick to be an absolute nuisance in the rat-race traffic jams of suburbia. Now I'm once again living the rural life, but the automatic is fine with me.
    I was born on a wooden boat that I built myself.

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    Default Re: The demise of the stick shift

    For the next month and a half the old AT F-150 is my favorite ride.
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  24. #24
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    Default Re: The demise of the stick shift

    These are a real treat...
    Eaton Fuller twin splitter
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    Default Re: The demise of the stick shift

    Killing time at the local Toyota dealership this morning. (They really like it when you do that!). I saw a couple of these on the lot.



    Both had 6 speed manuals.

    My experience with paddle shifters varies greatly from vehicle to vehicle.

    In my company car (Ford Escape) I find that the shifting via paddles is vague. Merely a suggestion to the car to shift sometime in the near future. But that may have to do with my driving habits in that vehicle. (Very conservative) I do find that I get better mileage around town if I use the paddles but I think that I hold it in lower gears longer than the computer would and the tiny turbo is happier running at a little higher rpms.

    My GTI was a 6-speed and when I would take it in for service, I was always given a DSG model. That was a head-snapper on shifts! Way better than I could do it with my left foot.
    \"A little too tall, coulda used a few pounds...\"

  26. #26
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    Default Re: The demise of the stick shift

    talk about an assault on one's hearing
    Quote Originally Posted by Canoeyawl View Post

    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

  27. #27
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    Default Re: The demise of the stick shift

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Hadfield View Post
    ..We just had the supreme joy of parking a car in Medina Sidonia, Spain, most days for 3 weeks, with a manual transmission, usually into a tiny spot, parallel-parking, on VERY steep hills.

    I'm afraid that clutch is now well-used. In fact if the car was offered for sale tomorrow, I wouldn't buy it. Not after what I did to it.

    Dave
    Similar story, a mint new Toyota Yaris (900/1100 cc engine) that we hired in Lisbon (2011) and which we parked on a very steep hill beside our hotel in Oporto, Portugal. (The grade on Londonīs Highgate Hill is no match for it)

    'Between a rock and a hard place', we decide on driving it again only for the purpose of returning it at Oporto airport.

    Our soundest decision ever, as the clutch smoked to high heaven on that last, but demanding manoeuvre.

  28. #28
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    Default Re: The demise of the stick shift

    Quote Originally Posted by Beowolf View Post
    Killing time at the local Toyota dealership this morning.
    you live in michigan, are from michigan in fact, proudly so on both counts; yet you drive vw's and shop for toyotas?
    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

  29. #29
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    Default Re: The demise of the stick shift

    And while we are lamenting the demise of stick shift transmisions in trucks, does anyone remember the Wig-Wag?

    If that thing dropped down in front of you you might be in big trouble...


  30. #30
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    Default Re: The demise of the stick shift

    The emergence of many speed automatics has made me wonder, do the engines have very narrow torque peaks?

  31. #31
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    Default Re: The demise of the stick shift

    Quote Originally Posted by David W Pratt View Post
    The emergence of many speed automatics has made me wonder, do the engines have very narrow torque peaks?
    not necessarily; but they do have a very narrow efficiency range. . .
    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

  32. #32
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    Default Re: The demise of the stick shift

    My stick shift isn't going demising any time soon. I've driven automatics (no idea what a paddle shifter is) and I much prefer stick shift.
    "Mozart is the heart's touchstone" (Edwin Fischer)

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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by ron ll View Post
    Urban legend has it that stick shift cars won&rsquo;t get stolen because kids don&rsquo;t know how to drive them. Not sure how true that is but it helps us rationalize buying clutch pedals.


    During Super Storm Sandy my neighbors 20-something nephews were staying at her house while she was away. They asked me to come over and drive her car to higher ground, since neither knew how to drive a stick ( or, apparently, how to put a car in neutral and push.) College kids; they both attended Villanova.

    Kevin


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  34. #34
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by David W Pratt View Post
    The emergence of many speed automatics has made me wonder, do the engines have very narrow torque peaks?


    I would say yes, in part. Replacing some of the advantage of
    the larger displacement of older engines with gearing.


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    Default Re: The demise of the stick shift

    Quote Originally Posted by Norman Bernstein View Post
    I won't deny that stick shifts in cars are, to a great degree, anachronistic.... considering the performance of modern automatic transmissions.

    However, I should think that, in a community of people with a high interest in wooden boats, there would be an appreciation of stick shifts in very much the SAME sense as people appreciate wooden boats... an homage to an earlier era. After all, what's more anachronistic, in the sense of utility and service, than a wooden boat?
    I don't take my wooden canoes down class III rapids -- I have a Royalex canoe for that sort of thing. I like my wooden canoes better than to abuse them. If I had more than one car, I well might still have a stick shift, but driving in urban traffic takes all the fun out of manual shifting and I like my left leg better than to abuse it by driving with an anachronistic shifter in the stop and go traffic endemic to New York City and most points north and south on the eastern seaboard.

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