Where Have All the Stick Shifts Gone?

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by El Tele Lobo, Apr 8, 2019.

  1. perttime

    perttime Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,807
    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2014
    Location:
    Finland
    I've only driven an automatic a couple of times. No mishaps but my driving on small streets and crossroads must have been a sight. I remember thinking that I should tie my left foot to the seat.
     
    El Tele Lobo likes this.
  2. Whatizitman

    Whatizitman Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,336
    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2018
    Location:
    WV
    As another poster said, autos have lower gears you can use for the same purpose. But it just ain't the same. I like that third pedal.

    Sadly, my kids will likely never get that experience - either for fun, or just to be able to have that skill. That's to say nothing of the actual decrease of young people learning to drive, as well as the possibility of driverless cars in the not so near future. The times they are a'changin'.

    I learned to drive a stick on my BIL's farm. It was very hilly with heavily rutted/rocky roads. He had a 1/2 ton Chevy. Even in 2wd, the L (granny gear) was a gawdsend navigating down the steeps. It forced me to know how to drive the tranny, and not just rely on brakes and gas. By the time I got my learner's permit and started driving on pavement, I already had all that worked out.

    My dad grew up on a ranch back in the 30/40s, and would actually encourage me to lug the engine in higher gears to keep the RPMs and torque managed down while towing or keeping from getting stuck. I would rather not break a crankshaft or throw a rod, myself. But I've seen it work. In the least bit, I learned some creative ways to keep from getting stuck and/or get unstuck, as well as dealing with slippery conditions. My wife has learned to trust me almost without question once we leave pavement or drive in snow.

    My kids are both driving now, and I constantly worry about them, as I feel they just don't get enough experience with changing conditions and weird situations to know how to navigate them if/when they do occur. What if they are stranded somewhere with no cel reception, and all they have available is a manual?
     
    voodoostation and Toto'sDad like this.
  3. imwjl

    imwjl Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    7,499
    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2007
    Location:
    My mom's basement.
    It reads like you are making a common mistake where people try to cut or put everything in two when there are gaps between. You might also be forgetting that average doesn’t mean 1/2 way or the middle of something.

    Semi-autonomous if not autonomous driving is very much here in the current fleet being sold. It’s wonderful stuff if you value saving lives, preventing injury and cutting the big problem that’s automobile accidents.

    Where do you get or think we’re having a decay of human functionality? The world has been on an amazing path of getting richer, safer and more productive. Of course that doesn’t mean every single person but that’s what’s going on overall.

    With 3 kids in fly over country public schools, and personal involvement in an institution with 600+ kids in programs I could not disagree more on your first point. Most of those kids are doing amazing things. A lot of things beyond my baby boomer generation. In the past week I marveled at how some neighborhood kids have welding skills no one had when I was in high school the same time I was proud of how much of my daughter’s class also tested at elite levels against the whole world.

    Back to cars. I was happy to eat my words and give up my stick obsession in my mid-50s. I really appreciate how good my contemporary all wheel drive with semi-autonomous safety system car is. I sated earlier how it and my wife’s still have manual control where you really want it. The rest of the time I love the efficiency, safety, and every penny paid for hearing the integrated premium sound system over an engine shifting. The overall reliability is maybe the fool proof you mention but efficiency, emissions and reliability are the real reasons.

    My brother has same as one of our cars but with 6 speed manual transmission. He can only beat the CVT fuel economy by trying really hard at some higher speeds. For once instance in traffic together he was shifting dozens of times while I had the luxury of cameras and computers doing the stopping and starting. He’s got regrets.
     
  4. Whatizitman

    Whatizitman Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,336
    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2018
    Location:
    WV
    I would prefer it. Even on a huge 4wd pickup. Probably a bit of nostalgia is saying that. But man oh man I miss driving a truck with a stick.
     
    voodoostation and El Tele Lobo like this.
  5. otterhound

    otterhound Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    7,646
    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2008
    Location:
    Manheim Pa.
    The USA is the only market where you see this phenomenon .
    As an aside , German autos still have cigarette lighters and ashtrays , not voltage portals and storage areas .
     
    magicfingers99 likes this.
  6. Whatizitman

    Whatizitman Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,336
    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2018
    Location:
    WV
    I will concede on the point of maximization and safety. The hyper-practical one of the duo, my wife, told me early on in the marriage that as long as kids were required to be in safety seats, automatic allowed for a driving parent to reach back and grab whatever was about to go into the toddler's mouth. Pretty tough to do a heimlich on a kid in the backseat, and perhaps not enough time to pull over. She learned to trust my driving. I learned to trust her judgment on safety on practicality. We only have autos in the family now, and nothing I can say will change that, though I have tried. We spent plenty of our early years in cars and trucks she couldn't drive, as we were too poor to replace my truck and vw bus w/manual. She ain't having none of that now.
     
  7. DuckDodgers

    DuckDodgers Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    290
    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2015
    Location:
    Dee-troit City
    I used to tout the advantages of a manual transmission until I had a ten mile commute on surface streets during rush hour. Hello, automatic! As my friend Jeff told me, face it, it shifts better than you can. This was hammered home by my last car, a dual clutch auto Focus (Just like Formula 1 cars!) and the Subaru I just bought. The CVT in the Subaru is amazingly smooth- no shifts at all, no hesitation. And if you like, you can put it in manual mode and play race car driver ;-)

    Manual transmissions can be fun, true. Motorcycles can be more fun than scooters for that reason. But technology has given us better options. No one misses manual oiling buttons on motorcycles, or window cranks and manual chokes on cars.
     
  8. Recce

    Recce Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,420
    Joined:
    May 3, 2016
    Location:
    Northern Alabama
    I learned how to drive on a stick and drove one through college. When I graduated I bought a 1979 Pontiac Gran Prix with an automatic transmission. I have had one stick shift car since then for about two years thirty years ago. Sticks are too much like work. I am never looking back.
     
  9. JazzboxBlues

    JazzboxBlues Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,252
    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2014
    Location:
    Crook County IL
    Unfortunately manual transmission enthusiasts are a dying breed. I’ll have a car with one hopefully for the rest of my days. I’m currently scheming my next build. A 55-57 Chevy 1/2 truck with C4 underpinnings.
     
    voodoostation likes this.
  10. chris m.

    chris m. Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    6,748
    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2003
    Location:
    Santa Barbara, California
    I have driven both manual and auto on ridiculously steep, narrow, rutted dirt roads out on Santa Cruz Island. Auto is better, imo. You never have those moments of having the clutch in while shifting on a downhill or uphill where you gotta get it just right or there could be serious consequences. There is always a connection of wheels to engine. You can still downshift to control speed, but there’s no drama. Your left foot is freed up to operate brake at same time your right modulates accelerator in certain situations. Also, modern four wheel drives like our Lexus SUV often come with a downhill acceleration control switch. You get up to the speed you want, push the button, and the vehicle automatically maintains that speed. This allows focus on steering, watching for holes and washouts, etc. Manual transmissions have stayed the same, for better or worse, but meanwhile automatics have evolved quite dramatically. In the off-road environment it also means almost anyone can handle it. I don’t need to fear for my life as much if a relatively inexperienced driver takes a spell in the driver’s seat.
     
  11. Whatizitman

    Whatizitman Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,336
    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2018
    Location:
    WV
    Oooh I just remembered something that irks the hell out of me. Not necessarily an auto tranny thing, but the inevitable result of the "car should do the driving" design making automatic ubiquitous.

    So, I drive Hondas. Luv them to death. Except for the stupid traction control thing. I would like to find the person or committee responsible for that little 'addition', and take out my anger in the most vile and vicious manner.

    So, as I gather, the traction control is always on, and has to be manually turned off. At least that's what I think. How do I know? Because it always kicks in at the exact time I should be reaching to turn it off. In every circumstance it has kicked in it has done the exact opposite of what I am trying to get my car to do.

    In snow/ice, mud, loose dirt/gravel, when you are going uphill and traction is down, you need momentum to work in your favor. These stupid traction control things take that out of the equation. My 2012 Civic stopped dead on a hill in a foot of snow, not because of loss of traction, but loss of momentum. The more gas I gave, it seemed the more the tires would slow. The traction control kept rpms low to keep the wheels from spinning, but the car just bogged down to a standstill. I had to back up to get down the hill, and go another way. I know for a fact I would have made it without it. My bad for failing to read my manual about the traction control. I got where I needed to go another way. Fast forward to my 2015 Accord, same thing happened on a very long steep and rutted unpaved driveway. I remembered something about the traction control, and pushed the button. The car instantly got the rpms up, tires spun a little, and I just did WHAT I ALWAYS DO WHEN TIRES SPIN, and moved the wheel a bit to get some bite. Got up the hill no problem. I would had to back down the hill if I left that stupid traction control on. Who the hell thought this $hi+ up?!
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2019
    El Tele Lobo likes this.
  12. blowtorch

    blowtorch Telefied Ad Free Member

    Posts:
    26,974
    Joined:
    May 2, 2003
    Location:
    Wisco
    Apologies if this has been posted
     
    flathd likes this.
  13. imwjl

    imwjl Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    7,499
    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2007
    Location:
    My mom's basement.
    Where are you reading or traveling to verify that? There are small differences such as the lighters. There are some small markets where you can see a Suzuki or Hyundai without catalytic converter or blanks for the airbags but on the whole the car makers and trade people have done a lot to get sameness across products.

    There are also small scale exceptions but they are a tiny part of the auto industry that's a world wide system. As an example, there are some very small Asian and often right side steering wheel vehicles that have this simplicity. On our recent dive trip the local rental agency we use admitted their refreshed fleet can still guarantee a right side steering wheel but the cars are now versions of Korean, Japanese and French cars sold all over. Gone were the somewhat quirky little vehicles and the except for wheel, pedals and levers, the Kia looked just like one you'd get at a US dealer or rental agent.

    For some travel I've done what they call standard, compact, etc shifts a size or two smaller than what we're used to in the USA. Unless it's a really small vehicle or right hand drive place where you see the Hyundai H1 vans and Japanese equivalents stuff is very much the same.
     
  14. magicfingers99

    magicfingers99 Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,376
    Joined:
    May 7, 2015
    Location:
    atlanta
    as the media has reported over and over, most millenials are shiftless. They just aren't geared up for modern life. They prefer an automatic approach to motion, but it restricts them to the slow lane. course the view is better if you like looking at the back of a schoolbus following a garbage truck following a guy with a volvo station wagon towing a boat, behind a guy on a moped.
     
    voodoostation likes this.
  15. Whatizitman

    Whatizitman Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,336
    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2018
    Location:
    WV
    Anti-texting device, too, one would think.
     
  16. Sconnie

    Sconnie Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    27
    Posts:
    1,332
    Joined:
    May 1, 2017
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    I'm glad I got an Impreza with a 5-speed when I did. Now they're being discontinued on that model as well, only WRX for Subaru moving forward. A Toyota Tacoma can still come with one I think, for the time being.

    I've driven maybe 3 automatic transmissions I like, and most weren't new. The computers are getting too complicated and over-involved, and they can't see the road ahead to know when to shift to maximize efficiency, everything about an automatic transmission is reactive, manuals are proactive.

    I should have never gotten rid of my '90 Pathfinder...
     
  17. Whatizitman

    Whatizitman Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,336
    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2018
    Location:
    WV
    I think once Tacomas and 4-Runners make the jump to the 21st century, the world will collapse as we know it. Other than being Toyotas, the only reasons I would buy a taco or a 4-runner is their outdated design. But as much as I would love to have either, I have no need for either. That's not without trying to arrange my life at times in a way to need them. but let's just say I value my marriage more. That and the fact in terms of price and gas, cost at least twice as much as my Accord, a car I actually use to its full design extent nearly everyday,

    Oh but a ladder frame and stick.... *swoon*
     
    voodoostation and El Tele Lobo like this.
  18. unixfish

    unixfish Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    9,437
    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2013
    Location:
    Northeast Ohio, USA
    I agree. I would always turn traction control off in snowy conditions for the very reasons you mention here. I have a right foot - I know how to use it. I can feel when the wheels are slipping, and I understand the difference between sligh slip to keep momentum, and excessive spin that kills momentum. Sometimes you need a bit of slip to keep moving.

    My 2014 VW does not have a button that allows you to turn traction control off. This sucks in the snow.

    The automatic in my wife's 2018 CX-5 is not too bad. The 2003 ES300 was ALWAYS over-thinking, and doing something that was contrary to what I wanted. Drove me nuts (yeah, I get that was a short drive, but...)

    VW still offers a manual in good-driving cars, but sometimes you need to keep to a base model to get one (Jetta) - I think the Golf still has them across the range.

    Mazda still offers a manual in good-driving cars, but you need to keep to a base model on the Mazda6; the Mazda3 still offers a manual in uplevel models.

    I am interested in good driving dynamics and a manual - so my options are limited.
     
    Whatizitman likes this.
  19. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Age:
    60
    Posts:
    17,273
    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2010
    Location:
    Maine
    Good question!

    The only answer I can think of is because it's vintage and has a four speed, or because it's modern and 'spensive and has a six speed.

    I had an old Austin America which is almost the same as the original Mini.
    Way under powered with the 1100cc MG midget motor but no need to slow down for curves...

    I've actually had lots of four speed cars and only one five speed, guess that makes me old.
    Some cars never had an automatic option like the Beetle. Had a '67 that could almost do 100mph and put down six feet of rubber with both tires if I side stepped the clutch.
    The Super Beetle got an auto trans option but AFAIK before that it was only a four speed car.
     
  20. Marcus M B

    Marcus M B TDPRI Member

    Age:
    44
    Posts:
    56
    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2017
    Location:
    London, England
    I have manual window cranks too! And my (6 year old) daughter was seriously impressed when I made the window disappear. And the handbrake is even more fun....This is real 1950s technology in action, although probably not worth as much as the blackguards you see on the other threads.
     
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.


  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.