Readers Rides

Consider A Stick Shift For Your Next Car.

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By Mark Weisseg

This hotrod inspired a conversation which at the end bothered me. It turns out that in my entire family, only three of us can drive a stick shift.
Yours truly, my brother, and my 60 plus year old sister in law. None of the young guys or my niece have a clue. It’s not there fault I guess as the cars they grew up with were automatic transmissions. But, geez Louise, it is like riding a bike afterall.

As we all know it is difficult to find a car or even a light pick up truck that has a manual transmission. You hear about cars that have an eight speed automatic and such and that is all great, but here is how I learned.

Dad and I went and looked at a International Scout when I was barely 16 and legal. He swings the deal, does all the paperwork and leaves me standing there with the sales guy. It had a six cylinder with a three speed on the floor. The sales guy hands me the key and wishes me well because I never drove a car or truck with a stick shift. Needless to say, it was like Dad threw me in the deep end of the pool to teach me to swim. I got the truck home and by the time I did I understood how to do it. I never forgot as I own vehicles today that have manual shifts.

In the Classic Muscle Car world, you do limit your choices if all you can do is put the lever in “D”. I would hate to finally find my dream car such as a Hemi Superbird and discover it has a four speed. Oh well, back to the Kia. Really, it’s not that tough.
One of our European colleagues here reminds us constantly that it is the other way round over there. They more or less have to pass their driving test with a stick shift. It’s the norm. It also gives you more control in more ways than one.

So, rest assured that if I get an opportunity to buy a car like this one above and it’s a stick I can and will do it. You never forget how once you do it. And maybe on the flip side if you do buy one that is a stick and nobody else in the family can drive one, its you benefit. They cannot borrow it and beat it up!

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