Does Anyone Still Drive a Standard Gear Shift

The first car I owned was a Datsun 1200 four on the floor standard gear shift.   I learned to drive on a 56 Chevy with the gear shift on the steering wheel. I am wondering if anyone still drives a standard gear shift.  Perhaps sports cars or classic cars, but other than that?  

Yes, but I’m 58.

First car was a 1966 Mustang three-speed that I drove for about eight years (classic but aging and hardly sporty — if it ever was — by the time it was handed over for my use), then onto a 1990 Civic manual and now a 2009 Civic manual. It’s muscle memory, and I just prefer the engagement while driving. Also, it’s something of a theft deterrent these days.

The first car I had use of was a 1970 Pinto wagon my dad bought for a dollar in 1980. I helped him fix it up. I say helped admitting that I didn't know a ****ing thing about cars, but that is how I learned. I grew up north of Syracuse so that is also how I learned to drive in snow.

I still can but haven't owned such a car in about 25 years. My wife and I share a car and she's never wanted to drive stick.

Both Tabby and I can.  Her next to last car was a stick (Subaru).  When I bought a VW in 2014 I asked for stick, but couldn't get it.

PeterWick said:

My wife and I share a car and she's never wanted to drive stick.

Happily, my wife’s first car was an old MG, and shortly after we met she bought a used BMW 2002 that lasted a few years before we shared the ’90 Civic, so count her as a yes to Robert’s question, too.

I remember Pintos but not the wagon, so I just had to look it up.

DaveSchmidt said:

I remember Pintos but not the wagon, so I just had to look it up.

Ours was some kind of greenish color but not a woodie.

Stick shifts were considered better in the snow so as to have better wheel control.   My little 4 cylinder, four on the floor gear shift Datsun was very good in the snow.  Snow tires were needed.   And if all else failed, it was easy to push.   

My first car was a ‘74 pinto. Manual. 
I have a manual Jeep now that I still drive.

My pinto was the easiest car to work on, sit on the wheel well and work. No air conditioning. Drove it around for years in Brooklyn then gave it to a kid that pumped gas at the gas station on fort Hamilton pkwy. I loved the car.

My first car was a '94 Toyota Celica - I learned how to drive stick by driving/lurching it home from the dealership! Sadly, we now have an automatic but I dream of having a stick shift again someday. 

I love my 2007 Mazda6 with a stick, it makes driving what would be a rather ordinary car a little bit more interesting.  I bought the car with 100k miles on it and 100k miles later the clutch and gearbox are still going strong.  Trying to hang onto it until the car market goes back to "normal."

We've had 2 automatic cars in the past, a 1999 Taurus that ate its transmission at 90k($2500 repair estimate) miles and a 2002 Saab that ate its transmission at 130k($4000 repair estimate).  Both cars had regular service from the dealerships before we bought them, including trans fluid changes and I continued to stick to the schedule, but it clearly didn't do much good. Unless I can get a >100k mile warranty on the transmission, I'll avoid autos as best I can.  

first car was a 1967-ish? Peugot 404 with a 4-speed on the column. Drove manuals until somewhere in the mid-90's when I finally got lazy.

Learned to do the shifting part so my HS boyfriend could drive with his arm around me in his '57 Chevy. All my cars were stick until husband bought an automatic SUV in 2002. 

My first car was a '67 Mustang, followed by a '75 Firebird, then an '83 Mazda RX7, trying to break the habit of keeping cars forever we leased a '95 BMW, and my last stick was a 2000 Audi TT that I sold in 2010. I miss driving a stick, but--until I had the all-wheel Audi-- coming uphill in the snow and hitting a stoplight on our local streets could be a challenge.

Yes to krnl!  The real challenge of your stick shift driving skill was to have to start upward from a stop on a steep hill.  A successful quick brake/clutch release and start in first and quick shift to second was a thing of beauty.  

Stop-and-go traffic jams were a pain in the butt and sometimes your clutch pushing leg.  

Have a 6 speed manual Saab V6 Aero convertible; I’ll drive it until one of us gives out. It’s a dream! New cars are basically computers with wheels; so boring!

My first car was a manual Pinto Pony wagon too! Baby blue, about 1980. I was very discouraged learning to drive it for the first few days (constant stalling), but soon got the hang of it. Even a Pinto wagon can feel cool if you're shifting gears! Haven't had a manual in years (except the occasional European rental).

Bought a used 1978 Datsun F10 (fire red) w/ stick.  Did not know how do drive a stick at the time, but didn’t stop me from buying. I was 22 and knew everything; how difficult could it be? About 3 hrs after I picked it up, the guy I bought it from spotted me 3 blocks away from his house. Asked me if I needed help and I gladly accepted it. He drove me to my place. I soon learned how to drive it, although whoever replaced the gear box put it in backwards so shifting was backwards as well. Car lasted me about year (with many unrelated repairs). It was a good learning experience to drive a stick, but the car was a real lemon otherwise. 

Simone had a stick in Germany.  She likes the control you have with it.  She would drive around 140mph on the autobahn.  You hardly feel it though on a straight highway.

I always think I would need it if I ever went on the Amazing Race.

We acquired a 2008 VW Rabbit in the fall and I am still trying to get my 18YO kid in it since it was bought for them. My 11YO wants it as she thinks the whole shifting gears thing is fun!

I learned when I bought my first new car -- '87 Honda Civic CRX.  I've had a couple of manual transmission cars since, but none in the last 20 years.  It's very hard to find a car with a manual these days.  And it turns out automatic transmissions are now so efficient they generally get better gas mileage than a manual.  The only time I use this particular skill is if we rent a car in Europe.  Generally the cost of an automatic in a rental is about 50% higher.  So it's good to be able to drive a stick.  Last time I did was in Iceland last summer.

My son learned to drive a manual on my sister's car right after he got his license.  And that skill got him a job when he was at school in Pittsburgh.  A valet parking company hired him after he answered one question -- "can you drive a stick shift?" grin

That's how he met Jerome Bettis and Weird Al Yankovic, and discovered that Gregory Polanco drives a tricked-out Range Rover.

Learned on various boyfriends' cars way back in the day (MG, not so good, got stuck in a busy intersection; VW very tolerant and easy).  Had a 1975 Peugeot (diesel) for 10 years or so.  I loved that car and would have kept it forever but regrettably couldn't afford unrelated repairs (or find a mechanic for it in western Mass).  Later, a 1983 Tercel, that we should have kept for our kids to learn on, but who knew they would be teens so soon??  Agree that it's a good theft deterrent.

Like deco, Son 2 bought a stick without ever having driven one, a 2015 Mini, orange, he loved it.  (Why a stick, when he was living in South Philly and had a bad knee??)  Then he kept asking me by phone how to learn, and i couldn't remember.  When i finally got a chance to drive it he said, mom, you're better at this than i am - very gratifying!    Sadly, it was totalled when the Schuylkill flooded last August, so awaiting the next chapter.

My first car was not a stick shift but it was something most guys drooled over. A 1965 Ford Mustang British Racing Green fast back four on the floor. The worst car to take to Colorado but I did (edited REAR wheel drive lol). When that died (weakest **** transmission) I then once I was back in NY got an original stick shift VW beetle. 1971 (bought in 1976). Loved it. with the engine in the back and stick I never thought about getting snow tires. Flash forward: my last car that I just gave up due to leaks and high mileage was my 2004 (bought used) Subaru Outback Wagon Stick Loved it. Spouse never wanted to learn to drive it but taught the son how to. And the spouse did manage in Europe as well in the 80's but I was the primary driver over there. LOL!

My dad had a Dodge Neon manual shift when I was learning to drive, so I was fortunate to have the chance to learn stick. I had a used Ford Bronco II at the end of high school and into the first year of college, but I cracked the engine block so maybe I didn't learn as well as I thought. Somehow I managed to sell it for more than $0.

Didn't have my own car for long time after that since I came out to NYC after college. Have a car now of course that I'm in the suburbs, but we're a one-car family and my spouse doesn't drive stick. Did find an ability to drive stick useful several years back when we rented a car in Ireland though. Managed to not kill the engine on that one ;-)

Also, regarding Datsuns, when I was maybe 4 I was playing in my dad's car after we'd parked and all the grown ups had gone inside. I must have released the parking break, as next thing I know it's rolling down the hill, bang, into my grandmother's car at the bottom of the drive. Thankfully they don't look that far back when examining your driving record for insurance.

locations for on the wheel gear shift.  Up and back-reverse.   Down and back-first.  Up and away-second gear.  Down and away- third.    There was good logic to this scheme so you do not hit reverse by accident.  

In my yard now.  Borg Warner T-18 4 speed manual feeding a New Process 205 transfer case.  You all know who actually manufactured your gearboxes, don't you?

I don't have a pic of the family truck, but this is close enough.

as a teen in the '70s I drove one of these 1962 F350 dump trucks. Father was a landscaper.

First car was a 53 Ford, 3 on the column.

About 2 months ago, I drove a stick shift for the first time in maybe 20 years. It didn't go as well as I would have hoped but I got it to its destination, about 15 miles.

mjc said:

(MG, not so good, got stuck in a busy intersection; VW very tolerant and easy).

Ha! My wife’s high school MG would leave her in the lurch, too. Temperamental imports.

Sadly, it was totalled when the Schuylkill flooded last August, so awaiting the next chapter.

That’s rough. And I can only imagine what South Philly did to his knee, with stop signs every tiny block. One nice thing about shifting, though, is that it distracts you from just sitting behind the wheel stewing about all the surburban drivers clogging the city’s streets.

wendy said:

Loved it. with the engine in the back and stick I never thought about getting snow tires.

There was nothing like my buddy’s Bug for doing doughnuts in an empty parking lot packed with snow.

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