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For fun driving on roads with low traffic volume, which transmission do you prefer?

  • Manual

    Votes: 30 83.3%
  • Automatic

    Votes: 6 16.7%
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2007 Sol NA (work in progress)
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And had to buy a new clutch a month later.
Same here! I learned that if you blew the clutch, YOU had to fix it! Last one I ever blew up, and that includes a ton of "acceleration testing" on the backroads of SoCal.
 

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I grew up learning how to drive with manual transmissions. Had to pass a hill climb test on an old Datsun 510. The examiner would put a cigarette butt on the rear tires and tells me if it flattens, I fail everything. I saw so many young men and women left that slope in tears.
I would say 80% of my car ownerships have been manuals. Autos have their place and today our family hauler is an automatic. The ZF8 speed in our BMW is so efficient and fast that it will out shift most manual drivers and get back to laid back smooth shifting.
Alas, in the context posted by @wspohn, there's nothing like having a good manual sports car as a partner to hit the a set of sinewy countryside black ribbon. It's not about outright performance, it is about driving experience and connection. Mazda coins it "Jinba Ittai". I feel an automatic takes a significant aspect of that human/car interaction away. I still revel at the pleasure of heel 'n toe shifting at every chance I get. For a weekend pleasure vehicle I wouldn't consider automatics especially with the Kappa's 4-speed auto. Looking at used sports cars values, the manual versions usually command higher prices ie. Ferraris, 911s, M3 etc. I believe Porsche just came out with a commitment to keep producing manual versions of their 911s as their buyer demographics support it.

For me, this seemingly arcane form of driving is a proverbial middle finger to an era of sedentary cuckolded automotive society.
our kappas have a zf 5spd automatic.they have i-drive setting for twisties,lots of fun to be had.
 

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Well I hit a snag. The windshield wipers won’t come off. Took off cap and the nut, but wipers are really stuck.
I didn't have any trouble with driving in England with a stick...except the roundabouts which made me have to really think about where I was going and where I wanted to come out (nothing to do with which trans I had).

Country roundabouts were nothing compared to negotiating the circle at the Arc de Triomphe, a 12 lane traffic circle where cars entering the circle have the right-of-way and those in the circle must yield. Parisian drivers navigate the circle like a comet circling the sun — making a parabola. And they sense any hesitancy on the part of a tourist and take advantage of it with horns blaring, whether they are in the right or not. Turin at rush hour is supposed to be bad (every male driver seems to think their manhood depends on getting into a corner first) but it was nothing compared to Paris.

As it turned out I didn't have any problems, just thought it would be better to learn one new thing at a time.

I haven't driven in Paris, but Rome was pretty entertaining. Narrow streets with illegible signs that seem to date back to the Romans, and three cars plus a couple of scooters using a two-lane road. We ended up navigating out of the city with a compass insteadof a map.

Problem is that every Italian man thinks their last name is Andretti and that POS Fiat they are driving is actually a Ferrari in disguise.
Strange, I have found that Italians tend to be pretty good drivers, and the secret to driving there seems to be to understand and practice the giving of way to faster drivers. Most of the Italians that i know that have driven here are terrified of the un-disciplined and relatively incompetent drivers that proliferate in the US.
 

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Umm, that would be a 5-speed automatic.
. . . . . . . . . . . . :cool: . . . . . . . . . . . .
There's 1-4 plus "D" for highway driving.
What the Kappa has 5spd automatics? The gear lever D4IL led me to believe it was 4spd slushbox. I've been duped! If I only knew back then I would've........ still pass. :LOL:

our kappas have a zf 5spd automatic.they have i-drive setting for twisties,lots of fun to be had.
The Kappa autos are not by ZF. A bit of search indicates the automatic is a GM sourced unit. This 5L40E is used in CTS, SRX and STS to name a few. It's also found in BMW e46 and the Z3.
 

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Kappa’s are 5 speed automatics! In year of manufacture the automatic kappas outsold the manuals. Therefore for the stick shifty enthusiasts find it harder to find available used cars.
This is very true! Just went on the hunt for my second Sol at the beginning of the year.
Automatics were 2-1 available.
I got luck and found my stick (thinking at the time that I can actually drive a stick in LA during the pandemic). Things are quickly coming back now but I still love my manual. There is nothing like rowing through the gears, heel to toe.
I hope to have her long enough to show my 6 year old son how it’s done. Then he can be the only kid in his school that knows how...
;)
 

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I haven't driven in Paris, but Rome was pretty entertaining. Narrow streets with illegible signs that seem to date back to the Romans, and three cars plus a couple of scooters using a two-lane road. We ended up navigating out of the city with a compass insteadof a map.
Strange, I have found that Italians tend to be pretty good drivers, and the secret to driving there seems to be to understand and practice the giving of way to faster drivers. Most of the Italians that i know that have driven here are terrified of the un-disciplined and relatively incompetent drivers that proliferate in the US.
I've driven in a Fiat Panda manual tranny around Tuscany. Despite driving the underpowered Panda, I even enjoyed rowing its limp wristed shifter while negotiating bends after bends. But driving in Florence during rush hour was a butt-clenching exercise. I think the key to driving is being assertive and not be afraid to use the horn. Their view of the horn is a communication device ("Hey I'm here!" or "Thank you") whereas in North America, it is usually denoted as aggressive or an invite to getting one's head blown off.
 

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I was driving tractors at about age 11 or so. My mom gave my first and only lesson. It lasted about 5 minutes, that is the clutch, put it in second gear, slowly let the clutch out and that is when she stepped of of the back and let me on my own. I did have 140 acers to practice on.
When it was time to get first cars for my kids they got manuals. They learned real quick and bought sticks for themselves later on.
When I bought my Firebird the best one I could find in my budget was an automatic. It got converted to a 5 speed.
I didn't even consider an auto when looking for my Solstice.
For me I just feel more like I'm one with the car with a manual. I have had rental cars with paddle shift. It is a little better than just putting it in drive but no where near a manual transmission.
 

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I was driving tractors at about age 11 or so. My mom gave my first and only lesson. It lasted about 5 minutes, that is the clutch, put it in second gear, slowly let the clutch out and that is when she stepped of of the back and let me on my own. I did have 140 acers to practice on.
When it was time to get first cars for my kids they got manuals. They learned real quick and bought sticks for themselves later on.
When I bought my Firebird the best one I could find in my budget was an automatic. It got converted to a 5 speed.
I didn't even consider an auto when looking for my Solstice.
For me I just feel more like I'm one with the car with a manual. I have had rental cars with paddle shift. It is a little better than just putting it in drive but no where near a manual transmission.
Same as me a 1938 Ford Ferguson tractor. 3 speed low for plowing. 2nd for running around in the field and 3rd for use on the road. Throttle was hand operated
 

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When I learned to drive and parallel park I learned on a stick in SAN FRANCISCO. You got good real fast or you took the bus.
 
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I love getting a heel-toe right or hitting all gears on a nice straight blast, or even popping down 1 gear before a corner. The phyiscality of doing the pedal/shifter/steering ballet is a great feeling.
My wife has a "paddle shifter" Honda (a real automatic with choose-your-own-adventure flappy paddles) and that's sure better than not having them, it helps me when I drive her car a bit. I've not driven a real solid state or PDK kind of car. But I imagine with that the goal is the fastest lap time, not engaging all your senses. It's purpose built race car tech trickled down to the street. Paddles certainly have their place, but its for competition not pleasure.
Lastly, I'm all for the electric car revolution, but I will miss shifting it myself a lot more than even the V8 noise of my TA I think.
 

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Discussion Starter #32
On the Italian thing, I watched the traffic police walking a beat in Rome, where cars park all over the place backwards, blocking access etc. For some reason they were only ticketing the cars with non-Italian licence plates....another revenue stream, I expect.
 

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2008 Pontiac Solstice GXP
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I took my drivers test in a 1989 Dodge Daytona ES Turbo which had a manual transmission. My test consisted of taking a right turn out of the parking lot, then taking a right turn 100 feet down the road, then taking the next right turn and then taking another right turn back into the parking lot. I read the "book" for the written portion of the test on my way to take the test.

My father was the director of operations for Avis Lube (fast oil change) in Connecticut. Every summer guess what I had the joy of doing? working at one of the stores. I got real good at 1st gear in all kinds of different brands and model of cars and almost all oil change places are an up hill slope to pull the car into the bay (keeps water out), people in line wouldn't exactly leave a lot of space between them and the car in front of them either.
 

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I had a first time "Meet the girlfriend's parents" moment. They invited me to go for dinner. When I arrived at their home, her dad tossed me the keys to the manual Nissan and said "Why don't you drive us into town". That's a lot of trust placed on a lanky scrawny teenager that just had his licence few months prior! She's now my wife of 17 years. :) And yes, she can drive manual too.

I'm debating whether to each my kids to drive manual. I don't know if this skill is needed nor appreciated in the automotive society going forward. And quite frankly I am not sure if I have the patience.... :cautious:
 

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Discussion Starter #35
One other advantage of the manual is that you can bump start it if your battery gets too low to start it. Ask me how I know this!

(Note for completists - yes you can if the car is an early automatic with a rear pump. IIRC the Chrysler Torqueflite would do this).
 

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I have taught a few people how to drive standard, both guys and gals. The ladies I have taught were more difficult then the males, not sure why... :oops:
What I have found is sitting down with a pen and paper and sketching out the actual mechanics of what is happening before ever driving a manual car helps, A LOT. Then getting the "student" familiar with what the clutch grabbing feels like. I do this by leaving the e-brake on (making sure there is nothing within 100 yards of the car in any direction) having them put the car into 1st gear and slowly let the clutch up until it starts to grab and then pushing the clutch back in. I then have them do this by letting the clutch out to fast. Then moving to pressing the gas down a little as the clutch grabs, leaving the e-brake on. I will then surprise them and lower the e-brake when they are doing this.

1st and reverse are the hardest 2 gears, all the rest are easy.

The surprise method works because they are not thinking about the vehicle moving and only what is happening and what the car feels like. which is what they should be concentrating on when learning. once they get comfortable with the feel of the clutch grabbing is when I spring the e-brake thing on them.It only takes about 30 minutes to teach and then another 30 minutes of practice getting the car moving from a stop.

Also, all knowledge is important, doesn't matter if it would be considered "useless". knowing how to drive a standard allows a person to jump into an old car, or even a farm tractor and be able to operate the thing if the need should arise.
 

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"bump starts" will only work if the battery has some kind of a charge on it. There has to be enough juice to create the field in the alternator. It is also easier to bump start a car in reverse then it is going forward. You can do it without having the get the car rolling as fast. It can be done in as little as 15-20 feet. And don't forget to turn the key to the "run" position!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #38
And if you have cars like many of mine, you don't even need a hill - you just grab the crank that fits into the dog on the crankshaft bolt and turn it over by hand with the ignition on.. None of the old ones have alternators of course - those came later.
 

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I found driving the (Solstice) automatic quite confusing in the beginng. No idea what to do best when waiting at a light (go to park?) or a bridge. Also the various letters and numbers on the shifter where difficult to understand. Read-up on it frequently but do not know the technical effect of shifter setting 4, I and L by hard. Keep forgetting it.

I guess NOW is a good time to read-up on it again . . . :)

FOURTH (4): This position is also used for normal driving. However, it reduces vehicle speed more than DRIVE (D) without using your brakes. You might choose FOURTH (4) instead of DRIVE (D) when driving on hilly, winding roads and when going down a steep hill.

INTERMEDIATE (I): This position is also used for normal driving. However, it reduces the vehicle’s speed without using your brakes, for slight downgrades where the vehicle would otherwise accelerate due to steepness of grade. If constant upshifting or downshifting occurs while driving on steep hills, this position can be used to prevent repetitive types of shifts. You might choose INTERMEDIATE (I) instead of DRIVE (D) when driving on hilly and winding roads.

LOW (L): This position reduces vehicle speed more than INTERMEDIATE (I) without using your brakes. You can use it on very steep hills, or in deep snow or mud. If the shift lever is put in LOW (L), the transmission will not shift into low gear until the vehicle is going slowly enough
 

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with the right shifter and the right trans programing & building I want a automatic.( my race car's were auto's& I built trans too as well as the rest of them) std's are fun for a while. even with my now sorta screwed up ankle I enjoy the stick.Ive never driven the auto solstice, not sure I would like it...but I need it. and I have possiably the best auto trans guy in the world as a friend so..reprogramming should be no issue. he reprogramed anothers friend's gm diesel truck to have an extra gear....I havent asked if the trans in the solstice can have that done....I 1 might be disappointed or worse....have to fins another car just like this one with a auto....and turbo. and as it stands right now I wish I hadent read this thread.
 
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