- Source: New Retro Wave

Settling An Age Old Fight

4w ago


I'm a millennial. Yeahp, the perfect way to start an article that makes an argument for a subject which is classically contested by an older market. But let me continue, I'm a millennial who grew up in a family of older, better, extremely beautiful and well designed cars. There have been quite a few roll through our garage in the years which set a tone for my current "car" personality today. These cars all quite obviously have manual gearboxes. Not just manual gearboxes but fun manual gearboxes. It's worth mentioning I love a manual vehicle, more specifically an older manual vehicle.

That's where the good news today ends, because I don't think manual gearboxes are good anymore.

That's where the good news today ends, because I don't think manual gearboxes are good anymore. It's not because they're any different, in most cases they aren't all that different from age old predecessors (with the omit-ion of manual gearboxes which no longer function from that period). And the problem is nowadays cars are just way too fast to technically handle a gearbox which can't shift quicker then a tenth of a second, unless we start manufacturing cars like we did again in the 80s that is.

I'll tell you why this has all come about. Last night I went to a friend's 40th birthday. When you're a young person at an older person's birthday party you normally have to make conversation with older people as well, otherwise you just look a bit pathetic. Anyway after all of the normal questionnaires and formalities about work and life, the conversation turned to cars. Specifically because the house which the event was being held at had the owners 1990 Rolls-Royce Silver Spur sitting at the front door, obviously a display showing his guests how fantastic his taste in vehicle was.

I can't remember why but the conversation, which amounted to three 40+ year olds on one late 20 year old (being me), turned to an old Rolls-Royce vs one of the newer cars. A question I rebuked simply because I strongly believe the newer BMW based Rolls-Royces are a hell of a lot more comfortable than the older ones. The only actual practical reason you'd purchase a Rolls-Royce of course is comfort. The conversation then turned to Ferrari's, where we met with agreement. An older Ferrari is much better looking and much more fun to drive than a newer one. That is until one of the gentleman added in "and the older Ferrari's are normally manual".

This is where the trouble starts. Because you see that isn't a reason to buy an older Ferrari to a newer Ferrari. And that's because manual gearboxes are not better than dual-clutch or automatic gearboxes. They are much much worse. So much worse that it's painful. Before you try to ask me if I know how to drive a manual transmission car, yes I know how to drive a manual. I've thrown multiple manual vehicles around tracks as well. Cars like the BMW M2 Pure or the E46 M3. Not to mention my grandfather's old collection. So I would almost claim that I have a wealth of experience in driving a manual gearbox, not just normally but extremely fast.

You see, I've also ridden in a couple of manual cars in my life. I had a friend who had an old Golf GTi, one of the best cars ever to be manufactured, except that she had no idea how to drive a manual car with a sports gearbox. Which means she normally depressed the clutch for 5 minutes whilst she tried to figure out where the next gear was instead of shunting it in, pushing the gear lever forward and stomping on the throttle. That style of driving manual is ridiculously common. And it's frustrating to hear, feel and watch. It's like watching a young child wince when their mother places a bowl of brussel sprouts in front of them at the dinner table.

Whilst the above statement ads to my argument, it isn't the point of it. I digress, we're now in the 21st century. Samsung just yesterday announced it's first fully flexible display in a smart phone. As such cars have moved forward too, we have autonomous driving, hybrid and full electric sports cars and we have something called the dual clutch gearbox. A blisteringly fast shifting gearbox which still allows the driver to control over-steer and revs on demand. Not just that but where older manual gearboxes used to be much more fuel efficient than their automatic counter parts there's no real competition anymore. You tend to add 3 litres to 100km when you drive a manual counterpart.

The manufacturers of said cars agree too. There are some that have started charging customers to place a manual gearbox in their vehicles. Even 4X4 vehicles now work much better in a dual clutch or automatic gearbox with features like hill descent control and high range 4X4 having a much better effect in their automated iterations.

I still haven't reached the full and final point to this entire article. But I'm about to, and car enthusiasts are going to hate it. But I'm tempted to scream it as a result. So here goes it "AUTOMATIC AND DUAL CLUTCH TRANSMISSION CARS ARE FASTER THAN MANUAL TRANSMISSION CARS". There, I said it. It has nothing to do with the driver, it has nothing to do with the car, it's just true.

And so the argument ended last night in a very simple statement which ended in the three gentleman making a v-line to the bar for two beers each, beers I count in defeat. I simply stated "I would always own a Ferrari Testarossa over an F12 Ferrari, any day of the week. But with that in mind? I'd love the Testarossa a hell of a lot more if it had a dual-clutch gearbox in it."