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Every car I've ever owned has been a manual transmission.

I learnt on an old 1970-something CJ5 Jeep. It was a three speed manual. I basically taught myself how to do it when I was 16. The first few times it did take me about 10 minutes just to get out of the driveway! Then I just spent time practicing every day driving round the block. I wouldn't say driving that made me a good manual driver though, but I was able to do it without stalling or grinding gears, etc. I did learn about double de-clutching as that was necessary a lot on this old transmission.

My next car was a 1987 VW GTI. It was a 5 speed. So with an additional two gears to deal with there was more to do. But it was also a great car to improve my manual driving skills.
 

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I learned on my sister's Vega in a parking lot. High school drivers ed. only had autos (early-70s). Surprised the thing held up to the abuse. Manuals all the way until the early 2000's when I got lazy. Previously, Datsun B1200, Chey LUV truck, Pinto, F100, Mazda 6, and Toyota 4Runner. Auto ever since except for a few motorcycles.
 

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I learned stick on my older brother's red Fiat 600. In that era, most motorcycles had bigger engines.
Just for fun, you are slightly exaggerating!

The Fiat 600 was produced from 1955-1969

In 1969 only Honda produced the CB750 with an engine larger than the Fiat.

Kawasaki produced the 500 and Suzuki had nothing bigger than the T10/T20 both 250 cc.

I know what you are getting at and I agree, 600cc engines were amazingly small for real cars. Keep in mind though, the Fiat 500 (1957-1975) was an evolution of the Fiat 600... Makes you wonder what these crazy Italians were thinking!...

I caught the Fiat 750 and 850 in the late sixties/early seventies...

23938


Nice eh?
 

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I basically taught myself. Although I learned to ride a street motorcycle about the same time in my 20s, I just did it in a parking lot. A 90s Honda Civic.
 

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I learned to use a manual transmission riding minibikes and then motocross bikes, before I was 15. My understanding of how a clutch needs to engage came from those experiences. Release the clutch lever the wrong way and it tossed you off the back or stalled :p Had a few street bikes along the way too. That and me and my friend commandeering one of his families MGs and VWs among a fleet of them, by roll starting down their driveway for a spin around the neighborhood. All before legal driving age of course 🤨

First new car was a manual 1979 Toyota Celica Coup bought with money earned from odd jobs and a paper route. Oh and a little help from Grandma :). Never owned an automatic car and may never own one.
Had an ‘80 Celica GT, with a 5-spd mated to a forklift engine. And it drove like one, but of course Toyota never called it that.
 

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Yes. Many many years ago in a 4 speed Mustang. My brother taught me. Heel toe, double clutch and all that stuff too. Also a small SUV and eventually an Acura. Even drove a "3 on the tree" pickup (miserable experience). The Honda 5 speed was smooth. Have driven a GT3 and 981 with 6MT. But I prefer the PDK.
Which Acura? I had a 1990 Integra 4 door w/ 5-spd manual. Fun car, not as good as my ‘85 CRX-si, but a lot more practical for a family man. Now that I think about it, I can’t imagine you could buy a four-door with MT these days. If anything, it’d be a Mazda, maybe BMW.

The good (and bad) thing about 3-speeds is that there are only two choices after first, so finding the “right” gear is as easy as finding the wrong one :sneaky:.
 

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Awesome thread!

I learned manuals in phases. Clutch work came from a tractor, and the rest in a ‘70 VW Bug in the corner of the local airport. Along the way I’ve honed my skills on a ‘72 Opel GT, ‘75 Opel Manta, ‘77 VW Scirocco, ‘80 Celica GT, ‘86 VW Golf, ‘86 Mazda 626, ‘85 Honda CRX-si, ‘90 Acura Integra, ‘96 Tacoma, ‘05 Mazda-3, and a few commercial trucks as well (in my widely varied career path I picked up a Class-A CDL to earn a living for awhile).

My favorites were the CRX, as fun and toss-able as any car I’ve ever driven...balanced and nimble, like a looser version of my 718. The other was the Mazda-3. That car had the best MT I’ve ever driven. Perfectly spaced ratios with natural, easy throws, precise gates, and it was silky smooth. I could shift that car in my sleep.

edit: I forgot about my Dad’s two Ford Pickups, an F100 with 3 on the column, and an F150 with 10 on the floor. Ok, it was actually five, but the ratios were so poorly spaced it felt like you were stirring ten!
 

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Which Acura? I had a 1990 Integra 4 door w/ 5-spd manual. Fun car, not as good as my ‘85 CRX-si, but a lot more practical for a family man. Now that I think about it, I can’t imagine you could buy a four-door with MT these days. If anything, it’d be a Mazda, maybe BMW.

The good (and bad) thing about 3-speeds is that there are only two choices after first, so finding the “right” gear is as easy as finding the wrong one :sneaky:.
1989 Integra 5 door (hatchback). Loved that car. Could fit first kid's playpen and assorted baby stuff back there for a 19 hr drive. But midwest winters were not great for the wheel wells etc.
 

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I learned to drive a manual in 1972 and have driven manuals either exclusively or alongside my auto VW Touareg, which I had for 14 years. I sold it earlier this year in preparation for “down-sizing” to a Cayman next year, and because I wasn’t able to look after it like I wanted to for a few months.

It seems that manual Caymans are hard to sell in the UK, evidenced by a seemingly perfect manual CGTS still at my local Porsche dealer after a few months.

A great shame as I really like manual cars but I am afraid that I would struggle to sell a CS in the future, when I have to hang up my car keys in another 15 years or so.

Still, at least PDK is about the best non-manual transmission there is!
 

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But midwest winters were not great for the wheel wells etc.
Amen. They were not great for anything except burning lots of natural gas. I remember one in particular, I think it was 1996, when we were living in Dubuque, Iowa. One night during a cold wave, it set some kind of all-time record. The local reporting station didn’t know what it actually was, because it bottomed out their gauge. My poor Acura, having to run during that 🥶.
 

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Put me in the categories with those who learned on a “ three on the tree” pickup truck, Farmall tractor and motorcycles. Then my first real car with a mt was a Pontiac Trans Am. Four speed! Loved to bark second gear
 

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Just for fun, you are slightly exaggerating!
In 1969 only Honda produced the CB750 with an engine larger than the Fiat.
True, but during those same formative years a high school friend's older sister had a Triumph 650. No electric start, so he had to kick it over for her in the morning as she was slight of size and height. She had no trouble getting any available young man to start it in the afternoon.
 

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My Dad, who was a car nut who used to race and rally cars, taught me how to drive. He always had manual transmission cars as he thought Autos were lazy, sluggish inefficient etc. My first car was a Renault 6 with a four speed gearbox with a gear lever that came out of the centre of the dashboard. So for me I learned to drive a manual and have been driving them ever since.
 

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First car 63 Chevrolet Nova 2 door HT. Found in newspaper classified (that was the only “ internet”). I was 16 and begged my father to drive me to private owner to see car. Got in for test drive and noted 3 pedals and “3 on column”. I had only driven family “vista-cruiser” (Oldsmobile station wagon). Got in and drove down the street-easy-peasy. The vast majority of my cars (not counting family vehicles) have been manuals. I still think probably one of the best shifting cars (cayman is close) was Honda Prelude Si (1990 era).
 

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Learned on my cousin's '63 Ford Falcon when i was 15. The tranny was 3 on the tree with vice grips attached to the linkage under the hood, which seemed to hang up every 10 or so shifts regardless of how skilled one was...of course, always at a stop light. We'd just hop out, pop the hood, give the vice grips a yank, slam the hood, jump in, jam it in 1st, pop the clutch and burn rubber (no, then would you believe minor chirp) and off we'd go. The entire process probably took 6 to 8 seconds.
 

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Part 2:

List of manual transmission cars I’ve owner (quasi chronological order-memory is current affected by being on Alaskan cruise):

63 Chevy nova
57 Chevy bel air
64 Chevy Chevelle
74 Datsun B210
68 Datsun 1600
74 Chevy Vega GT
77 Datsun B210
79 Datsun 280Z
81 Datsun 200Sx
80 Plymouth Arrow PU (not a car I know)
79 Fiat Spyder
85 Toyota Corolla GTS
90 Honda Prelude
85 Nissan PU (ditto)
00 BMW E46 coupe
98 BMW Z3 2.8
00 BMW M roadster
17 Cayman

Again, owned several more interesting cars, but all automatic. Some were owned simultaneously, but mostly pretty frugal car line.
 

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Learned to drive in a 4 speed 1963 VW bug and a 3-on-the-tree 1955 Chevy pickup.

Have had manual sports cars and trucks for most of my driving years.

When I was talking to my 30-something SA about ordering my Cayman, I explained that I preferred a manual while he tried to sell me on a PDK (which I have driven and fully appreciate how brilliant they are). At one point I remarked that “I was just old-school, having grown up driving cars one had to double clutch”. He responded with “what’s a double clutch?”
At that point I knew reasoning was off the table, so I just insisted on the manual and moved on.
 

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Amen. They were not great for anything except burning lots of natural gas. I remember one in particular, I think it was 1996, when we were living in Dubuque, Iowa. One night during a cold wave, it set some kind of all-time record. The local reporting station didn’t know what it actually was, because it bottomed out their gauge. My poor Acura, having to run during that 🥶.
The Acura spent some time in Waterloo, Iowa too. Was a decent snow car on a plowed road but a 4x4with tire chains was better when you had to wander off the plowed roads.
 

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Great fun reading these posts.(y)

When I was 15 my neighbor taught me to drive a stick shift. He had a '71 VW Fastback that he loved and worked on himself, and when I first got into the driver's seat and pulled smoothly away in first gear (beginner's luck), he put on a big smile and leaned back in his seat and said, "oh good, you're not going to destroy my clutch!"

A few months later I had my license and bought a 1972 Triumph Spitfire, then just 5 years old but already something of a project car, and drove it home through downtown Chicago at the height of rush hour. That experience quickly fine-tuned my friction point skills and I had the basics down. I've had many cars and motorcycles since, including several automatic transmission cars, but for a "fun" car or hobby car, I'll only buy a manual trans because--to me--they're just so much more engaging.

My wife and kids have no interest in owning a stick shift car, but I still wanted them to know how to drive one, in case that knowledge was ever needed in an emergency. I didn't have much luck, though. The attempt to teach my wife ended when she drove our old Civic sedan into the garage wall after confusing reverse and first (that was a fun day 😑), and only one of my four kids ended up learning enough clutch skills to get an MT car down the road in a pinch.

These days, driving a manual transmission is definitely an acquired taste and uncommon skill. Interestingly, though, there are now a couple of schools in my area that specialize in teaching stick-shift driving, and one of our local car clubs has a "learn to drive a stick" day. So, maybe like vinyl LPs and farm-to-table eating, MTs will make a comeback. :)
 
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