Not just ordinary people:
I just signed the papers to buy a new Acura TSX with manual. I wanted a BMW 328i, but they don’t have spare tires and no place to put a spare. Then I wanted a Lexus except that I would have to wait 6-8 MONTHS for a manual… which is supposedly the standard equipment on the IS250. Does anybody have any idea how we can keep the clutch from disappearing entirely? I don’t really want to import my cars from Europe personally.
Even the Euro cars are starting a migration to “clutchless manual,” which is actually much better performance-wise than a regular automatic, and the good ones shift much faster than a human can. Even the new Ford Fiesta has one of them (though I don’t think it shifts as fast as the ones from Porsche/etc)
Still, I’ll miss the clutch pedal when it goes the way of the dinosaur. When I was shopping for my TL, I had to make a choice between the normal version with automatic, or the type-S version with manual and higher insurance premiums. I chose the normal one, and haven’t really regretted it (I have two other cars with manuals for fun drives), but if someone offered me a straight-up trade for a manual TL, I’d jump on it.
This is the stick riding I thought was funny as all heck…
I think that the “clutchless manual” is a throwback to the 1940s. Packard offered an electric clutch that eliminated using the clutch pedal. Hudson offered something called “Drivemaster” that I think was a vacuum operated clutch. The Cord had some system where one preselected the gears and the let up on the accelerator to shift. Maybe we will return to the Chrysler “lift and clunk” transmissions where one accelerated to 15 or 20 mph and released the accelerator for the car to drop into direct drive. My parents had a Dodge with this transmission when I was in high school and I didn’t like it at all. I either want a fully manual transmission with a clutch or a fully automatic transmission.
MikeInNH–I liked your link to stick riding. I think I should stick to that. I went horseback riding last week and got bucked off. My foot got caught in the stirrup and it seemed like an eternity before the manager of K-Mart came out and unplugged the horse.
BMW wants us to buy its stick shift cars, which are mostly its FWD products and one AWD SUV.
I think comparing a sorta-automatic transmission from a 1940’s Chrysler to the electrohydraulic manual transmission in a Ferrari Enzo is somewhat silly…
Consumer Reports found some jerky behavior in its test of the Ford Focus at low speeds with the powershift automated manual transmission. I don’t know anything about the electrohydraulic manual in a Ferrari Enzo as this car is out of my price range. The Hudson offered a transmission called Superdrive that did about the same thing. In 1951, Hudson scrapped the Superdrive and Drivemaster and used the Hydramatic built by GM. Maybe the clutchless manuals will work better than the systems used in the 1940s–I’ll let others test them at their expenses. I prefer a regular manual transmission, but since I need a minivan and the manual isn’t available, I’ll take the regular tried and true automatic.
The GM Hydramatic, introduced in the 1940, was used in army tanks in WW II and held up quite well. These tanks didn’t use the Packard electric clutch or the Hudson Drivemaster or Superdrive.
maybe a return to the push button transmissions
I feel your pain, Triedaq…I’ve wondered if I could put a 6-speed from a V-6 Accord coupe in my Odyssey. That is my wife’s baby, though. I have my 6-speed manual Versa for my own amusement. My ADHD addled brain really copes better with a stick.