Thread Number: 79779  /  Tag: Other Home Products or Autos
About cars... Am I THAT old?
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Post# 1036773   7/1/2019 at 03:14 by thomasortega (We have a famous sign, earthquakes, bushfires and weed)        

It always intrigued me the number of Americans that don't know how to drive a manual transmission car. Every time I see Kevin's old truck with a decent manual transmission my eyes shine like diamonds and you can almost see thousands of heart shaped baloons floating out of my head.

My husband, for example NEVER SAW a manual car and probably has absolutely no idea of what is stepping in three pedals with only two feet and why, as mentioned on the link. (I gasp every time I remember I did that zillions of times)

When i was living in Dallas, a millennial guest arrived at the hotel with a rental car. The whole hotel knew he was arriving and stopped to watch him jumping like a frog (it was a whatever tiny supersports car like a ferrari, lamborghini, Porsche, whatever.)

He stopped right in front of the lobby entrance, made the check-in and went to park his car properly... OMG.

A mix of blender without the pitcher, gears scratching horribly, frog jumping, tires squeaking and obviously the engine fainting every time he tried to move the car. He leaves the car ready to call the car rental because his car is "defective".

I told him his car wasn't defective at all and offered myself to park his car. It was horrible to fit in that tiny sardine can, but I did it. I started the car, parked it super smoothly everybody at the hotel came to see (first because it was a whatever ultra expensive car, second because they were shocked because I knew how to drive manual.

His comment was more than laughable. "WTF, they start inventing this "new" ways to drive but are they expecting people to go back to driving school to learn how to use this "new" type of transmission?

He LITERALLY had no idea what was that "strange" pedal to the left of the brake and he was afraid of stepping on it and end up breaking something.

Ok, some people don't know how to drive manual. For me that's still a little strange but not the end of the world, as here in the USA it's not mandatory to take the driving test with a manual car at the DMV. (In Brazil it's forbidden to use an automatic car for the test and 99% of the cars are manual anyway because people hate automatic transmission) but WHY THE HELL THOSE F-WORD MILLENNIALS RENT A MANUAL CAR IF THEY DON'T KNOW HOW TO DRIVE MANUAL?

The link is more than laughable. Some of the "features" I'm very glad they no longer exist. They forgot to include the windshield washer that had a rubber pump that you had to step on it to "spit" some water on the windshield.

Let's laugh together!

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Post# 1036775 , Reply# 1   7/1/2019 at 03:58 by DADoES (TX,†U.S. of A.)        

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The sisters and I learned to drive dad's "Old Blue" Chevy standard out in the pasture, at pre-driving age.† The sisters were small enough they took turns one steering, one handling the pedals.

Post# 1036776 , Reply# 2   7/1/2019 at 04:53 by Yogitunes (New Jersey)        

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My Dad would only own a stick shift, but it was more so us kids wouldn't ask to drive it since he figured we couldn't figure it out...

hence there was no internet/youtube/google back then....probably better off, as I have yet to find a millennial with a Smart Phone show one bit of intelligence...take away their phone and their

a good friend showed me how to drive his VW Bug with a stick which I also used this to take my driving test.....

got home that same day, asked Dad for the keys, and showed both of my sisters how to drive a stick shift....

Dad had a Grand Wagoneer with a three speed on the tree....I'll save you the time to look that one up, Stick shift on the steering column

I preferred a shifter on the floor myself...and every car I ever owned until the Jeep was a manual...I have the AutoStick option, but its not quite the same...

my first automatic was a 1988 Chrysler Lebaron Turbo with UltraDrive, a tranny that would send you running back to a stick shift fast....but in any case, when your so used to pushing the left pedal, NOW hitting the brake instead, and always a hand on the floor shift, ready to select a gear....somethings you can't get out of your head...

there was also a time when if you didn't know how to drive a manual, car dealers socked it to you for the pricing of an automatic....

remember Hillerosis, the fear of rolling backwards on a hill with a manual....

I think the best part of today, we have up to 6 speed manuals....

Post# 1036780 , Reply# 3   7/1/2019 at 05:45 by earthling177 (Boston, MA)        

I'd say at least half the people here in the Northeast know how to drive a stick shift just fine. For the longest time, stick shifts were about a couple of thousand dollars cheaper, so everyone who had student loans to pay or was just starting life away from their parents and didn't have a big salary were buying stick shifts.

Around the world people as early as 12 learn to drive a stick shift just fine, nothing too hard about it, certainly easier than to ride a bicycle.

Post# 1036781 , Reply# 4   7/1/2019 at 06:11 by Tomturbomatic (Beltsville, MD)        

I was in Baltimore with John when I got stopped on a hill in traffic at a light. I was wondering what I was going to do when he told me to set the parking brake which was between the seats also. When the light turned green, it was a matter of releasing clutch and brake in symphony and everything went forward smoothly. I love how a manual keeps you one with the car. 

Post# 1036787 , Reply# 5   7/1/2019 at 07:33 by Ultramatic (New York City)        
Standard? What's that?

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My dad knew how to drive manual, all his trucks were "3 on the tree" until 1970, when he got his first automatic truck and never looked back. For cars, he went automatic as far back as 1954 (Chevrolet Power-Glide). As for me, I sorta' attempted with a manual Ford F-100 back when I was 14. Never got the hang of it, and never liked it. I was like, "but WHY?. "There's Turbo-Hydramatic...screw this." When I went to Europe for the first time in 1987 I was amazed (among other things) that virtually every car was standard, the complete opposite of the U.S.. In 1988 I returned and rented my first car and discovered I had to pay extra for the luxury of an automatic. 


We may had been forced to drive smaller cars in general, but we still love our comforts, one of them being automatic transmissions.

Post# 1036789 , Reply# 6   7/1/2019 at 07:45 by Lorainfurniture (Cleveland )        

I grew up on manual transmissions, one of my larger box trucks is still a 6 speed manual. I certainly can appreciate the nostalgia, but I donít think I will ever have a mt car as a daily driver again.

Post# 1036790 , Reply# 7   7/1/2019 at 07:50 by toploader55 (Massachusetts Sand Bar, Cape Cod)        

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My 2004 Tacoma is a 5 speed.

Manual is getting harder to find. When I priced a New Tacoma with a 5 speed, (and nearly had to call the EMTs when I saw the price) there are only 1 or 2 models that you can get a 6 speed.

Everything else is Automatic. I don't think you can get a Tundra with a Manual.

I think in 1972 was one of the last years you had to take your driving test on a standard.

Post# 1036791 , Reply# 8   7/1/2019 at 08:03 by foraloysius (Leeuwarden, the Netherlands)        

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I learned to drive in a standard and have a license for it. I had no problems with using three paddles and a stick shift. But when my father bought a car with an automatic transmission (Opel Senator 1978) I was sold to automatic transmission immediately. Never a standard again.

Post# 1036792 , Reply# 9   7/1/2019 at 08:06 by norgeway (mocksville n c )        
I grew up in rural America!

So I learned on 3 on the column manual shift Or as its called in the south Straight Drive, My next door neighbor taught me to back a farm trailer at age 14 with a 1970 CJ5 Jeep, no power steering lol, and of course driving a tractor is another thing city folks have never done,,but truthfully, I absolutely hate shifting gears give me automatic,

Post# 1036799 , Reply# 10   7/1/2019 at 10:06 by DaveAMKrayoGuy (Oak Park, MI)        
Ben McPeek

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Okay, I think I'm sold on a manual transmission thanks to this guy:

(Though it looks like a Mercury Marquis is his other car)

I'll take a NEW Fiat 500 in that red, then, maybe for my next vehicle...

-- Dave


Post# 1036801 , Reply# 11   7/1/2019 at 10:12 by ea56 (Sonoma Co.,CA)        

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My parents mostly had stick shift cars when my Dad was still alive, he didnít like automatics, although we did have a few cars with AT. When my Mom used to drive us to school in the mornings down San Pablo Ave., the kid that was riding shot gun got to shift when Mom clutched, it was great fun and my brother and I used to fight over who got to rid in the front. This was either in first her Jaguar 3.8 sedan then the last car she had before Dad died in 62í, a 62í Studebaker Gran Turisimo Hawk, both with four on the floor. She had extensions installed on shift lever and blocks on the brake and clutch pedals because she was only 4í9Ē.

Then, when I was a teen and we moved to the country after Dad died, the neighbor down the road taught me to drive stick in a 39í Chevy Flatbed Truck. It was the most forgiving clutch ever and perfect for learning to drive a stick.

I havenít owned a stick now since 97í, when I had to trade my 95í Tacoma with a 5 speed because the arthritis in my left hip was getting so bad that driving in the stop and go commute traffic after work was excruciating.

Unlike most here, I actually prefer a three on the tree. There is a lot less shifting. To me that 5 speed in the Tacoma was at least one gear too many. Better an old school 3 speed with overdrive. And the thought of having to go thru 6 or more gears is something I have no interest in. Around here now, with the terrible traffic, the only manual transmission car I would be interested in as a daily driver would be ideally a 3 on the tree with OD, or 4 speed, anything else would be just too much unnecessary hassle IMHO.

All that being said, I would love to take a nice long country road drive with a stick shift car, just for old times sake. I know it would be just like riding a bike, you never forget that coordination required once you finally master it.


Post# 1036811 , Reply# 12   7/1/2019 at 12:46 by RP2813 (Too many people know the way)        

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My dad tried to teach me manual shifting on the '50 GMC, which has a column shift, when I was around 17.  The clutch pedal on that thing has a really strong spring, and I couldn't get the hang of it.  I know he was disappointed at the time.


Then my sister had me give it another try with her super stripped down '65 Chevy Biscayne going back and forth on our long driveway.  I think it was her instruction, along with a more forgiving clutch pedal, that helped me catch on quickly, and I conquered the GMC after that.  It just so happened that her friend's '72 Datsun 510 was parked out front, so after I mastered the Chevy, she had me try the Datsun.  Wow!  No slow release required on that clutch!  I've appreciated Japanese clutches ever since.


25 years later, Dave bought a VW Passat GLX wagon with a 5-speed.  He was murdering both the transmission and the engine (not shifting into 5th on the freeway until I finally told him to, etc., etc.) and after a year or two I told him to buy something with an automatic and I'd take over the Passat.  That was a great car to drive, and I loved the stick -- except in stop-and-go traffic on the way home from work.


I got my 2003 Subaru Baja a few years ago.  I decided a stick wasn't such a bad idea since I had test driven a Baja with an automatic and it was pathetic about getting up to speed while climbing an on-ramp up to the freeway. 


I pride myself on being able to make a manual shift feel like an automatic to anyone else in the car.  That is flatly impossible with the Subaru.  I even went onto a Subaru forum and asked about the jerky engagement and and general sloppiness.  More than one responder advised that I was experiencing normal behavior.  I have killed the engine on the Baja more than on any other manual I've ever driven.  It's the exception to every other Japanese stick I've experienced, but it's such a handy car that I continue to deal with it.  At some point I'm going to take it in and have it checked out.  I simply can't accept that its behavior is normal.


Also, Subaru offered a "hill holder" clutch for a while.  Why they ever dropped it, I don't know.  It wasn't anything new, though.  Apparently the "hill holder" was available as far back as the '40s on certain American makes.  I wish the Baja had that.  I avoided underpasses with signals at the top for many months after I bought that car, but at this point I'm fairly confident even when navigating serious ups and downs in San Francisco.


Tom is spot-on with his description of driving a manual.  I've been driving the GMC for 47 years now.  That's longer than my dad did.  I know that truck like the back of my hand and can sense the slightest issue it might be having when I'm behind the wheel.  It truly is like being one with the vehicle when I drive that truck, and it's something I'll continue to enjoy until I'm too weak to hold the clutch pedal to the floor.

Post# 1036812 , Reply# 13   7/1/2019 at 12:54 by LowEfficiency (Iowa)        

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>> The link is more than laughable. Some of the "features" I'm very glad they no longer exist.

The list was a mix... I'd love to see T-Tops make a return.

On transmissions, when a person says a manual is "complicated" to drive, they are forgetting (or unaware of) an enormous amount of history. We forget just how far things have come, and how nice *modern* manual transmissions actually are. Low pedal effort, synchromesh gears, hill-holder, starter interlock, long life roller throw-out bearings, modern clutch friction materials, 6+ speeds, etc, etc.

By contrast, a Model T's manual transmission is immensely more complicated to drive. And that's assuming that a modern driver could even get the car started, or keep it running well with the lever-operated fuel and spark advance controls.

Even some of the intermediate "automatic" manual transmissions were difficult. Take the Preselector gearbox for example. More elegant for sure, but you have to think ahead more than you do with a more basic transmission.

Different vehicles had their quirks, too. The Trabant, for example, had a two-stroke engine, with the engine oil being mixed with the gas. In a Trabant, you couldn't coast for long at all, or engine-brake, as the engine was starved for lubrication if the throttle was closed, and doing so could seize the engine. The Trabant was fitted with a special freewheel to allow coasting, but only when in 4th gear! Any other gear, and you needed to either be on the gas, or in neutral, to avoid causing engine damage.

Post# 1036815 , Reply# 14   7/1/2019 at 12:58 by Iheartmaytag (Wichita, Kansas)        
I learned how to drive on a 4 speed

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A 1973 Vega. It could do zero to 60 in 3.5 years.

Where I got into the biggest trouble was my second car, a Mercury Marquis with 400 cu in engine and auto. I was used to driving the Vega with manual brakes and manual trans. On the test drive mistake #1. I pull to a stop sign, being very careful of the power brakes. Everything was fine until I hit the clutch, which it didn't have. What it did have was a very wide brake peddle. Drew lots of attention to myself on that one.

Mistake #2, I start to pass a car where I am used to putting the accelerator to the floor, praying and hoping you get around the car. I stomped the Merc and it went Woompft and I was doing 85.

I've owned one manual since then, a 5 speed that time. Now the Jeep has a 5 speed but it's automatic/overdrive.

Post# 1036818 , Reply# 15   7/1/2019 at 13:14 by wayupnorth (On a lake between Bangor and Bar Harbor)        

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I learned on a 65 Galaxie how to operate "3 on the tree" to a 69 Fairlane to a 72 Vega POS to a 72 Celica also POS, 77 280Z, 81 Subaru, 83 Subaru (both with the hill holder clutch) to an 85 S-10 truck to an 88 Blazer, which was the last standard I owned. Many new ones today do not even offer a standard shift as an option.

Post# 1036819 , Reply# 16   7/1/2019 at 13:17 by Iheartmaytag (Wichita, Kansas)        

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I didn't type POS when I typed Vega. I thought that was automatically implied. It appears to be the opinion from anyone that has ever had the misfortune to own one.

Post# 1036820 , Reply# 17   7/1/2019 at 13:20 by earthling177 (Boston, MA)        

Two very short thoughts:

One: Many many times I've been in the situation of driving a car which was supposedly exactly like mine, same year, make and model with the same accessories (friends' and family members' cars) but which it would take me a short bit of time to get used to the clutches. They tend to vary from car to car even when they are supposed to be identical, and once one accepts that it's not because one sucks at driving manual transmission, it's because cars vary, it's easy. The "attitude" is very different -- in countries were most cars are manual transmission, most people just go "oh, well, that happens, they'll be fine in a minute or two", people are less self-conscious than here, where if you stall the car or make it shake even once everyone looks at you like worse than if you farted loudly in a crowded elevator. :-P ;-)

Two: as far as I can tell, Subaru still offers the hill-holder thing, at least it came as standard feature in a MOL Subaru Outback we bought back in 2010 (and still have), but it is an automatic transmission with ABS and Electronic Stability Control, so it might be part of that system, I dunno.

Post# 1036822 , Reply# 18   7/1/2019 at 13:38 by foraloysius (Leeuwarden, the Netherlands)        

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All our manual transmission cars came with a hill holder... lol

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Post# 1036824 , Reply# 19   7/1/2019 at 13:59 by RP2813 (Too many people know the way)        
My One-Track Mindedness Kicks In

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Louis, that is a rather fetishly phallic image there!

Post# 1036828 , Reply# 20   7/1/2019 at 14:19 by foraloysius (Leeuwarden, the Netherlands)        

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Post# 1036830 , Reply# 21   7/1/2019 at 14:50 by Xraytech (Rural southwest Pennsylvania )        

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I learned to drive grandpas 79 GMC Sierra that had a 3 on the tree Manual transmission, I found it fairly enjoyable. However I couldnít get the hang of dads 95 F-150 with 5 speed floor shift manual.
Iíve not much worried about the difficulty driving manual, as Iím not a sports/small car or truck person.
Iíve always favored full size American Luxury, and as far as Iím aware cars like Town Car, Fleetwood, Electra/Park Avenue, or a Ninety-Eight havenít had a manual transmission in a few decades prior to the models being dropped.

Post# 1036832 , Reply# 22   7/1/2019 at 16:09 by thomasortega (We have a famous sign, earthquakes, bushfires and weed)        

Hahahaha Martin...

I drove Chevrolet Opala and Chevrolet Veraneio (suburban here in the USA) and Ford Galaxie Landau that had manual transmission on the tree.

Post# 1036833 , Reply# 23   7/1/2019 at 16:18 by thomasortega (We have a famous sign, earthquakes, bushfires and weed)        


almost 4 years driving only automatics..... Until today sometimes it happens to me, leaving a light, i accelerate than i step deep on the brake with the left foot to switch to "second". I won't even mention the number of times that i pulled the stick from D to 1 on the corolla or from D to tiptronic on the accent.

Someday I'll end up rear ended because of that....

I have to drive with my left foot almost under the seat because for me it's too "automatic" to step on the clutch to shift.

I was definitely NOT MADE to be compatible with automatic transmissions. Hahahahhaa

Post# 1036834 , Reply# 24   7/1/2019 at 16:29 by Yogitunes (New Jersey)        

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we drove mostly American Motors in our family....

too many foot pedals at times....

Gas, Brake, Clutch, Foot Pedal Emergency Brake, and below that, the Hi-Beam switch...

had a cousin with I believe a 52 Ford pickup....add in the starter button on the floor next to the gas pedal, and the manual choke...

got to drive a Chrysler Newport once.....ignition and push button automatic on the left side of the steering wheel....that alone will throw you off track...

Post# 1036842 , Reply# 25   7/1/2019 at 17:08 by CircleW (NE Cincinnati OH area)        

I only drove one vehicle that had a manual transmission, and that was a '69 Ford F-100. It belonged to the hardware store that I worked at in the Spring & Summer of '77. I think I drove it 4 or 5 times, and one of those I let off the clutch, and it lurched forward, hitting the loading dock and smashing up the front. The always grumpy manager was even more grumpy that day.

Post# 1036854 , Reply# 26   7/1/2019 at 17:35 by RP2813 (Too many people know the way)        

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A while back, due to a faulty fuel gauge the GMC got stuck at a gas station that I pulled into just a matter of seconds too late.  It didn't want to start after I filled the tank, and the battery crapped out.


I called AAA road service and this dude around 25 to 30 years old came out to give me a jump start.  He went to pop the hood and I called to him while pointing inside the cab at the floor on the passenger's side.  I had already removed the access panel for the battery.  He had never seen a battery that wasn't under the hood.  I also advised that it was a 6-volt system and that he would need to disconnect ASAP after the truck started.


Then he noticed there was no stick shift on the floor and asked about that.  I pointed to the steering column.  He had never seen that either.  Finally, he pointed to the starter pedal and asked what it was, and I told him. 


I think he learned more that day on the job than he ever had before.


I recently took the truck out on a run with son-in-law Steve.  He had previously expressed interest in driving it.  He had never driven a manual column shift, but has owned a number of Hondas with a stick.   I made sure the truck had been sufficiently warmed up and then pulled over to let him give it a try.  He did really well for a first-timer.  The only thing he couldn't remember was that neutral is between each gear, so when he'd shift up, he'd free-wheel.  With practice, I know he'll figure it out.

Post# 1036861 , Reply# 27   7/1/2019 at 18:12 by Kate1 (Idaho)        

Iím 28 and I know how to drive stick. Itís not that uncommon around here with old farm trucks and tractors everywhere, a lot of young kids learn to drive stick before they learn to drive an automatic. I vastly prefer a manual transmission but theyíre next to impossible to find anymore and in vehicles that actually fit all of my kids, theyíre literally nonexistent. My husbandís Honda Fit is a manual though so we hope to be able to teach our kids on it.

Post# 1036868 , Reply# 28   7/1/2019 at 19:40 by soapgirl (Northeastern Ohio)        

I learned to drive stick in a VW. Husband parked it in a field and said "Here ya go!" Damn near gave him wiplash that afternoon. We always bought cars with a stick because the gas mileage was better with a manual transmission. That changed in the 2000s in the US. We were stunned when we needed to replace a car in 2002 and decided to buy new. All the cars we were considering got better mileage with an automatic. Manual transmissions were geared for perfomance, not mileage. So we went with an automatic and have not bought a car with a stick since.

Post# 1036873 , Reply# 29   7/1/2019 at 20:24 by liamy1 (-)        

Here in the U.K., it's the other way round, Manual is the norm with Automatic being less so (loose guess would be 85% vs 15% in favour of manual), although autos are getting more and more popular and good job too, SO much easier in town traffic constantly stopping and starting (of course we're a much smaller country, so the roads are FAR busier that what you guys will see.

Also over here if you sit your driving test in an auto, you're not allowed to drive a manual on your own until you've sat a test for it (you can drive them as a "learner" eg by having somebody accompany you who has held a manual licence for 3+years and you display L plates).

Is it right that's not the case in the US, you can drive a manual even if you didn't sit a test in one?

Post# 1036874 , Reply# 30   7/1/2019 at 20:27 by liamy1 (-)        
Teach me

Not to try and read fast, you've answered my question in the blooming op :s

That's crazy that you're not required to sit a test in a manual to be allowed to drive one.

Post# 1036875 , Reply# 31   7/1/2019 at 20:30 by LowEfficiency (Iowa)        

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>> Is it right that's not the case in the US, you can drive a manual even if you didn't sit a test in one?

In many places in the USA, you can get your license without ever having a driving test - Just pass a written test (computerized now) and you're good to go for the rest of your life. What kind of vehicle you would drive is a distant concern, save for things like the categories of commercial vehicle licenses or having your motorcycle endorsement...

Post# 1036876 , Reply# 32   7/1/2019 at 20:30 by ea56 (Sonoma Co.,CA)        

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In California at least there is no special requirement to be tested in a stick shift car in order to be licensed to drive a stick. One license fits all, at least as far as transmissions go. There are special licenses to drive motorcycles and multi axel big rigs.


Post# 1036877 , Reply# 33   7/1/2019 at 20:47 by liamy1 (-)        

That blows my mind,

basically here you have to be tested to neurosurgeon level for driving LOL, you go through the written part of the test first (50 questions and 15 hazard perception videos to gauge your reaction to hazards) then the practical test which includes "show me tell me" (more questions), eyesight test, 45 mins driving, 10 mins of independent driving using sat nav, 2 reverse and reverse parking manoeuvres, hill start (up and down) emergency stop - and then that STILL only allows you to drive the vehicle type you're tested in (more tests needed for other vehicle types)

Then comes the whole host of restrictions after you get your licence (you're on probation for the first 2 years) and they want to add MORE restrictions.

But you know what our government are like, the DVSA make a fortune on driving and making it hard keeps driver numbers down haha.

Suppose makes sense in the US as the country is more geared for drivers (as said you're bigger landmass - you have states bigger than our country) so can imagine people are pretty screwed if can't drive - we don't necessarily have that pressure here, public transport great and almost everywhere is pedestrianised along with for vehicles (eg jay walking, not a crime here).

Post# 1036879 , Reply# 34   7/1/2019 at 21:05 by ea56 (Sonoma Co.,CA)        

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When I got my first drivers license I was one month shy of 17. We lived on the Northern California Coast. I took my behind the wheel test in a little town called Point Arena. The DMV sent an examiner up there from Santa Rosa on the third Tuesday and Wednesday of every month. He stationed himself in the little Public Library. I just had my papers transferred up there and the neighbor let me drive their 1961 Chevrolet Nomad station wagon with a 348 V8 and Turbo Glide.

That little town had zero traffic, no traffic lights and one stop sign. I performed my parallel parking between posts. The examiner was jacked about the car, heíd had a 61í Chevy station wagon himself, and thats all he talked about.

At one point I looked at the speedometer while in a 25 mph zone and realized to my horror that I was going 35 mph, thought Iíd failed for sure. The examiner noticed my concern and slow down, he just said, ď Kid I like the way you drive, most of the people up here just dawdle along, take me back, you just passed with a 100%! Was I ever surprised.


Post# 1036880 , Reply# 35   7/1/2019 at 21:11 by liamy1 (-)        

Like it. Could've done with your examiner when sat mine :)

Post# 1036882 , Reply# 36   7/1/2019 at 23:52 by RP2813 (Too many people know the way)        

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Around here, we have people from distant parts of the world driving badly, everywhere.  I'm pretty sure most of them never owned or drove a car until they got here. 


I don't know how many languages they're up to now at the DMV for the written exam.  Anyone who has trouble or speaks a language that the DMV doesn't (yet) support can have a "translator" friend or relative assist, completely unsupervised. 


The UK's process is sounding pretty good to me.

Post# 1036890 , Reply# 37   7/2/2019 at 02:09 by thomasortega (We have a famous sign, earthquakes, bushfires and weed)        

The process in Brazil is a PAIN.

It takes from 7 to 11 months to get a driver's license.

First you have to pay the fees and schedule an appointment for the Psychotechnic test and a view test at DETRAN (it's like the DMV.) If you're lucky, you find an appointment for no less than 90 days.

Passed the two tests, you receive the apprentice license, so now you're authorized to enroll in a driving school for the theory classes (25 hours).

Once completed the 25 hours in a classroom, you can schedule the written test (and wait other few months until an available date)

When you pass the written test, then you receive you "learner's driving permit". it's valid ONLY with an instructor sitting next to you AND in a driving school vehicle (specially adapted with a clutch and a brake pedal on the passenger side).

You must complete whooping 50 hours driving, then you can schedule the behind the wheel test. (wait other few months).

And if you fail the test, repeat everything regarding each module and pay all the fees again.

Total costs, considering all the DETRAN fees and the driving school: average $2500 (US dollars)

Then your license is valid for 1 year.

During this first year, you can't have any fines (not even a parking ticket) otherwise your DL is cancelled and you have to restart everything again.

Lovely, isn't? (sarcasm)

Here in California, Darryl took me to the DMV in Santa Monica early in the morning... we waited some time for the written test, which is passed super easily. then we waited other couple of hours in line for the behind the wheel test. passed again... I left the DMV office with a temporary permit, legally able to drive and the permanent DL arrived in around 10 days on the mail. Everything solved in half day and it costed $36 if i'm not mistaken.

As soon as I started the test, the examiner noticed I wasn't an apprentice. She just looked at me and said "You drive for a long time, don't you? I just said, sure, I have my Brazilian DL for decades. Ah, ok... so just turn around the block and do a parallel parking. (the spot was HUGE) I didn't even need to do a parallel parking, i just enter the spot and stopped perfectly. She was like "Ok, I don't know how to do that".... Come on... 3 cars fit in that spot, anybody would do the same.

Post# 1036892 , Reply# 38   7/2/2019 at 03:13 by gus (Montevideo, Uruguay)        

Hi, first I had a front colition with my grandparents at 4 and a half y/o. I was afraid to death to cars and buses! I used to cry if I had to go into a car!. At ten y/o, my father bought his first car, which was a 4 year Chevy Belair big V8 engine Power Glide transmission. For me, that was the most beautiful car I knew, at the moment. At eleven, one day, father told: drive it!. Of course, I thought  I shouldn ´t drive at that age. So he insisted and he moved towards the car door and I push my right foot over the accelerator, and there the car stumpped away and half a block later we were in front of our home so I pushed hard on the brakes, and there the car stopped, screeching like Ballinger of Chicago. Ha!. Two years later I was driving along highways.   When I was 16 or 17, one day my mom asked me to go with her, to buy sth. She told me we go on your uncle´s car, which was a 1935 Ford tudor, stardard tranny. I said I don´t drive standard, and she told me, push the clutch down and then shift 1st. gear. Where is 1st.?. It´s like an H. Of course first try, first-time motor died. When we came back I was driving normally. But until now I died for Automatic transmission. In Uruguay, standard trannies are the norm. 

Post# 1036931 , Reply# 39   7/2/2019 at 10:22 by philcobendixduo (San Jose)        

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I rode the school bus to school for many years. I always sat near the front where I could watch the driver shift the gears. I practiced using the pedals on my piano.
When it came time for my first car, I bought a 1974 Honda Civic with a 4 speed manual transmission.
I had NO problems driving it even though all I'd driven during driver training were automatics.
My 1980 Accord had a 5 speed manual.
My 1992 Chevy S10 pickup also had a 5 speed manual.
My 2003 Passat GLX wagon has a 5 speed manual - and I still enjoy driving it although it does get a bit wearisome in heavy traffic (which is the norm in this part of the country....)
My newest car has an 8 speed automatic and I quite enjoy not having to shift for a change!

Post# 1036969 , Reply# 40   7/2/2019 at 16:12 by JustJunque (Western MA)        

I've owned lots of cars. All different types.
Mostly inexpensive, mostly automatics.
I understood the mechanics of driving a manual transmission, but had very little if any real world experience with it.
For some reason, when I was around 21, I let myself be talked into buying a three year old Camaro IROC-Z with a five speed.
I had to learn pretty quickly, since it was my only car!
I guess I did okay, but I can't say that I enjoyed it.
And I always avoided having to start up on hills!
I thought I'd try to teach my then girlfriend how to drive it once. Once.
I think I went a few shades whiter when I said; "Okay...give it a little gas, and start to let out the clutch."
She had it up to about 6,000 RPM, and was about to let out the clutch.
Not especially wanting to launch through the front of the house at the end of the street, I said, as calmly as possible; "Okay...don't let out the clutch right now."
That was the end of the lesson. We always meant to try again some time, but it never happened.
Then, the car got stolen and destroyed. So that was the end of that.
Years later, and quite the contrast, I owned a late '70s Pinto with a four speed.
People love to hate on those cars, but I thought it was a fun little car.
I've driven a few other manual transmission cars, but those were the only two that I've owned.
And I've never driven a "three on the tree", although it's something I think I'd like to try some day.


Post# 1036971 , Reply# 41   7/2/2019 at 16:34 by ea56 (Sonoma Co.,CA)        

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My maternal grandma was born in 1900 and was one of the very first women in Kansas to drive a car. Her father owned a hotel in Sharon, Kansas, and he bought a Hupmobile in I believe around 1911, and he taught his daughter how to drive it. Iím fairly sure that the Hupmobile had a clutch. When my grandparents were married in 1919, grandpa had a Ford Model T, which is more like an automatic than a standard shift. The far left pedal was the gear selector, all the way to the floor was first gear, half way out was neutral and all the way out was second gear. Contrary to the You Tube link posted earlier, there was no clutch pedal as we know it in a Model T. The transmission had bands and planetary gears. Anyway, grandma mastered the Model T and she would load her four daughters into that Tin Lizzie and journey the 50 or so miles on the dirt roads of 1920ís rural Kansas, to visit her parents in Sharon, all by herself, without giving it a second thought.

Then in about 1933, grandpa got rid of their last Model T, and replaced it with a 1929 Chrysler, which had a 4 speed transmission with a clutch. Apparently, grandpa didn't trust that grandma would remember her earlier experience with her Dadís Hupmoblie, so he took her out an a a training expedition, before he would turn her loose with the 29í Chrysler. He had little patience and they got into an argument and grandma stopped driving that day, and never drove again. I always thought this was very sad for her, because she lost a little of her independence that day, she who had been a Suffragette.


Post# 1036976 , Reply# 42   7/2/2019 at 17:07 by RP2813 (Too many people know the way)        

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Three on the tree is a lot like four on the floor, at least from the passenger's perspective when looking at the steering column.  The "H" pattern is the same. 


I've attached some pictures from the textbook Sportsmanlike Driving.  We actually used this 1940s book when I took driver education in high school back in 1971!  When I saw a copy in a thrift store for 50c many years ago, I bought it just for the illustrations. 


Thinking back, it seems that in my experience textbooks more than 20 years old were quite common from first grade all the way through 12th.







Post# 1036978 , Reply# 43   7/2/2019 at 17:51 by ea56 (Sonoma Co.,CA)        

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I had this same book in HS Drivers Education class too Ralph. Back then it was common to use the same textbooks for many years, no new editions every year. We were required to always keep a brown paper cover on each of our textbooks, and during the last day of school every year we had book repair day, when we erased any pencil marks on the pages and mended any tears with glassine paper strips and paste, not scotch tape, because it yellowed. In fact, in Catholic School we had some textbooks from as far back as 1932, and I attended that school from 58í thru 63í!


This post was last edited 07/02/2019 at 19:19
Post# 1036984 , Reply# 44   7/2/2019 at 19:13 by RP2813 (Too many people know the way)        

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For sure Eddie.  The Catholic school I attended from first through third grades was built in 1924 and we still had the original three-on-the-skis wooden desks with holes for inkwells, a lot of the books were old, and we were taught the Palmer Method for cursive writing. 


From fourth through eighth grades, that Catholic school was built in 1951 and had newer stuff. 


Even public schools seemed to use the same ALM Spanish book for decades.  I hit Spanish class the first year that ALM published a completely new edition, and it was welcomed by all.


Here's a rendering that still holds true today:




Post# 1036985 , Reply# 45   7/2/2019 at 19:28 by ea56 (Sonoma Co.,CA)        

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my Catholic school was built in 1936, and we had those same desks too, screwed to the runners, seats that folded up and inkwells. The school was heated with steam heat and we had radiators in the classrooms. As you know steam heat is not very common in California, even then it was a rarity. Once, the boiler broke down and we received a call in the early morning that there was no school that day, because it was winter and too cold without the heat working.

The teachers desk also sat on a platform, about a foot higher than the rest of the hardwood floor. This way sister could gaze out on the sea of 52 students before her and keep an eye out for any Tomfoolery.

Todays kids heads would explode if they traveled back in time to the way we were ďschooledĒ. It was the teachers that ruled the classroom, NOT the students OR the parents.

BTW, sorry to go so far off the track of the thread.


Post# 1036997 , Reply# 46   7/2/2019 at 22:33 by petek (Ontari ari ari O )        

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I learned a stick at 14 by "borrowing" my sisters bf's VW bug he'd left in my parents driveway, no one was home so I drove it around the block and didn't do too badly. It was some years later my first husband bought an old mid 60s Chev Biscayne or something with 3 on the tree and I managed to drive that a few times around New Westminster where we were living outside of Vancouver. I had a motorcycle so shifting wasn't too foreign. Somewhere in the next year or two, I'm forgetting, but after our "divorce" I had my bike and picked up an old mid 60s Fargo (dodge) shaggin wagin for rainy days. That was 3 on the tree as well. Couldn't kill that thing. Nextly I got myself a new demo 82 Volvo GL.. new hubby (and still current hubby) exclaims on seeing it. "You only bought that because you know I can't drive it" and I said I'd teach him and I did. Parts of metro Vancouver/Burnaby/North Vanc.have very hilly streets, similar to San Fran. Well that was fun teaching him..he'd be watching the streetlights a block or two ahead so he could time it to get through and avoid stopping on a red on a hill LOL.. if he timed it wrong,, he'd make a right turn wherever to keep going. Anyways long story short, he got the hang of it and ended up buying a standard Datsun pickup. Me, my back got worse and when the Volvo went that was my last stick shift,, but I still and always will have a bike to shift.
Fast forward to last week, our neighbor has a little Jeep CJ standard and he asked her if he could drive it. Its been about 20 years since he last drove a stick, but he just lit up driving that thing around the neighborhood while we sat on our front porch having cocktails .. So today as a matter of fact we went looking for a used Jeep Wrangler for a summer fun toy and found one, he gets it hopefully on Thursday.. We looked at a couple of other jeeps but they were automatics,, can't have that. So with this Jeep coming that effectively ends my hope of getting my boat tail Riviera or Electra.. but I'm good with it. Unless of course one shows up dirt cheap and in good condition LOL.

Post# 1037008 , Reply# 47   7/3/2019 at 04:33 by askolover (South of Nash Vegas, TN)        

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I've been shifting gears since I was 16 and I'm 48 now.  Oh sure I've had automatics too but usually at least one stick in the fleet...two times I had two in my fleet.  I've never driven a three on the tree.  My dad used to drive my grandfather's old GMC and I'd watch him but by the time I was ready to learn to drive they were just few and far between around here.  My first shifting experience was in a 1984 VW rabbit.  It was at the car lot up the street.  We went to test drive it and he pulled over on a non-busy road and let me have it.  I did just fine.  And I was hooked.  So my first new car was a 5sp.  My mother couldn't drive it so I taught her just in case she ever had to drive it in an emergency.  I enjoy driving them until the interstate gets backed up in Nashville and then I curse them.  Tony can drive them too...but I'm better haha

My manuals were:

1980 VW Rabbit diesel 4sp (get out and push...52hp)

1987 Chevy Nova (aka Toyota Corolla) wish I still had that car as it got 43 mpg

1993 Chevy S10 Tahoe

1995 VW GTI VR6

2001 VW Beetle TDI

Post# 1037046 , Reply# 48   7/3/2019 at 17:25 by Dustin92 (Jackson, MI)        

I've done it once and haven't had a lot of desire to drive a manual since. My only experience driving a stick was in an old VW Jetta that my dad wanted me to test drive "because it was a good car". I did fine in the parking lot but failed miserably once I was out on the road. I didn't grasp the concept that you need to use the clutch for "all" gear changes, not just starting from a stop.. So I more or less ground the gears down until they fit.. Then after driving for a bit, went to get off at our exit and my dad said to put it in 3rd..(5 speed) to which I promptly shifted into 1st and dumped the clutch.. While doing about 60 miles an hour. My dad almost came off the passenger seat while yelling at me to put in the clutch. I had the rpm's pegged and nearly threw us out of our seats. I continued up the exit ramp, stopped at the stop light and proceeded to stall out 5 or so times.. Dad said to get out and my driving lesson was over! We took the car back to the car lot and I've driven automatics ever since! I could probably manage a manual if I was by myself but I don't want somebody in the car with me, especially the owner of the car! I'm 26 now and I may learn one day, I may not. If not there are plenty of automatic cars available.

Post# 1037054 , Reply# 49   7/3/2019 at 17:59 by ea56 (Sonoma Co.,CA)        

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My most memorable experience driving a stick shift was in the 71í Ford Maverick that I owned from Nov. 81í until April 86í It was a great little simple car with 3 on the tree and a 200 cu in inline six.

Once when I had gone to Santa Rosa on an errand, and on my way home in downtown rush hour traffic I was stopped at a red light, first in line. The light changed and when I started to let my left foot rise off the clutch, the pedal remained on the floor! I was already in 1st gear, so I just gave it the gas and started to move, when the revs sounded right for the upshift to 2nd, I slide the lever up and towards the windshield to 2nd with my foot off the gas, once in gear I gave it the gas again and continued on. I thought, well I need to get home to Petaluma, about 10 miles away, so I just drove it this way, without the clutch all the way home, shifting up and down between all three gears as usual, just without the clutch. And amazingly, since I was familiar with how the engine should sound for each up and down shift, I didnít even grind the gears once!

The next day I took the car into my mechanic to have the clutch repaired. When I told the guy that I drove all the way home this way, without any problems, he told me it was because I was an experienced stick driver and because I knew how the engine should sound at each shift I was able to accomplish the drive sans clutch without damaging the transmission. And the fix was a simple one, the clutch linkage had just become disconnected, and once reattached it was as good as new.

That little Maverick was the only 3 on the tree car I ever owned, and I loved it! Shifting was easy and very little shifting was required. So simple and dependable and it got 25 mpg too. Plus, if I ever had a dead battery I could easily push start it. Todays cars have so much complicated electronic stuff, that when something goes wrong you are SOL until the tow truck arrives.


Post# 1037055 , Reply# 50   7/3/2019 at 18:10 by Yogitunes (New Jersey)        

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for every vehicle I have driven, the transmission gears are syncro-meshed...

the clutch is basically for idle/stop, and pulling out/reverse.....if you wanted from there, just let go the gas, shift and reapply the throttle....smooth shifts all the way out...some call it floating gears

to down shift, you just pull into neutral, a quick rev of the gas, and then shift to the lower gear...

I know, for some I just blew their mind, too much info into operating a vehicle...explains too why some buy a car that self parks!

if you can't parallel park, should YOU have a license?

I also think anyone with a license, should have to drive a MACK truck for one hour, bet you wont dart in front of one, and then slow down...ever again!!! know who you are!

Post# 1037056 , Reply# 51   7/3/2019 at 18:35 by wayupnorth (On a lake between Bangor and Bar Harbor)        

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My Silverado is just like driving a MACK but much nicer. Parking it is not easy with its size and no way would I try to parallel park, even with the beep beep sensors. All my manual transmission vehicles were syncromesh and you could shift without using the clutch if you knew how. We had a 51 Plymouth that was totally non syncromesh as a kid, use clutch or grind.

Post# 1037060 , Reply# 52   7/3/2019 at 19:33 by dartman (Portland Oregon)        
First car was a 42 GPW

Like said, my first car was 42 Ford GPW Jeep. I could drive it a bit but my best friend drove it more. Second car was a 41 1/2 ton military Power Wagon closed cab pickup with a winch. That one was a full non syncros straight cut gears crash box 4 speed with a granny low and 4:88 gears. Top speed was rated at 55 and low in first was 9. You had to double clutch it to shift, put in the clutch, shift to the next gear, let out the clutch for a micro second to manually synchronize the gear speeds, then back in and out to engage the clutch and continue on. It sounds harder then it is writing it out but once you get it it becomes second nature. Downshifting if you were brave was the same, EXCEPT you have to blip the throttle to get it to slide cleanly into the lower gear. Folks who drive large trucks and OLD vehicles should be familiar with the idea. I have always loved cars and trucks so I got used to exactly what it wanted to shift cleanly up or down and I could even upshift without the clutch on a good day. I now prefer a automatic for a daily driver, just a lot less fuss to drive to work and if it's a well made unit less maintenance. I still have third car, a 69 Dart with 318 and 727 automatic that I modified 340 specs as things broke or I found deals on better bigger parts. I put a stage 2 shift kit in it, a 4 bbl carb, 340 exhaust and a positraction 83/4 rear with 3.23 gears. When it was right at WOT it would shift to second at 5500 rpm and bark the tires hard enough on dry pavement to kick it sideways. Was much fun and every mod made me learn how to drive it all over again. I miss my Jeep and my Truck and the Dart is retired in the backyard but at this point I can figure out how drive anything you give me. I now drive a 95 Neon highline coupe because it is easy to fix, fun drive, and gets great mpg compared to the 9 to 12 mpg my last two "cars" got, plus it's not worth anything.

Post# 1037076 , Reply# 53   7/3/2019 at 23:03 by warmsecondrinse (Fort Lee, NJ)        
@ #3

I agree. I grew up halfway between Boston and Plymouth. Most families had 2 cars: a big one to hold the whole family and a small one dad drove to work. The family car was always an automatic and dad's was nearly always a stick.

There was NO public transportation so once you were old enough to start the license process your parents practically dragged you to the Registry (DMV). You passed your test ASAP on the automatic then learned to drive a stick. It was actually rather strange for a guy to have had his license more than a year or so and NOT know how to drive a stick.

Here in NYC it seems very few people know how to drive a stick.

"Hill holder"??? If you're stopped on a hill, don't you just hold the car stationary with the gas and the clutch and leave the brake alone?


Post# 1037085 , Reply# 54   7/4/2019 at 01:11 by earthling177 (Boston, MA)        

Jim, while that is something that some people like to do to show off, it's not something you want to do.

Doing that makes the clutch wear out waaay faster than normal, and, as more and more cars do not have a clutch anymore, it's getting more and more expensive to maintain, and you already have to change clutch pads at least once or twice every 100,000 miles to begin with.

There are multiple techniques, including stepping on the clutch and brake, you use the heel of your right foot to gently press the accelerator, slowly let the clutch up and when you feel it engaging, release the brake and proceed from there.

But, honestly, even that is completely unnecessary, once you get a good feel for the car you can start on the steepest hills just fine as if it were anywhere else. It's mostly experience, and once you have it, there is no reason to panic.

Also, like Louis mentioned, if you don't have enough experience with a particular car, there is no shame in using the emergency/parking brake either.

As a matter of fact, during the 80's (I don't know if this changed or not), I had friends living in England for their Post-Doc and they told me at that time that the government got tired of people being hit by cars when crossing the street because drivers would get distracted and release the clutch accidentally, putting the car in movement, so the law changed in such a way that one was *required* to engage the parking/emergency brake and put the car in neutral -- police officers would frequently patrol cars stopped waiting for the light and fine them if they saw any brake lights on, signaling the person was stepping on the pedals and did not have the parking brake engaged.

I dunno if people on automatic cars were subjected to the same thing, but I imagine they were probably required to at the very least put the car in Park, I never asked.

Post# 1037086 , Reply# 55   7/4/2019 at 02:12 by ea56 (Sonoma Co.,CA)        
Hill Holders were first introduced on Studebakerís

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in 1936. When the car is stopped facing uphill the driver depresses the brake and holds it, then depresses the clutch fully and releases the brake and the brake will remain engaged as long as the clutch remains depressed. Then to move forward, the accelerator is depressed while releasing the clutch just as usual and the brake is slowly disengaged as the car begins to move forward and is prevented from rolling back.

When I was new driver I taught myself to start out on hills without rolling back and without using the emergency brake in a Volkswagon. Itís really pretty easy once you get the hang of it, and the confidence that you wonít roll back if you coordinated the clutch and brake properly. Basically, you have to release then both perfectly simultaneously to prevent the car from rolling back. And even though itís possible to hold the car in place using both the clutch and gas, its a real big mistake, your clutch will wear out very quickly this way.


This post was last edited 07/04/2019 at 02:27
Post# 1037089 , Reply# 56   7/4/2019 at 02:49 by SudsMaster (East of SF, West of Eden, California)        

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I remember seeing that GMC truck about 20 years ago when I came to visit. It's a classic.

As I dimly recall, I took my driving test in college in Davis with a manual VW squareback that another guy in the dorm lent me. I think I passed. It was a little more challenging for me because I had grown up in SF with no car, so nearly all my driving experience was in a driver's ed class in high school. On automatics.

I have always much preferred stick shifts. But my first car was an automatic. A 12 year old ' 64 Plymouth Valiant. Still have it. Pushbutton tranny.

I do appreciate having an automatic, however, in heavy traffic or when I have a lower limb injury.

Seems to me automatics have improved dramatically over the past decade. Up to 9 speeds, and little to no difference in gas mileage vs a manual. Then there are the dual clutch autos, which offer the fuel efficiency and direct connection of a manual with the freedom from a foot clutch. Don't have one of those.

Currently 2 of my 3 registered and insured rides are manuals, both three on the tree. A '50 Plymouth and a '67 Chevy Van. The auto is a Chrysler 300m. Four speeds, about right for 1999. It's my daily driver, mainly because the other two have restricted collector car insurance. Have some other cars in storage, including a five speed Mitsubishi made '79 Plymouth pickup. Once I fix the motor (it probably needs a new head, they tend to crack and suck oil) I may get that back on the road. Some day.

I am thinking, now that I'm effectively retired, of fixing up the '67 Chevy Van and going on a long vacation with it, camping along the way as much as possible. But it's kind of awkward, mainly because the front suspension is leaf spring and very rough riding. And getting in and out of the thing gets harder every year, LOL.

Post# 1037090 , Reply# 57   7/4/2019 at 03:11 by foraloysius (Leeuwarden, the Netherlands)        

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Overhere you learn using the parking brake on a hill as the standard method. I can't remember learning to use the clutch and the brake at the same time. Ofcourse you find out later it is possible. But during the exam you're supposed to use the parking brake.

Post# 1037093 , Reply# 58   7/4/2019 at 05:56 by askolover (South of Nash Vegas, TN)        

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I'm good enough to keep from rolling backwards on a hill too in my Bug.  Believe it or not, 269K miles and still on the original clutch!  It's all interstate commuting for me (until the past couple of years that traffic is a little worse).  I'm so used to shifting sometimes I won't even realize I had to down/upshift for a traffic situation until after it's over and done with.  I've been driving the car for so many years I know exactly how it will respond. 

My grandfather, who was an old semi driver, told me how to shift without using the clutch.  I used to do it some but now I just clutch and go.


These days when I take my car in for a service or a windshield replacement I have to ask the person taking my keys if he/she can drive a stick. 

Post# 1037100 , Reply# 59   7/4/2019 at 07:20 by DaveAMKrayoGuy (Oak Park, MI)        

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No actual hands-on training for me, just watching it done, from a school bus, to the elementary school principal's Mazda, to my aunt/uncle's VW Rabbit while Dire Straits 1st album played in the tape deck...

And with my cousin's liking, and training from her parents, her cars took a natural taking to nearly everything having a manual transmission, until further in her marriage when both she and probably her hubby all along having automatics...

My mom drove the neighbor's across the street's Ford Escort with a stick, trying to turn me on to it, just for the neighbor's sister to buy an Escort with one, so her husband couldn't drive it, but then he bought a Honda we saw driving that had a 5-Speed Man.

A couple friends' first cars had sticks, in which one hated it, so he never touched another one, from his second car, onwards, whereas the other one was okay with it, and his was a few cars further down, getting "paid" that car (an Escort) for a remodeling project...

Another friend that I worked with, had all-manual transmission cars, but when he could afford to have two cars, in spite being single, his second somehow had an Automatic and it was his first car with air conditioning but rarely drove, just to buy a THIRD, which was a station wagon, a couple years older than the newer, second car, that, he bought used so I joked he started his own "Ford Escort collectors club" as that's what all these cars were, even owning one before I knew him, he had, before that first one that I rode with him in...

-- Dave

Post# 1037106 , Reply# 60   7/4/2019 at 08:56 by Kate1 (Idaho)        

It never occurred to me to just use the parking brake on a hill. I have always used the clutch and brake pedal. It probably comes from how I learned to drive stick. I just had it explained to me and then I drove around on some notably flat county roads before being sent out on my own. My first time on a hill I had to figure out what to do on the spot and it just made sense to use the clutch and brake pedal.

Post# 1037170 , Reply# 61   7/4/2019 at 22:43 by SudsMaster (East of SF, West of Eden, California)        

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A lot of older American cars do not lend themselves to using the parking brake easily while also operating the accelerator and clutch. Often they are buried under the left side of the dash, and one may have to lean forward awkwardly to activate or release them.

The parking brake lever between the front seats in an easily accessed position, with a push button release, is a relatively recent addition to American cars. I find it easier to just let the clutch drag a little to keep the vehicle from rolling backward, at least on slight inclines. A steep grade will require use of the parking brake, but with some planning (like motoring up to a level spot before stopping) can avoid that as well.

It's probably a reason why most traffic laws mandate giving the right of way to cars going up a grade.

Post# 1037173 , Reply# 62   7/4/2019 at 23:19 by foraloysius (Leeuwarden, the Netherlands)        

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I guess it is easier to not use the parking brake with an American car, especially bigger ones. They often have more torque than European cars. In the past only Mercedes had a foot pedal parking brake, other cars had them all between the seats.

Post# 1037174 , Reply# 63   7/4/2019 at 23:30 by LowEfficiency (Iowa)        

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They are different in both function and form.

Here's my take:
All emergency brakes are parking brakes, but not all parking brakes are emergency brakes.

The lever between the seats is often called an "emergency brake", as in the event of a brake failure, you can hold the button pressed and vary the amount of pull on the lever to come to a controlled stop. Thanks to the ratcheting mechanism, it doubles as a parking brake when not holding the button.

The foot pedal variety in SOME cars works the same way, as you can keep the release lever pulled and vary the pressure with your left foot to control your stopping. It's not ideal, as you have to dive under the dash to reach the release, but it's better than crashing.

But SOME cars have a push-on push-off style of pedal here, which really makes it a parking brake "only", and not a good emergency brake. With no practical way to modulate the braking force, and no way to release without fully applying, you could find your vehicle spinning out of control after locking up two of your wheels. Better than crashing from having no brakes, but not a good situation.

Some newer cars have the "electronic" parking brake, where a single button press applies or releases the parking brake. Basically a system designed around the fact that modern dual-circuit hydraulic primary brakes are reliable enough, that using that center space for cup holders is an acceptable tradeoff.

Post# 1037420 , Reply# 64   7/7/2019 at 14:48 by cadman (Cedar Falls, IA)        

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Don't forget a lot of those 'between-the-seats' parking brakes also disengage the headlights when applied. VW comes to mind there.

The wife's new toy is a '60 Corvair with 3-on-the-floor and non-synchro first. That takes some planning in situations where you might be pulling into a crowded parking lot, or rolling up to a red light that immediately turns green (with modern cars barreling down from behind). On the other hand, her 6-speed Sonic is a blast to drive. It also has a hill holder function which is handy since our driveway is a steep hill with a blind turn onto a county blacktop. I don't know what we'll replace that with when the time comes...manuals have all but dried up the last few years.

Post# 1037440 , Reply# 65   7/7/2019 at 20:10 by jamiel (Detroit, Michigan)        

Now that you describe it that's how the cab drivers in Lisbon did it----used the electronic parking brake in the Opel Insignia (Buick Regal last-gen) when coming to a stop to hold at a stopsign, then letting off the clutch and shifting into First to deactivate the pbrake.

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