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Hemmings Motor News has been around since 1954. We're proud of our heritage, but we're also more than the Hemmings full of classifieds that your father subscribed to. Aside from new editorial content every month in Hemmings, we have three monthly magazines: Hemmings Muscle Machines, Hemmings Classic Car and Hemmings Sports and Exotic Car.

While our editors traverse the country to find the best content for those magazines, we find other oddities related to the old-car hobby that we really had no place for - until now. With this blog, we're giving you a behind-the-scenes look at what we see and what we do during the course of putting out some of the finest automotive magazines you'll ever read.

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Rowing Your Own: Five Things to Know About Manual Transmissions

Posted July 01, 2021 3:00 AM by dstrohl
Pathfinder Tags: Manual Transmission muscle cars

Manual transmissions are an icon of the automobile hobby. The ability to operate a car with three pedals sets an individual apart from the mass of drivers who just see cars as point-a-to-point-b transportation. “Driving a stick” lends a certain air of mystery and adventure to a car owner.

Still, how many devotees of the clutch pedal can tell fact from fiction when it comes to the innards of their beloved gearbox? Most of us don’t know a lot more than the number of forward speeds and how many of them are synchronized. It doesn’t need to be that way. The selection, installation and maintenance of what was once called the standard-shift transmission can be quite straightforward.

From a three-on-the-tree to the seven-speed in a C7 Corvette, all manual transmissions have certain points of commonality. The muscle-car four-speeds of the '60s and '70s are likely the most familiar to Hemmings readers, but five-speeds like the Borg-Warner T-5 have been with us nearly 40 years. Even the beloved T-56 six-speed came on the scene in 1992, with the Dodge Viper. That’s a lot of accumulated knowledge. To get the latest information for gearjammers, we consulted with TREMEC dealer Silver Sport Transmissions. Discover five things to consider when contemplating a manual transmission in your ride.

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#1

Re: Rowing Your Own: Five Things to Know About Manual Transmissions

07/01/2021 7:25 PM

#6: Many car thieves won't know what the extra pedal is for or where the PRNDL lever is.

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#2
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Re: Rowing Your Own: Five Things to Know About Manual Transmissions

07/02/2021 4:01 AM

In the UK, manual cars still outnumber autos by a very large percentage.

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Re: Rowing Your Own: Five Things to Know About Manual Transmissions

07/02/2021 7:13 AM

A. Why?

B. Hopefully not for much longer. Electric cars don't need multiple transmission ratios.

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Re: Rowing Your Own: Five Things to Know About Manual Transmissions

07/02/2021 7:26 AM

I think because UK cars tend to be smaller & lighter than US cars plus fuel costs more (heavy taxation). Auto cars are seen as less efficient than manual so the economic choice is manual.

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Re: Rowing Your Own: Five Things to Know About Manual Transmissions

07/02/2021 3:30 PM

And stirring the gearbox is a lot more fun...

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Re: Rowing Your Own: Five Things to Know About Manual Transmissions

07/03/2021 11:07 PM

A: (1) Training & Licensing. If you train and take your driving test on a manual gearbox you are licensed for manual and automatic transmission. If you only train and test for automatics your license only covers automatics. So pretty much everyone learns on manuals to be on the safe side. Then decide they prefer them.

(2) Greater control in a country where if you don't like the weather just wait 10 minutes and it will change. Those who live in Wales, Scotland, or the North of England with the combination of hills and annual snow .... enough said.

(3) Cheaper to run. Fuel taxation MUCH higher in the UK so the MPG cost matters.

(4) Not a reason for most people but the Queen much prefers manual transmission and is a huge Land Rover Defender fan. She was an army mechanic during the war and proudly remains the only head of state who can strip down a gearbox.

B: Yep, electric transmission covers off much of the above. I don't have much experience of driving an electric on snow however. My factory-electric Citroen Berlingo van seemed OK but literally only drove it in snow about twice.

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