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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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Sports Cars Need Three Pedals

Posted October 06, 2021 4:00 AM by dstrohl
Pathfinder Tags: Manual Transmission

The recent unveiling of the 2023 Nissan Z was a salve that soothed my irritated, beleaguered new-car enthusiast soul. Here is a fresh sports car whose handsome, clean lines largely avoid current excessive-styling fads while gently recalling my favorite prior generations of Z-car. And the best part: its twin-turbocharged, 400-horsepower V-6 can be backed by a six-speed transmission, the correct kind with three (count ’em, 3!) pedals.

This introduction reassured me, following a few debuts of other cars that should--by all rights--offer keen drivers the option of full manual control and engagement. Now, I’m not blind. I know that new three-pedal cars are disappearing for numerous reasons, among them the difficulty of incorporating the modern safety/convenience features like automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control and so on, that many consumers demand. Manuals also can't beat the increased fuel efficiency provided by computer-controlled 8, 9 and 10-speed transmissions. And, of course, there's the overwhelming apathy of mainstream buyers towards the “work” of actually driving.

While I’m a weirdo and would prefer a manual gearbox in every vehicle that weighs less than, say, 5,000 pounds (another increasingly rare choice), I’ll concede such a setup would add little enjoyment to the driving experience of the average milquetoast crossover, minivan or full-size truck. But when it comes to cars that are intended to appeal to enthusiasts–sporty coupes and sedans, GTs, exotics and especially sports cars–I just can’t accept an automatic as a sole choice.

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#1

Re: Sports Cars Need Three Pedals

10/06/2021 8:14 AM

A rice burner Mustang?

Why do the seats look like plastic?

Well if they could get it under say 2800 lbs....It might be a contender....

Why don't these dash mounted video screens display computer readouts from the OBD x port and have an addressable system with 2 way communication ? ...instead you have to buy some third party cheesy crap...Why make my car intelligent when it won't speak to me, just some $100 an hour parts changer...?

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#14
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Re: Sports Cars Need Three Pedals

10/19/2021 1:08 AM

The seats look like plastic, because ... well they're most likely vinyl coated leather seats. Most leather seats have a thin clear coat of a vinyl like material.

The new Z car has the motor from the Infiniti Red Sport (400 hp). I've never driven one, so I can only guess that it's pretty powerful.

My complaint with the last couple generations of Z cars is the twitchiness. When the car breaks loose, the wheelbase is too short and it isn't well controlled. I've had a few customers get in bad accidents with their Z cars. The Infiniti cars have a little longer wheelbase and are easier to control when traction is lost.

I hope they fix the handling at the limit issue, because if they do, the car will be very impressive.

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#2

Re: Sports Cars Need Three Pedals

10/06/2021 8:34 AM

The majority of cars in the UK are still manual although, with new car sales, it's now fairly even between manual & auto. Don't know how this works in other countries but, in the UK, if you take a driving test in an automatic car, your license then restricts you to driving auto's whereas taking a test in a manual lets you drive both types.

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#3
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Re: Sports Cars Need Three Pedals

10/06/2021 8:51 AM

Nah, here in the US they just want to know if you know what the directional blinkers are used for, if you can put on a seatbelt, if you know what a stop sign/light means, and if you can parallel park....and the most important thing, can you afford insurance...

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#4
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Re: Sports Cars Need Three Pedals

10/06/2021 8:54 AM

"they just want to know if you know what the directional blinkers are used for"

In the UK that would exclude most BMW drivers.

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#15
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Re: Sports Cars Need Three Pedals

10/19/2021 1:10 AM

Hey, BMW drivers here in the US are not allowed to use turn signals. And the law states that they will receive a ticket if they're not driving at least 10 mph above the flow of traffic.

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#8
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Re: Sports Cars Need Three Pedals

10/07/2021 2:39 AM

Likewise in Aussie no stick to stir the porridge and crunch teeth you only get an Automatic license. Plus they do hill starts, reverse parks, three point turns because the roads are so s*** narrow you can't make a proper U turn.

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#5

Re: Sports Cars Need Three Pedals

10/06/2021 9:33 AM

If you painted the bottom third much darker, it would look better I think.....

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Re: Sports Cars Need Three Pedals

10/06/2021 6:01 PM

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#7
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Re: Sports Cars Need Three Pedals

10/06/2021 6:20 PM

Like he said, I too like that the car does not have those choppy, garish features and lines that seem to be common with so many cars aimed at the sport market. I don't want my car to look like a stealth fighter with huge grill openings like you're feeding a pair of after-burning jet engines.

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Re: Sports Cars Need Three Pedals

10/08/2021 10:23 AM

My design rev...

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#16
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Re: Sports Cars Need Three Pedals

10/19/2021 1:12 AM

Roof line looks too low. Needs a bit of curvature too.

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#10

Re: Sports Cars Need Three Pedals

10/10/2021 2:46 AM

You’re missing out. What about the choke on the carburettor and the advance/retard lever on the ignition? Real men use a starting handle.

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#11
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Re: Sports Cars Need Three Pedals

10/10/2021 10:57 AM

My first car was a '59 Renault Dauphine. It had a rear engine with a hole in the bumper for a starting crank. No way could anybody start that thing with the crank! Had 26 hp, 52 cu. inch 4 banger, 3 speed on the floor, can't recall a hand choke (but probable), no spark timing control... I replaced the stock cam with a 3/4 grind version from J.C.Whitney. Still wasn't a sports car, though. Those were the days.

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Re: Sports Cars Need Three Pedals

10/13/2021 5:17 AM

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#18
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Re: Sports Cars Need Three Pedals

10/19/2021 1:20 AM

26 hp. The car must've been very light.

JC Whitney was a few miles from my college. The actual store was called Warshawsky, but the catalog was JC Whitney. The fenced in parking lot was across the street from the store, with a guard in a tall guard tower. This is 1980's South Side of Chicago - State Street. Not far from the projects.

I remember going there once and I was worried about parking in front of the store in the street. I felt safer parking in the guarded lot!

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#13

Re: Sports Cars Need Three Pedals

10/14/2021 1:40 AM

You’re missing out. What about the choke on the carburettor and the advance/retard lever on the ignition? Real men use a starting handle.

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#17

Re: Sports Cars Need Three Pedals

10/19/2021 1:15 AM

Here's what a real 240Z is worth. Someone paid $310,000 for a pristine one. Is this a $310,000 car?

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#19

Re: Sports Cars Need Three Pedals

10/19/2021 1:32 AM

I love driving a stick, as long as it's not stop and go traffic. But, I did drive a Porsche Cayman with a PDK and paddle shifters. The car is amazing and I have to agree with Porsche - the car is quicker with the PDK vs manual. Rev matching is perfect - not like humans. And shifts are lightning quick - again faster than humans. In automatic mode (not using the paddles) the car anticipates your next move (more throttle or braking) and it knows which gear to be in - it's very impressive. You focus on driving fast, both hands on the wheel and foot on the brakes, then gas, then brake!

If I were to buy a new GT4 Cayman, would I get the 6 speed manual or 7 speed PDK? If the price were the same, I'd do the PDK, but $3,200 extra ... I think the manual would be my choice.

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