It’s time to take full control.
You so shouldn’t be reading this while driving, but this Ape would bet that if we were a passenger in your car he’d see a P, followed by an R, a D, and 2 lower gears. Correct me if I’m wrong…
…ain’t that some shit? We understand that not everyone is going to be an avid car enthusiast, but at the same time, we think that a lot of the driving experience is being lost to technology. With the onslaught of shared ride services (not that we’re knocking this, we’re sure DUIs have gone down significantly), self-driving cars (okay, it’s only Tesla and Google…for now), and cities improving their public transport, we feel that people are forgetting that driving is more than a means to an end. To some of us, at least, it’s more than just getting from point A to B–it’s about the journey. Sliding into the driver seat means going fast enough to feel the wind on your face (even if it’s just to the next traffic light). It means feeling every other bump on the road and looking 12 seconds ahead to the next curve to understand your environment and how to navigate it. It means getting goose bumps right before you tap the redline as your engine is roaring, waiting to drop into the next gear, a gear you dropped it into. More generally, though, we’re very much about cars that allow you to make driving an experience, but it starts at the gear box. Sure, there’s plenty of tiptronic cars out there–paddle shifters and whatnot–that allow you to control the gears, but unless you’re driving a Ferrari and that double clutch is shifting in fractions of a second, the tiptronic is not justified (in OUR opinion…you’re entitled to your own). We’re not about to start a movement, but the following is why we believe in driving manual transmissions.
Manual transmission cars put you in control of the car, not the other way around. No matter the car, an automatic transmission dictates your driving style. Even if your car has some type of sport settings, it’s deciding for you what that means–notwithstanding cars that adjust suspension and brakes, that is (this just helps). If you want to drive economically, go for it. But if you want to get aggressive, push those RPMs, homie.
Coupled with the suspension, ECM (the car’s computer), and chassis, a manual transmission allows you to experience the drive better. An automatic transmission will shift to whatever gear will make the drive more comfortable (fine…not the cars with “sport” settings). When you drive a manual transmission, you are an essential part of the drive, you literally make the car work, and all things considered, you make the drive–Ape (human in your case) and machine become one. It’s a great feeling.
Driving stick allows you to get to know your car on a more intimate level (oo la la…). Every time you engage and disengage the clutch, you are literally separating the engine’s power from the wheels. This allows you to get a feel for the different parts of your car– the engine, the transmission, and the wheels. If anything is ever wrong, trust us, you’ll know.
Without a doubt, it’s more fun and more badass to drive stick shift. There’s nothing worse than seeing a nice sports car, and then getting into it only to find out it’s automatic. No one ever asks if your car is stick shift without immediately thinking you’re freaking cool for having one. We understand that some cars are actually made worse with a manual transmission (looking at you, new M3 and M4), but frankly, you’re probably not getting a car to break track records, you’re not an editor at Jalopnik, and you’re not going driving in Monaco. This Ape drives an FR-S. It’s not the fastest nor most expensive car, but holy crap is it fun.
Do yourself a favor. Learn how to drive stick shift (the homie, Andy, at Primer has this ridiculously awesome guide), and enjoy the drive.