The conventional wisdom is that Americans don’t buy manual transmission cars. While that’s largely true for vehicles like a Nissan Sentra, it turns out Americans do overwhelmingly prefer stick-shifts when the right car comes along. For example, 90 percent of Subaru WRX and 76 percent of Mazda Miata soft-top buyers choose to row their own gears. The purer the car, the more standard transmissions are selected. The Porsche 911 GT3 has a 70 percent take rate, while non-GT3 911 models hover between 20 to 25 percent. And then there are oddbal stats, like the fact that 78 percent of Subaru BRZ customers get the manual, as opposed to only 33 percent of Toyota 86 buyers.
These figures give us hope that the desire to learn how to drive stick will exist as long as carmakers give us cars worth driving. It might be a good time to see how we can pass this skill along (We’re assuming that if you’re reading JNC you know how to drive a manual. If not you can still answer the question; just tell us why you haven’t learned).
How did you learn to drive a manual?
The most entertaining comment by next Monday will receive a prize. Scroll down to see the winner of last week’s QotW, “What do you actually drive?”
The simple question of what car you drive received one of the most overwhelming number of responses since we started QotW. We were also quite surprised to learn that a large number of readers don’t own an old Japanese car of their own (but we’re glad you’re here anyway!).
The answers could be split up into several categories. First are the intrepid souls who drive their JNCs every day, like jamal mansour‘s Kenmeri Skyline, Negishi no Keibajo‘s Suzuki Samurai, Jim Simpson‘s Toyota Sera, F31Roger‘s Infiniti M30, or Greyfox‘s Nissan NX2000, just to name a few.
Then of course there were readers who drove modern Japanese cars, such as Dimitry Mochkin‘s 2014 Honda Fit, Rapp’s Rapp Scion FR-S, Ian G‘s Honda Element, BlitzPig‘s 2013 Honda Accord Coupe V6 manual, or Socarboy‘s 2009 Nissan Frontier. Some had even owned multiple examples. dankan‘s on his third Toyota Corolla, a 2020 model, and Mike P has owned four Scion xBs. Others turned their modern daily drivers into projects as well, like Alan‘s wickedly modified Subaru Outback or Ernie‘s bullet-like 2007 Yaris.
Then there were those who drive non-Japanese cars. Dave Pattten‘s Ford Transit Connect work truck complements his fleet of Datsun 510s. Marwin dailies a 2005 Accent to preserve his 1983 Mitsubishi Galant. CycoPablo drives a Hyundai Elantra while his CRX is under construction. Kieron enjoys the modern conveniences of a Mercedes C300 while building his Datsun 510 race car. KevinH shuffles between his Fiaat 500 Abarth, Chrysler Pacifica, and 1979 Toyota Corona. Tom Westmacott drives a C55 AMG Estate to offset his FD RX-7. My_Fairlady_ZFG drives a W124 Mercedes E300 to perserve his Datsun 240Z. And Chris has an Alfa Romeo 156 Sportwagon to pair with is Eunos Roadster S Special. Hyundais and Mercedes seemed to be the most popular non-Japanese choices.
Our favorite category were the readers who drove a modern car of the same marque as their classic. Andrew H drives a Corolla Hybrid so he can build his Toyota Crown. Ben E. dailies a 1995 Corolla Wagon while keeping an A70 Supra and RA64 Celica as fun cars. MikeRL411 alternates between his Datsun RL411 and Infiniti J30. Yuri bought a BRZ tS specifically as a future JNC to go with his A70 Supra and AE86. Speedie‘s 2010 Mazda 3 goes with his RX-8. Chris‘s RAV4 helps keep the miles off his two classic V20 Camrys. And Mr Bill has an Infiniti G35 manual to complement his S13 Nissan 240SX.
The winner this week in a very competitive field, was RotorNutcase who gave us a chuckle with his Brady Bunch-themed answer: