QotW: When is it okay to buy an automatic transmission?

142dh5580_Toyota Corona RT52

When considering what new cars will be future classics, JNC‘s Law of Transmission Selection for Future Collectability states: if it’s sold with a stick, you must buy it in stick. Yes, fancy new gearboxes can shift faster than a human being, many supercars aren’t even offered in MT, and the law is often in direct conflict with our Law of Engine Selection for Future Collectability: you must buy it with the most powerful engine option offered.

But in the old days, every car was offered with a manual, from the lowliest Subaru 360 to the grandest Toyota Crown. Plus, those old slushboxes were power-leeching whirlpools that needed at least one — more likely two — extra speeds to make you feel comfortable about highway driving.

When is it okay to buy an automatic transmission?

What say you, dear reader? As always, the most entertaining or inspiring comment by next Monday will receive a toy. Click through to see the winner of the last QotW, “What’s the greatest JNC barn find story?” 

Cressida Wagon MX36

We received some really great stories about JNCers going through great lengths to acquire the car of their dreams. From Otso‘s discovery of a Skyline Japan in Finland to Josh‘s relic-to-SEMA-show-car Fairlady Z, you would think these guys were after the holy grail. The winner by a slim margin though, is dickie‘s tale of his epic quest to fetch a Cressida wagon from deep within meth country, USA.

I wish my ’79 Cressida wagon had been barn-stored.

I got a call out of the blue from a friend notifying me an old Cressida in Tulsa, OK. Attempts to contact the seller resulted in mass emails from different addresses, one claiming to be the current owner and one an acquaintance trying to help her sell the thing. I was able to piece a solid account of the car together and get some pictures of the necessities. The asking price was high and I had no intention of paying for the car with a bill of sale only – no title – and arranging for transport to my home some 312 miles. Especially sight unseen.

The car was apparently still available weeks later. Its presence was a constant bug in the back of my head. At the time, there were only a couple first generation Cressidas that I could find using Google: Lloyd’s and another wagon that belonged to someone in WA who had slammed it on Enkei 92′s. I found myself with some extra cash and literally nothing better to do, so I made plans for an impromptu road trip to check it out. I loaded my new girlfriend into my Miata and set off on the 8 hour drive Northbound.

I’m just going to throw this out there for those of you looking for free relationship advice: if you can drag a girl across a state spending 8 hours in a small, cramped car with no air conditioning and 110db in cabin exhaust volume and she stays with you – KEEP HER!

So we made pretty good time on the way there, mostly highway driving with light traffic and no law enforcement. As we approached our destination, Google maps started pointing me toward sketchier backroads and dirt turnoffs in what could best be described as Meth country. But I had traveled too far to abort the mission, so we pushed on. I was working with an address that I had pulled from exif data in the pictures the seller had emailed me. That’s right, I had no idea the car would even BE there when we arrived because the seller and her accomplice had dropped out of communication just before I decided that I had to see the car in person. Google did its best to route me to the location, but roads that it indicated simply did not exist. I had to resort to finding my way to the dot on the map 20 minutes from civilization in any direction.

After driving in circles looking for a route, we came to a small house right off the gravel road. There, parked under a shade tree and looking forlorn in the overgrowth was the car. A weathered and sun baked piece that nobody would have looked at twice if they didn’t know exactly what it was. If I didn’t rescue it, odds are it would have continued to sit untouched for another two decades until it finally succumbed to weather or scrap haulers eventually turning their attention to the more remote locales.

There was an immediate problem: nobody seemed to be around. I don’t just mean the house – there was literally not another soul to be seen or heard for miles. I walked up and down the fence line at the edge of the property, stretching my legs and trying to get as good of a look as I possibly could from the 30 feet or so that separated me from my prize. The car looked relatively complete, some missing trim was apparent around the faux-wood vinyl and the driver side window had been smashed out and replaced with a black garbage bag. I couldn’t tell whether the car had sunk into the ground or the tires had simply gone flat. The back of the cabin was full of junk and the roof and hood were covered in maybe a decade’s worth of tree poop. Most troubling was the fist-sized oxidation encrusted hole just behind the passenger side rear wheel.

Needless to say, my company wasn’t impressed. I believe her exact words were, “we drove all that way for this?” I was seriously in deep shit if I didn’t make good on our trip soon. I began to feel helpless, attempts to call the friend of the seller proved fruitless – the number reported that it had been disconnected, obviously relatively recently as I had only spoken to less than a week prior to our trip. I kicked gravel and weighed my options. It was a rough car, and I’d come with a bottom dollar offer in mind. I estimated a 50/50 shot at driving away with the car, but if I couldn’t even pitch my case what good was it?

I summoned the courage to see about unlatching the gate – a risky proposition considering the lay of the land. As if I had tripped some sort of delayed invisible trip wire, a farm truck came barreling up the road in a cloud of dust. I affected my best impression of an innocent city boy out of his element and walked to the open window. I was greeted by the wary gaze of a guy about my age, sizing me up as either harmless or trouble. He was apparently the son or grandson (it could have been both?) of the seller, and he granted me access to take a closer look, although he seemed amused that anyone would even want the “piece of shit foreign” car that had been discarded so long ago that he couldn’t remember. He drove off after obtaining my promise to shut the gate before I left but provided no clues as to who I could talk to about buying the wagon.

Close-up, the car didn’t look much worse – or better – than it had from ten yards. The paint was probably not saveable. It had originally been bright red but thousands of days exposed to the elements had given it a faded and weathered patina. The remnants of the window were scattered across the interior, which had probably played home to at least a few generations of critters over the years. The tires were dry rotted, there was a dent in the hood that might have come from an unlucky pedestrian and there was evidence of a valve cover gasket leak and some sort of homebrew electrical goings-on under the hood. Strangely enough, I wasn’t deterred in the slightest. In fact, my head was already swimming in visions of busted knuckles and grease-stained t-shirts. I had to have this car.

I walked back to the Miata with a grin on my face and packed up my girlfriend for the return trip. We made it home just after dusk and went to bed totally exhausted from the trip. Instead of sleeping, I worked through plans and contingencies to make sure that the wagon ended up in my driveway somehow, some way.

I finally heard back from the seller weeks later – the car was still for sale and I was going to meet her on a Saturday to pick it up. This time I brought a more willing and capable companion in the form of my dad, and we made the trip in his truck. I was certain I could tow-strap the car back to Texas if I absolutely had to, but being an optimist I brought jumper cables and a battery with me. We stopped at the last auto parts chain on the way to our destination and picked up and filled a 2 gallon gas can, a jug of oil, a jug of coolant, starting fluid and a can of fix-a-flat.

We found the house much quicker the second time around. This time the seller was waiting for us, an elderly woman shadowed by a shy little mutt. She gave me some history on the car, let me know it had been parked at least 10 years ago and that it ran and drove up to that time. They bought the car from the dealer new and it was “top of the line” in its day. Since then it had served as the family’s primary mode of transportation, then had a brief second life as a utility vehicle on their land before being passed down to a son who needed something to get him to and from the bar. The smashed window and the shady electrical work had been his doing. Probably the human sized dent in the hood, too. There was no title, but she could provide a notarized bill of sale. My dad and I looked it over more thoroughly this time, opening the doors and assessing the wear with grim faces to mask my enthusiasm any time I caught the old lady looking.

Finally I told her I’d like to try and drive it before I handed over any money. She agreed but said she couldn’t vouch for it’s ability to start up, much less make a trip of any length greater than the ruts in the dirt that it occupied. I checked the oil, black but full to the top of the mark. The radiator was bone dry, so we filled it up. I hooked up our battery and checked the car for power. We emptied the gas can into the tank and hit the carb with a couple blasts of starting fluid. I gave the gas pedal 2 pumps and turned the key… and the car fired up and settled to a steady idle on the third crank. I kicked the tires, walking around as i watched for leaks and listened for anything signaling some catastrophic mechanical failure from the years of neglect, but I was pleasantly surprised to find nothing immediately wrong and nothing burst into flames!

The car shifted into Drive and worked its way out of the ruts slowly, then made it out onto the street with little effort. I had it chugging up to 45mph on the nearest pavement I could find, shifting seemed to be okay, tires held air and the brakes stopped the car reasonably well despite squealing in protest. I had the keys and bill of sale in my hand and I was on the road no less than half an hour later. I made the 8 hour trip back home through the reservations and their awesome natural scenery, and on the way spotted a used car lot with an MX62 Cressida wagon and an old Medium Blue pickup with an impressive offroading stance.

The only hiccup came when I tried to turn on the headlights as dusk approached only to find out there were none. So with my dad’s truck running blocker on my tailgate, we raced sunset to make it back to my driveway. The feeling of the return trip with the AM radio playing through the single dash-mounted speaker and all of the windows down was something I’ll never forget. I felt like the wagon was happy to be back on the highway doing what it was built for, and the fact that all it needed to make the long trip home was some fluids topped-off and a fresh battery is a testament to the “unkillable” Toyota legend.

Omedetou, Your comment has earned you a rare Hot Wheels Super Speeders mystery pack Mazda RX-7!



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47 Responses to QotW: When is it okay to buy an automatic transmission?

  1. Jdmrx2 says:

    After much pondering and excuse making the answer simply is “It’s not”.

  2. DmK66 says:

    It’s OK if you only have one leg.

    • Tj says:

      If that were ever to happen to me I’d adapt a motorcycle style hand operated clutch before ever buying anything with an auto.

  3. Nigel says:

    It is only ok when it is a rescue and the car has an uncertain future. (ie May be crushed.)
    And you have the $200 bucks to save that great old car, even if it has a slushbox.

  4. DGH says:

    If it’s the only one you can find for sale.

    My GC210 wasn’t even on the market, I would see it down a street near by. I noticed that it was in the car park of the local bottle shop I left a note offering to buy it, time passed no answer. One day my father asked who owned it in the bottle shop, we checked it out the owner was happy to sell it!.

  5. Brian says:

    Its always ok. Not everyone can drive manual and autos give those folks a way to enjoy JNCs.Also, its especially ok if youre planning an engine/trans swap.

  6. Ian says:

    1988-1989 Toyota MR2 Supercharged. In their day, it was the fastest 0-30mph production car available. Yes the Ferrari F40 was slower to 30. I believe this is the one A/T exception and they will probably be more valuable as collector’s cars than their M/T counterparts.

  7. Bear says:

    It’s ok when you can use the excuse “But we can both drive it” after rocking up at home without even telling the missus you were looking for a car.

  8. acbpanda says:

    When is it okay to buy an Automatic? HONDA.

  9. jivecom says:

    i have two answers to this, neither one JNC-centric
    1: The BMW E46 M3 CSL, the best BMW of the last 45 years, wasn’t available with a normal manual, and is the best BMW in spite of this, although the recent 1M comes petty close
    and 2: if you are a truck driver and any slight change in speed means 5 or 6 physically demanding changes, you won’t really want to do it anymore, but you have to do it all day every day because driving is your job

    • jivecom says:

      and another thing, it’s ok to buy an auto car if it’s the car you want. manuals are fun, but if the only reason you want a manual is because you’re seeking the approval of people on the internet who think every car should be an awd diesel wagon with a 5 speed in brown, then you’re just wasting the car and you don’t deserve ot

  10. pete says:

    Unless you have lost a leg, or will be converting it to manual, an auto is unacceptable pure and simple.

  11. ken says:

    After several re-writes, here is the answer. It is always perfectly acceptable to buy a JNC in autotragic. We are in this game not for the monetary reward. Who gives a flying flip if it is auto. We are JNC’ers, if we want a stick we will by god make it a stick, even if it means searching the far ends of the globe for that one part we need. We are about saving these noble beast of the wild. We do not join the game for the fame and recognition of having paid the most or sold it for the highest. We see these cars for the sum of the parts and not the amount of money spent. If it means saving one from the crusher and giving it a peaceful retirement in the garage or paddock, we will do it! Autotragic be damned! I proudly rock my auto-slushbox equipped MX72… besides, haters gonna hate!

  12. ken says:

    Oh yeah, crazy enough, I almost bought the winning entry myself, but didn’t due to the crazy communication received from the sellers as chronicled above. Even if I had bought the car, it would not have made nearly as good a story as his. I only live an hour or so from where the car was. I was very glad to see the car saved, not to mention, it is an auto, which only supports my above statements!

  13. The black CRX says:

    When is it ok? When the car it’s in makes it worth it. Though back in the day it seemed that 80% of the new Japanese cars were manual, today it seems 80% of the survivors are automatic. Perhaps it’s because the little old ladies who inadvertently created the survivors by not using them up — or using them much at all — preferred them. And as we all know, JNCs are something we have to find, not order up in the specs we wish.

    That’s the story behind my 18,000-mile ’80 Accord LX, and while I wish it were a 5-speed, the automatic is certainly something I can live with on a car whose originality I intend to preserve. Yes, the tach needle keeps pace with the (federally required 85-mph) speedo on the highway. But it’s a Honda… so if you don’t look at the gauges, it’s actually quite happy to quietly sing along at 4,500 rpm for several hours of 70-mph cruising. Of course, I’d love to have two more gears, including an overdrive. Actually, I’d love to have just a 1:1 top gear! (3rd is actually 1.032:1.) But I’d rather have this car as it is than modify its incredible originality, or not have it.

    Thankfully I have my CRX from which to enjoy not just a proper manual, but a Honda stick that’s still so smooth you can shift it with two fingers.

    Oh, another time when it’s ok: If having the automatic gets you a cool emblem on the car that splashes a name like “Toyoglide” or “B-W Full Automatic” in glorious chrome. Then again, seeing “Full Synchro” or “5 speeds” (in plural form… thanks, Datsun) is nice, too.

  14. Eljay71 says:

    When it has a name that sounds slightly like lubrication used for bedroom activities. Toyoglide,in other words.

  15. gaijinshogun says:

    When it’s a Toyota Century or Nissan President

  16. Thomas says:

    It’s always acceptable, just lie about it while posting.

    Remember: on the internet, everybody drives a stick.

  17. Mike says:

    When is it OK, when the car is the right kind of car for it. I’d roll a Cedric or Gloria in auto, likewise a Century or President. A Crown wagon with an auto would be sweet as in my book!

    Really, it comes down to the feel of the car, is it a cruiser? Then yes. To me though, that means at least 6 cylinders, old 4’s and autos just aren’t good news.

  18. timmy201 says:

    It’s sometimes a bonus to buy an automatic old Mazda, like a rwd 323. The auto body cars have a bigger transmission tunnel which accepts the rotary gearbox a lot easier than the manual body cars..

  19. Jim-Bob says:

    Well, there are a few times it is OK to do so. Number one is if you are somehow physically incapable of driving a manual transmission model. Number two is when it is an otherwise very decent car with no rust and you intend to use it for a shell to build. (I actually did this with one of my Geo Metros!) Number three is when it is a very rare car in any transmission and you were lucky just to find one (I.E. a Skyline or Staega in the USA). Number four is if you want it for bracket drag racing and need the consistency of an automatic. Finally, it is OK to buy an automatic for a parts car.

  20. tristinGrind says:

    Ive got two responses to this:

    The first is that if youre a true fan of whatever youre driving, an automatic transmission should never stop you from owner your dream car. An automatic transmission, no A/C, small engine, etc. should never stop you from purchasing, driving, and loving your car. If a simple insignificant part of a car can stop you from realizing your dream then maybe it wasnt a real dream.

    The second is not everyone needs to shift at will. I used to drive high horsepower newer cars for years and once I got into the JNC game I realized I just wanted to cruise and enjoy the trip. I dont want to worry about the right time to shift or anything that requires me to divert my attention from the pleasurable drive. I just want to sit back and cruise. Its true, you lose some power due to the older auto gearing, but you can easily make up for it in added engine components or simply not care about high power. The second issue can easily be highway RPMs. With a 5-speed you can drop your RPMs and improve your MPG… but sometimes when youre driving, who cares?

    I dont think anything should stop you from getting behind the wheel and enjoying the road.

    • erikfm says:

      Damn, very well said. The first part anyway. I prefer to cruise and enjoy the connection with my car whilst shifting, it makes me feel like I really understand her, and that every mistake is my own and not hers.

      • tristinGrind says:

        I acknowledge that there are those out there that think shifting makes you feel closer to the car. You tell it when to do what and when not to. I wont fault anyone for wanting to do that.

        For me, I dont care about that anyone. I had once vowed to never own an automatic. Now I daily drive a 3spd auto 1969 Datsun 510 and I have zero issues. Dont have to worry about changing a bunch of gears around town, anyone can hop in my car and go if need be, and I dont have to pay attention to shifting when Im enjoying the scenery go past.

        Some cant do that. To each their own… we all have different driving styles. But I think that once again to answer the question, is an automatic transmission should never stop you from owning a car. If it does… youre not a true fan. Id save every Datsun if I could: auto, manual, wagon, or rusted.

  21. Diego says:

    When it happens to be one of the true last original cars out there! I have yet to see any 1200s like this one; http://japanesenostalgiccar.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=21127
    Well worth the buy, and will be making it out to shows soon.

  22. Matt says:

    I would say either in a JNT (Japanese Nostalgic Truck) or if the car has came that way from the factory

  23. Casey Hawkins says:

    on a quick story… i was at a freinds shop bs’n one day when he told me of an 82 honda prelude sitting in a junkyard of a guy he did some bussiness with.. when he first told me of this i though he meant 92 specially by no means being a honda guy (i am a toyota guy at heart and always will be) i didnt know thaty preludes even when back that far honestly… well couple days later went down to the yard to check out this “82” prelude i assumed was a ten year newer model and to my surprise a mody style prelude i have never expeirenced..i instantly fell in awe and shock with the square sharp 80’s style body lines i have always been a fan of and upon further inpsection…. a 3 speed automatic… and this seriously detered me from a purchase and as soon as i mentioned it to a freind he proved a very good point… when was the last time i seen one… and being my first its still the only one i’ve seen in person.. long story short car was destined to be crushed and turned into coke cans but instead i drive it to this day and still love it even for it being an automatic, failmatic, failmission… whatever you wanna call it i love the fuck out of my auto prelude and to know i saved a classic honda from its final fate of being a beverage can makes it that much sweeter…

    so to answer it should always be appropriate to buy an automatic especially to save a peice of import car history that many have forgotten

  24. Jason says:

    Its OK to run a slush box when youre low and all you can do is go slow…
    Auto are cool…said no ever in the history car-dom.

  25. Baskingshark says:

    Whenever the AT has a cool name like “Toyoglide” or “Hondamatic”.

  26. Anthony Cunningham says:

    When it’s a Mazda Cosmo 20B as that’s the only way they came.

  27. jon says:

    Drag Racing or low and slow cruising.

  28. j3wman says:

    If it says Hondamatic its already good to go. If the Automatic transmission was a groundbreaking transmission (ie: Hondamatic), like when it uses a completely different style of transmission compared to all other automatics.

    Also if the car is rare enough it is okay, ive seen only 1 1980 Toyota Corona Wagon in my life and it was automatic, my friend bought it knowing this and it is totally okay because the car still breaks necks everywhere it goes.

  29. Dutch 1960 says:

    An old school rotary (pre RX7) with an automatic means that when you swap it for a manual box (which you will do), the lightened aftermarket flywheel is a drop-in without hunting for special parts or rebalancing the engine components.

  30. Tim says:

    It’s fine if the car in question was only ever offered with an automatic. There’s not much you can do there and not everyone has the time, money, tools, etc. to do a manual swap.

  31. cesariojpn says:

    As a Daily Driver. Cause you never know when you accidentally stall at a red light, or shift into reverse and hit the 5-figure Mercedes behind you. An Automatic doesn’t do that……

    …….till the fucking solenoids fail and can’t get into gear. .

  32. Eljay71 says:

    Seriously,it’s always OK. Why anybody would be qualified to define motoring bliss for others is beyond me. “Cred” is dead. Do whatever feels right to you.

  33. Greylopht says:

    I just have to say. While I love a third pedal, there are some cars that really do waft along with a autobox. A old Crown perhaps. Yes yes that has been done. How about a T60 or T70 Corona MK II I mean the styling is conductive to a larger American saloon car, and well with the 8R/18R it has the torque to waft you along in a bit of style. Be it stock or be it a form of lowered sled. Of course this goes double with the T40/T50’s with the nice column selector and bench seat. I mean this cruising nostalgia. The 12R may clatter a bit but it will waft you with a slush box in such a way that if you calm your mind. You just can not be rushed, be dammed the people behind you.

    There is just no other Japanese car that feels so at home with a lazy motor and a lazy gearbox that is for the purpose of going A to B in a decent amount of time and never to be rushed. The car really wants to soothe your brow and cosset you home. And if you drive them as such, they really do. Only one other platform of any car I have owned has done the same. That is another story.

    The T40 to T70 has to be the one really. Sure third gen Accords shift better, but for true cruise ability that just wafts you along and never intrudes, those have to be the ones. Slow, well yes. Underpowered, well of course. Loveable? Every time, you just touch the throttle and you leave a stoplight at a reasonable pace for a reasonable gentleman.

  34. Will says:

    After driving my 84 Celica Supra L-type for 2 years, half of that as a daily driver… I’ve grown fond of the automatic. I planned on swapping a standard transmission in it initially… but after seeing how much a pain it can be, and the auto growing on me…why not keep it and not do what seemingly everyone else with a Celica Supra automatic does?

  35. jhun_hapi says:

    For me a truck or wagon needs to be automatic. Especially if you drive around in San Francisco a lot its a bitch to drive a stick with a foot brake or no parking brake. But also sometimes its also nice to drive auto when your stuck bumper to bumper LA traffic.

  36. dickie says:

    Arigato Ben!

    The subject of last week’s answer serves as my example for my response this week too.

    I got the wagon home, but I had no idea what I was going to do with it long-term. I knew I’d have to sort out getting it titled in my state, insuring it and dealing with whatever repairs it would need. It managed to survive 60-65mph for a constant 8 hours but there were the aforementioned electrical gremlins to account for, the oil spots that accumulated on my driveway over time, the disconnected power steering and smog pumps… Not to mention whatever other costly repair could be lurking just around the corner. Getting the 4M back into shape was going to cost me at least as much as a new engine and it definitely wouldn’t return on the investment the way an updated drivetrain would.

    I knew from the beginning that I was going to swap this car. What I couldn’t figure out was which direction I wanted to go. At different times I had researched and inspected several different options including the 2JZ-GE, 1UZ, KA24DE from a 240sx or hardbody, 2 or 3RZ from a Toyota pickup, even a Cummins 4BT from a wrecked panel van caught my eye. The one thing they all had in common: I never once considered putting a manual transmission behind them.

    For me it was a no-brainer – there were a dozen reasons to forgo adding a third pedal to the wagon. First and foremost, I never planned on doing anything with the wagon that would necessitate a stick shift. At the very least, it would be a cool cruiser to fill with friends and coolers for weekend tubing trips or tailgating at Rangers games and drift events. At most, i envisioned some form of tow rig with a stepped-up hitch and reinforced frame to haul a small trailer for my Miata. The thought of caging the bitch, throwing in a Mk I Supra rear and whipping it around the local cone parks and road course had – very fleetingly – crossed my mind, but replacing the one busted window had been hard enough, trying to keep it from getting bashed up or simply falling apart from the attrition of a hard-lived motorsport career would be impossible.

    Then there’s the obvious time and cost factors. Toyota 5-speeds are getting harder to find at a realistic price. W58s are now in the $250-$500 territory that R boxes once occupied. R154s are fetching up to $1,000 in rebuilt condition. I managed to snatch up a good R for my JZX83 along with the necessary parts before the inflation hit, and I remember how fun it was scouring junkyards for shifters and master cylinders, trawling Craigslist and eBay for rebuild parts and dropping some major cash at the dealership parts counter to get the hard-to-find bellhousing. Then there was the bash and check process of modifying the transmission tunnel… Not very enthusiastic about repeating the process for a car that would hardly benefit from it.

    Lastly, having two other manual cars meant that if I was driving that night and decided to go three sheets to the wind, I’d be leaving my car where I parked it overnight. Speaking from experience, this is a dangerous, inconvenient and potentially expensive proposition. Which reminds me: guys, teach your girls to drive stick! Having an auto means that I can sucker any of my friends or coworkers into driving should the need arise.

    As much as I enjoy shifting my own gears, I can definitely find several circumstances where having a slushbox could be beneficial. So unless a W5x magically appears on my doorstep along with the parts needed to install it, I’ll be using the shift lever in my wagon as an armrest 99% of the time.

  37. Juppe says:

    When you’re the driver -> manual
    When you’re a passenger -> auto

  38. miatadon says:

    I wanted to find a nice Prelude to replace our ’87 Si, and the owner of this ’89 Prelude contacted me. It had been his dad’s car, and he had passed away. I wanted a 5-speed, and so did my wife. But this car was so pristine that we bought it anyway. It really is an unusual survivor. It had about 70k miles on the odo when we bought it a year and a half ago. So far, the automatic transmission is still working ok, but I sure do wish it was a 5-speed!



  39. Stanley says:

    When you want the car it’s in. My Z with the AT was my favorite one I could get for $2500, all I had. Originally planned to change it to a stick but now I like it. I few minor mods and my 1/4 mile time is within .2 sec of the best runs posted by C&D for a 72 stick back in the day. You can shift it just like a stick, only 3 speeds instead of 4. Some say it’s better for autocross – just leave it in first and drive. It’s ok for anything other than road racing – you just can’t downshift for a 90 mph curve . Just needed to get all the old ATF out, adjust the bands and clean the screen.

  40. long says:

    that was an impressive story! glad that cressi made its way back from certain death

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