What Is It About Stick Shifts?

A while back, we asked you what your favorite type of transmission is. Not surprisingly, most people picked good old manuals. Semi surprisingly, there was a lot of love for DSG-style auto blippers. For me, cars that blip the throttle for you when you pull a paddle are novel, but they lack that feeling you get when you properly row the gears yourself. We've been having a bit of a storm in Southern California for the last few days and as you can imagine, the roads are nuts. And slick. And fool-filled. Now, I'm a very active driver and I always like to concentrate on a particular skill while in the car. But rather than going for on-ramp apexes like I usually do...

...since the rain started pounding I've been concentrating on smoothness. Accelerating smoothly, braking smoothly, turning smoothly and of course smoothly shifting. When I was first learning to drive stick, one of the best pieces of advice I got was to make it so that your passenger can't tell that you're changing gears. So, I've reverted back to attempting that. Normally of course, I enjoy powering shifting, clutch-dropping and snapping my passenger's neck. However, even tooling slowly around town and executing buttery soft shifts for the past few days has been a blast. I've been tripping out on the fact that the actual act of changing gears with my hands and feet feels incredible. I don't want to sound like a granola-muncher, but the synergy is utterly energizing. All four limbs working together... I love it. I can assume you know what I'm on about, right?