I'm A Mom Who Drives A Chevy SS And I'm Going To Teach You A Lesson About Driving Stick

Illustration for article titled I'm A Mom Who Drives A Chevy SS And I'm Going To Teach You A Lesson About Driving Stick

Hello, I’m Karen Roselli, Mike Roselli’s mom. I daily drive a 2016 Chevrolet SS with magnetic ride and a manual transmission, which means I’m automatically cooler than 85 percent of Jalopnik’s staff. Nice to meet all of you.

[Welcome to Jalopnik Mother’s Day, where we celebrate the wonderful moms of the Jalopnik staff whose automotive choices led, no doubt, to the band of miscreants whose words you read here every day.]

Growing up, I was the youngest of four children, and my two older brothers always had nice cars. Firebirds, Trans-Ams, Corvettes, Camaros—you name it. I was always jealous and wanted to drive them, but as you can imagine, it was tough to convince them being the youngest sibling. When my older sister would get denied, she’d steal the keys anyway and wound up crashing a few of their cars, which didn’t help my chances.


My brothers’ cars were usually stick-shift, which meant I had to learn how to drive one before I could even ask to drive one. And the only person in my family patient enough to teach me was my dad. His golden rule about driving stick has stuck with me for years—if you can hold the car on a hill with the clutch and not the brake, you can drive a manual anywhere.

And so that’s what we did. My dad drove to the bottom of the nearest hill, threw me in the driver’s seat and taught me the basics of how to engage and disengage the clutch. When I felt comfortable enough, dad told me to drive up the hill and hold the vehicle there using a combination of the car’s clutch and gas. It wasn’t easy at first, but after a few stalls I got the hang of it and applied that same throttle-clutch application to every driving scenario I faced on the road. His rule about the hill was true.

Which brings me to my car, the 2016 Chevrolet SS. I love the car because it’s so fun, but the two things I can’t stand are the skipshift technology to save fuel and the automatic hill-hold feature. For those who don’t know, skipshift is a practice used by General Motors to save fuel. When the RPMs are low enough, the car automatically locks you out of 2nd and 3rd gears and only lets you shift into fourth—it’s infuriating!

As for the hill-hold, when you’ve just stopped the car on a hill and let your foot off the clutch, the car automatically engages the brake so that the it won’t roll back between taking your foot off the brake and putting it on the clutch. And that goes against the cardinal rule my dad taught me.


So, I had my husband install two short wires that bypass both of those features, and now the car is basically perfect. Always remember the golden rule: If you can hold a hill, you can drive a stick-shift anywhere.

You’re all welcome to come over on Sundays for gravy.

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Chuck Fickens

I agree the skip shift is a awful idea, but why bypass the hill hold, it’s a wonderful invention! your dad said “can” hold on a hill with the clutch, not you should hold a car on a hill with the clutch, doing that is a great way to wreck your clutch early. Driving stick isn’t just about being able to do it smoothly and with good control, it’s also about doing it with mechanical sympathy to the components of your drive train.