By Mike Redmond
For years, I have discussed the benefits of the manual transmission for our motor vehicles. Well, I call it discussion, but it was really more like shouting into the wind. People just don’t want to shift their own gears anymore, no matter how much you point out that it makes you a better driver, more in control of your vehicle and all that malarkey.
They don’t even respond when you bring up what I consider the number-one argument in favor of a manual transmission: Theft deterrence. As in most people today have no idea how to drive a stickshift, and while their behavior might indicate otherwise, carjackers are people. And as such can’t shift their own gears.
Need proof? Try this on for size, fresh from the World Wide Interweb Thingie:
“Two armed men attempted to carjack a Corvette, Orlando police say, but were unable to figure out how to work the manual transmission.
“The Corvette’s owner, 51-year-old Randolph Bean, told WKMG-TV he was sitting in the yellow vehicle waiting for his wife to get out of work … He saw two men approaching the car with a gun pointed at him. Bean says they opened the door and forced him out of the vehicle. One man held him on the ground at gun point.
“The second man, he says, got into the vehicle and, after some apparent confusion, started screaming, ‘How do I start the car?’ at Bean.”
There you go. Car theft foiled by a manual transmission. Chances are, most of today’s car thieves can’t drive a stick. Bad guys with a gun were stopped by a good guy with a manual transmission.
And because of this, I am really, really upset that the aforementioned manual transmission is disappearing from American automobiles.
Oh, sure, you can get one in a Randolph Bean Model Chevrolet Mid-Life Crisis, but it’s next to impossible to get a pickup with a manual transmission. Good grief. You’d think if the auto companies offered stick shifts in anything, it would be pickups. What could be more appropriate, especially since I’m truck shopping at the moment?
Oh well. For now I’ll take my victory in knowing that in this one instance, at least, logic won. A car with a manual transmission proved to be un-stealable.
I told you so.