Room for one more classic car in driveway

Published 7:45 am Wednesday, May 1, 2024

By Steve Stricker

Henry Ford did not invent the automobile, didn’t build his first car until 1896, eleven years after Gottlieb Daimler and Karl Benz developed the first gasoline-powered automobile. 

Then in 1921, Canadian Alfred Munro designed the first automatic transmission using compressed air, and in the 1930’s General Motors produced the first automatic transmission using hydraulic fluid.

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Gong from no God to God (BC to AD), walking, bike, horse, to automobile, shifting to doing nothing must have been somewhat mind-boggling to folks at that time – along with sliced bread, telephone, refrigerators without blocks of ice, gas and electric stoves, television, automatic typewriters, computers, self-opening soup cans, self-parking cars – cell phones…”Why?” Son Stephen, “Dad once you use it you will ask, why not a cell phone sooner!”  And, true.

This list of items that has made our lives easier can stretch to infinity, all much or somewhat needed, and with a huge leap ahead, I welcome Artificial Intelligence (AI) as a major advancement to medical procedures, etc., but wait up! Although I applaud battery-operated cars, I do not appreciate all the natural resources required to produce these very costly batteries and the greatly flawed logistics involved to progress from proverbial point A to point B!  And still prefer vinyl and my Vietnam purchased AR Turntable to Tapes or CD’s…or whatever….

And honestly, I do not get the point of self-driving cars or those thingy’s that you speak at to search something for you. 

People – what part of “If you don’t use it you will lose it,” don’t you understand?! We are on the very dangerous slippery slope of becoming total vegetables!  Wonderful paper books and newspapers are becoming, duh, obsolete. Searching for a “Paper” Workshop Manual for my 2012 KIA Soul+ bought new is useless because all I get is PDF crap!  

No!  I want a paper manual that I can drip sweat on, wipe my greasy hands off as I search for answers and write notes in the margins!!

And – as a throw-back car guy, I greatly prefer a manual shift transmission in a car to an automatic as I am one with the vehicle – it doesn’t do anything unless I do something, like depress clutch, shift, accelerate, brake, repeat and it makes the driving experience more fulfilling – and yes, it requires my bran and input to work.  

A manual transmission is also a theft deterrent because first of all thieves are dumb-ass, brain-dead losers and they don’t know how to drive something that requires thinking and skill….

Ironically, using over and over, manual shifting becomes almost “automatic.” 

I love everything about my 2012 KIA Soul+ that I bought new except that it’s an automatic.  However, in stop-and-go traffic it is somewhat appealing to just go with the  annoying slow traffic instead of 1st gear 2nd gear and repeat.

Of my four classic cars that I presently own, all except the KIA are manual transmission cars; 1964 Land Rover Series IIA (4-speed), 1971 MGB-GT (4-speed), 1996 Volvo 850 Wagon. (5-speed).  And when I search cars on the internet I screen those for only manual transmissions.

I want, and have room in my driveway, for only one other car:  a Classic British Mini, Saint Andrews Special, British Green, 4-speed, with folding top.  Attention, Paul Higgs Cars UK – or if you have one of these and want to give it to me to get your name to appear in this column, please do so. 

Steve is an Oxford resident and received his Ph.D. in Educational Psychology (Counseling) from Ole Miss.