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January 16, 2014

Here, You Drive

"Yo' man, what tha' utha pedal fo'?"
"I'own know...maybe it's a brake for da lef' side."

"SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (AP) — A trio of would-be Massachusetts car thieves had to hit the brakes on their plan because none of them knew how to drive a stick.

Police in Springfield say the men pulled a knife on a food delivery driver Tuesday night and demanded the grub and his keys. But then they noticed the car had a manual transmission.

Sgt. John Delaney tells The Republican newspaper the thieves argued among themselves then ran down the street with their ill-gotten dinner.

The driver was not seriously hurt. There have been no arrests."

Posted by DL Sly at January 16, 2014 01:01 PM

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It's getting harder and harder to buy a new car with a manual transmission. I hate that new "sport" transmission thingy - it's just dumb.

Posted by: Cassandra at January 16, 2014 02:01 PM

The VES has her Learner's Permit, but the only vehicles we own now are automatics. I'm going to have to rent a stick just to teach her how to drive one!
Remember when manual transmissions were the standard and you had to pay extra for the automatic? Now, automatics are the standard.
Go fig.
I miss driving a stick now that I'm no longer bound to the whims of Uncle Sam's Misguided Children and live far away from traffic and people.

Posted by: DL Sly at January 16, 2014 02:24 PM

I got my license (and learned to drive) on my parents' automatic.

I still remember learning to drive stick. It was my Junior year in HS and I invited my friend Julie over while my parents were out of town.

For reasons passing human understanding, we thought it would be tons of fun to make a big pitcher of lime dacquiris and take my Dad's old car (a '64 AMC Rambler convertible) out in the parking lot of Admirals row on NOB in Norfolk so she could teach me to drive stick in a relaxed state of mind...

Good Lord. I look back on that as a parent and just shudder...

Posted by: Cassandra at January 16, 2014 03:03 PM

Actually, it *was* fun, though :p

Posted by: Cassandra at January 16, 2014 03:03 PM

I think I've mentioned this before, but my Mom was an *Amazon* for her time - 6' tall, 170 lbs, 34-24-32 when she was 18 with shoulders that seemed like she wore shoulder pads under her shirts. Many cars of the time just didn't fit her frame, so I grew up riding in Cadillacs. They were at the forefront of so many innovations at one point in time: power seats, power windows, automatic load levelling, automatic trunk opening and closing, cruise control, etc. (these were all features of many of the cars I grew up in) Of course we all wanted to drive that that all the time! Now, naturally, my Pop, being a military man, had a Jeep - back in the day when a Jeep half-ton truck was a beast on the road and off. We also had a Vega 4-cylinder, 4-speed for Mom's job which required a lot of driving. Guess which cars we had to master before we could even think of getting in to the Caddy?
And even afterward, we were on a rotating schedule, if you drove the Caddy last time, you had to drive one of the other cars the next time.
I drove plenty of times without my license, but never after drinking. I saved that for later. 0>;~} Although, my driving trips were probably much longer distance than Admirals row since I'd go down the coast and pick up a friend then tell my Mom that her parents had brought her so we need to take her back.
Hey, I told you I was a very Dark Lord back then.

Posted by: DL Sly at January 16, 2014 03:30 PM

When it was time for me to learn how to drive, we had one vehicle. It was a 5-speed VW Vanagon. I needed did get the knack of that when I was 16. Shortly thereafter, we PCS'd to Germany where I was still too young. I took my road test in Texas in my grandparents' LeSabre...

When dad was next assigned to Ft. Hood when I was in college, my parents bought an '86 Honda Civic that was to be mine - once I mastered its 5-speed transmission. Dad took me out on the tank trails. At 20, I got it. I have only owned 5-speeds since. The husband has a 6-speed Mazda 6, which I can also drive.

Posted by: Miss Ladybug at January 16, 2014 04:07 PM

Miss Ladybug,...um, shouldn't that be Mrs. Ladybug now??
Anyway, my first car was the '72 Jeep I learned to drive on. But I've had an assortment of different cars and trucks throughout my life. I currently blow people away....umm, drive an '04 Durango that I've put the majority of it's 159,000 miles on. MH is still in the small economy truck we got him for driving back and forth to base. He gets to upgrade this Spring. And then there's my baby - an '06 300C with less than 60,000 miles on it. She gets pulled out for long drives on sunny afternoons, special occasions and things like that.

Posted by: DL Sly at January 16, 2014 05:14 PM

I can understand why almost no car maker is producing manual transmissions any longer. New cars are finely tuned to permit their energy management and drive control systems to obtain maximum efficiency and reliability. Why should some yahoo be permitted to foul up all of that magnificent precision simply so he or she can fiddle around with a century-old phallic symbol? Do we let monkeys fly the Space Shuttle? Still, there ought to be a choice when it comes to buying a car. And there is: Used.

Posted by: spd rdr at January 16, 2014 05:29 PM

Why should some yahoo be permitted to foul up all of that magnificent precision simply so he or she can fiddle around with a century-old phallic symbol?

Yikes! Is THAT why I love driving my car so much?


Posted by: Cass at January 16, 2014 05:45 PM

MLB, we're huge Mazda fans. Have never owned a 6, but we've had a Mazda RX8 [sob!!!!], a 323, CX7, and now CX5.

They're great cars for the money, fun to drive, extremely reliable, and most years very nice to look at.

I've been driving a Suburu WRX for several years now - am very happy with it except for driving in the snow. The first gear is a bit overpowered, but hopefully the all weather tires we just put on her will help.

Posted by: Cass at January 16, 2014 05:50 PM

I currently blow people away....umm, drive ...

Hey! I resemble that remark!

Posted by: Don't like my driving? GET OFF THE *&^! SIDEWALK! at January 16, 2014 05:51 PM

"Hey! I resemble that remark!"

You gotta catch up with me first.


Posted by: Evil Twin at January 16, 2014 11:08 PM

I wonder if you can get an anti-theft discount on your car insurance if you have a manual transmission? I may have to give USAA a call!

Posted by: Frodo at January 17, 2014 09:33 AM

Speaking of cars (and aren't I always?) here's an important newsflash from Detroit about Young People:
"Ninety Percent of Gen Y Millennials want to buys cars, but say that they can't afford them!" Shocking, but true! As these Young People (some of whom are over 30 years old) are quickly discovering: "Wow! Cars sure are expensive! How come nobody told me that I'd have to be the one to pay for it?"

Oops! Our bad!

Fortunately, the story goes on to say that only about 10 percent of these Young People plannever to buy or lease a car or truck - which is probably good news for Mom & Dad. Because, without a car, maybe they'll never come back.

Posted by: spd rdr at January 17, 2014 11:39 AM

For some reason I read spd's link title as, "90% of Gay Millenials..."

As for this, did y'all here the Princess's head explode?

A Deloitte LLP study released Thursday found that those in Generation Y — a generation of nearly 80 million born after 1980 — have specific ideas for what they want in a car. And although they don’t have the same affinity for vehicles as their parents and grandparents, an overwhelming majority still want to own a car or truck.

“While Gen Y may not necessarily scrutinize horsepower, acceleration times or engine size, they do have clear needs, wants and desires, especially when it comes to remaining connected to all of their lifestyle technology while on the road,” said Masa Hasegawa, principal, in a statement.

So let me get this straight: they're not interested in any of the things the car is designed to DO. No, the priority for them is staying connected to their "lifestyle technology"????

Good Lord.

Posted by: Cassandra at January 17, 2014 01:00 PM

GenY #1: That tablet sure has a nice cover.

GenY #2: Yeah, It cost me $30k, but it'll get me to work too.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at January 17, 2014 01:15 PM

"No, the priority for them is staying connected to their "lifestyle technology"????"

Because texting and driving isn't distracting enough, apparently.
The VES is on the road now with her learner's permit, and I can see her reflexively look at her phone every time it goes off when she's driving. She knows better than to reach for it while I'm in the car. I can only hope she also knows better in the future when I'm not.

Posted by: DL Sly at January 17, 2014 01:27 PM

Learned to drive on a tractor, a John Deere B. Long sticks, long pedal throws. All of the cars since the 70's have been auto, Spice doesn't like to drive stick. I miss it, but not much. One less thing you have to pay attention to when driving. Coping with the other idiots on the road is hard enough.

I've had people yell at me for not having answered the phone while I was driving. In some ways, I have it easy, having learned in 1965 to ignore while I was driving the radio-telephone-briefcase I was issued. Now I have auto-integrated telephone, just tap the button on the steering wheel and talk to the windshield, and I very much tend not to. Spice does ... hands-free may indeed be safer, but it's still distracting. Hang up and drive. Driving is hard enough without having to converse with an invisible person who doesn't see the traffic you're in.

Subies! Our Forester has all-weather Nokian WR-G3's; they've been great in the snow, slush, and (thankfully, rarely) on ice. We'll use them year around, Canadian DOT Triple-Peak Snowflake and V speed/temp rating. What's not to like? Well, they're a little noisier than the stock Subaru tires, not as noisy as the -G2 which were superb on the Outback and previous Forester, and not nearly as noisy as most snow tires.

A little more expensive. How much is great traction worth when you have to slam on the brakes and steer around an accident?

Spice wants a Turbo WRX, but bigger inside. She gets too many speeding tickets already, I keep telling her.

Posted by: htom at January 17, 2014 03:06 PM

True turbo story:

We had a Mazda CX7 - great car, LOVED it, over 130K on the odometer and hardly ever any problems.

The Unit and were going away for the weekend to DC to stay at the Mandarin Oriental. I'm at work in McLean. He calls to tell me that he didn't *actually* leave work at noon (I was not shocked...) and it would be more like 5 before he was on the road to pick me up.

I get a call at 6 or so - he's on the way :p

A few minutes later I get another call - the engine is out of oil and it's making horrible noises. I jump in the car and drive back to Fredneck (wrong way from DC) to pick him up. We just left the car in a Subway parking lot. We got to the hotel at 8 or 9 and had a nice weekend.

Monday rolls around and the car is in the shop, supposed to be fixed by Tues. On Thurs, the shop mgr calls my husband and says... "UMMMM... can you come by?"

Apparently they thought the car was fixed and were running the engine just before driving it out of the service bay. Smoke starts pouring out of the tail pipe. It was so bad they had to evacuate the service garage. He thought maybe they had left something in the engine.

So they take it apart and there was a neat hole in one of the cylinders. Apparently the throttle/carbeurator/something got STUCK OPEN and the gas in the cylinder acted like a blow torch, burning a hole through the cylinder. Short story: the car is a total loss.

Mazda stopped making the turbo (we have a CX5 now) b/c there was some weird issue with all of a sudden the turbo literally sucking out/exhausting the oil in the car.

We've been incredibly lucky with Mazdas - this one only crapped out after 130K. The dealer only charged us a few hundred dollars of an almost 4K repair bill (and they gave us a coupon for that amount). We were so happy with them that we turned right around and bought another car from them.

We had bought 4 Mazdas from them and maintained them all there - when they looked at the maint. records, they saw that and did the right thing.

But I'm a little burned by turbos now :p

Posted by: Cassandra at January 17, 2014 03:24 PM

I had a Mazda once. A 626 that we bought certified pre-owned. It only had 18,000 miles of it's 36,000 factory warranty on it, and it had been a fleet vehicle so it's maintenance records were all perfect. It was a great car. Perfect first car for a new VES as it was a four door with a serious engine under the hood. I could easily get it up to 120 on the back stretch outside the back gate of Lejeune going to Hubert. Then, six months after I got it, the transmission went out. That took two weeks for them to aquire and replace. Nine months later that transmission went out on me whilst I was driving to Wisconsin with a broken foot and, although I was unaware at the time, pregnant with the VES. The dealership up there where I had to get it fixed informed me that both transmissions had gone out because the speed control sensor had gone out. While I completely understand that this has more to do with the people doing the repairs than the vehicle, I've just never looked at Mazda's the same way ever since.

Posted by: DL Sly at January 17, 2014 04:38 PM

Fun topic!

Learned to drive in mid-70's on Whidbey Island back roads in a 4 spd manual Cricket, w/ three hamsters under the hood. Cousin had a 442 and a Masda RX2; fom a rolling start that Wankel Rotory engine could beat the 442 to 60 mph!

Norfolk NOB Admirals row is actually a great place to teach a kid to get a manual started in 1st, then make that shift to 2nd, then back down. There's little traffic, it's quiet, and no one tailgates, so a stalled start in 1st is no problem. Dacquiris prob OK, if it was still 60's.

BTW, still easy to get a stick in a pickup.

Very Best Regards,

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