Muscle Cars

New Muscle: Manual Transmission Only Sir!

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It seems automatic transmissions have ruled the American car market for as long as we can remember.
Manual transmissions were originally featured on entry-level vehicles or the performance section of the market.
The position in recent years has changed again with more efficient automatic transmissions and semi automatics making gear changes more efficient than ever, but the manual transmission can’t be beaten for direct hands-on motoring and essentially changing when you want to change, not when the car wants to.

No matter how efficient automatic transmissions become, stick shift will always let you ‘feel’ the revs to the next gear. It takes a little longer to get used to, but the effort is worth it.

This brings us on to the latest cars that you can buy with a manual transmission. The numbers are dwindling, but they are still out there.

Chevrolet Camaro Z/28
The 7L V8, 505 hp Z28 comes with a six speed Tremec manual transmission for some stick shifting fun.
As a track focused car, a manual transmission gives you the most fun round the corners and the feeling you get from total control, can’t be surpassed.

Dodge Viper

You’d almost expect the Dodge Viper to still offer a version with a manual transmission.
The Viper has always been the car to do its own thing, so to handle the mighty 8.4L D10 engine with 645hp, only a six speed manual will do for this excitement level.
Seat of your pants driving always needs a manual transmission.

Ford Shelby Mustang GT350

Manual transmissions and performance go hand-in-hand.
Ford understand this very well and kept a manual option in their GT350 and GT350R for at least the foreseeable future.
The 5.2L V8 with 526 HP, is out there to compete with the Camaro Z/28, so it has to go manual.
Other offerings from Ford including the ST, the Focus ST and the Focus RS all have manual versions, which may also be because they are popular in European markets where manual transmissions are more the standard.

As you can see from above, automatic transmissions rule the roost as we move forward, but if you have an urge for a track day or similar, you can’t beat the feel of a manual transmission, even if it is to hear the odd gear grind!

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