In many ways, we’re living in the golden age of cars. But for many enthusiasts all the technological advancement has come with a dire cost, in that it’s getting harder and harder to find a car with a proper stick shift.
Now, don’t get us wrong, we love modern cars. Today’s vehicles are safer, more reliable, and faster than they’ve ever been. When you consider the fact AutoNation Dodge dealers are currently offering a 700 horsepower, street legal car with a warranty — and are about to majorly up the ante with the Demon — it boggles the mind. And while we’ve know that three-pedal cars are becoming rarer, a recent article from the Los Angeles Times served as a sobering wake up call.
According to that piece, the take rate for manual cars fell to an all-time low in 2016, to an absolutely dismal three percent. At this point, stick shifts are basically a rounding error in the world of vehicle sales, and it’s hard to imagine that they’re ever going to improve again. Even the heady world of high-performance exotics long ago surrendered to the lightening speed of dual clutch gearboxes. In fact, it’s been over a decade since you could order a Ferrari with the famous metal shift gate. And for those who appreciate rowing their own, that’s a sad, sad thing.
But there are some bright spots. For a model as steeped in tradition as the Corvette, it’s hard to image General Motors ever pulling a third pedal from the options list, and enthusiast cars like the Toyota 86, Mazda MX-5, and Volkswagen Golf GTI will undoubtedly buck the auto-only trend for the foreseeable future. But the days when it was relatively common for a practical commuter sedan like, say, the Honda Accord to be outfitted with a stick are clearly long behind us.
So if you’re looking to pick up something with a stick from your local AutoNation dealer, you might have to special order it, or even select another model all together. Rest assured that your good taste won’t go unnoticed by your fellow enthusiasts.