Growing up, my father had a passion for classic cars and it’s only natural that his habits passed down to me. Back then the technology had yet to reach the automation levels of today. Car engines and transmission were almost purely mechanical.

Automation is meant to increase efficiency by reducing energy input while improving output levels. In the process, the reduced input of energy makes us a bit lazy. Take the classic example of basic arithmetic work that was traditionally done using sticks, pebbles and fingers. Today we have calculators for that. The tragedy is that we get used to calculators to the point that basic arithmetic like (13+ 42)-50 may give us headaches.

The natural learning curve is significant because it triggers a mind to overcome. In this case practice is the only way to gain a skill. Let’s get back to cars. The vehicles coming out of production lines today are sophisticated machines that utilize cutting-edge technology. So, how do you retain the sophistication of the modern era while enjoying the skill of driving?

Driving is an acquired and practiced skill. It involves a synergy and understanding between your mind, eyes, ears, hands and legs. According to Marc Sparks, a learner has to perfect core competencies such as engine revving, steering balance, clutch release and acceleration over a period. According to the author, it’s one of those things we get better at with time.

I have discovered over the years that driving manual transmission vehicles develops a bond between man and machine. As a driver, I know how to handle my car, when it needs a high or low gear, when to accelerate for more power and so on. Marc Sparks feels this relationship breeds confidence on the road and in everyday life.


Driving an automatic car almost gives me the feeling that I am riding a toy. As a car enthusiast I, never turn down the opportunity to drive a manual stick. I also don’t mind instructing drivers who are interested in learning this skill. The future of manual transmission cars looks dim but still manufacturers would make manual shifts if demand went up. Any person like Marc Sparks who thinks of themselves as a skilled driver must have the necessary skill of operating a manual stick. Learn today.