HomeGarageManipulating a manual is top skill needed by classic car owner

Manipulating a manual is top skill needed by classic car owner


What are the most important if arcane skills needed for a classic car owner? According to those who participated in our poll in the past week, classic owners need to know how to drive using a manual transmission, and they also need to be able to set ignition points and tune a carburetor.

Those top three accounted for more than 85 percent of all votes cast.

Changing a fan belt and spark plugs drew very few votes, as did such write-in suggestions as learning to drive slowly, being persistent and having a fat wallet.

We’ve also posted a new question for this week, seeking your opinions on what sort of vehicle history makes a collector car more appealing when you’re buying one. You can cast your vote by selecting your answer from those listed on the right-hand side of the Journal home page.


  1. Driving a stick?!! Are you KIDDING???
    It’s like rolling off a log!
    (But, of course, I’m 85 ……. )
    ’26 Star 6
    ’38 Ford five window
    ’48 Chevy fast back
    ’53 Stude the prettiest car I’ve had
    ’57 Corvette
    ’60 Corvair
    ’59 Fiat 600
    ’49 MG-TC
    52 XK-120 Coupe
    and a few others, all straight stick, of course.
    C’m on, guys! Get out and practice!
    Ya gotta at least learn how to speed shift
    or drive a totally non-synchromesh transmission
    Double-clutching all the way, up *and* down.

    • The ability to drive a manual transmission, unfortunately is quickly becoming a lost art. I’m 41 years old and thankfully my father made it mandatory that both of his children learn to drive on a stick shift, a 5-speed Ford Ranger which I am now in the process of restoring. I love them and have always owned a manual as my DD until my current truck, which is just too new. Unfortunately manual’s are a dying breed now. But I’m continually amazed by the number of people, even my age, who cannot drive a stick. Or who know how, but don’t like them and won’t own one, This bothers me because I love them!


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