Why Do you Drive a Clutch?   2 comments

Friends have been asking that question since 1969.

My answer? Pick one

  • I don’t feel like I’m driving if I’m not shifting
  • It gives me better control in the snow
  • It’s all I’ve ever driven

And recently, I’ve added a new one:

  • The Freebies

Car buyers today,for the most part aren’t even thinking about a standard shift car. Most have no experience with them. So when one of us rare birds walks in, the car salesman may be cringing inside but his smile is just as bright and reassuring as it would be if he were dealing with a normal person. You’re given your preference in color, accessories, trim but you never get to drive the car off the lot right away, or even the next week. That’s because once they have your signed sales order, by hook or by crook, they have to come up with a car.

My frugal ways make it a bit easier. My requirements are always the same – nothing extra – just the basics: wheels , engine, standard transmission, seats,  and anything else that’s free. Computers have made the search a bit easier.  A few clicks of the house and my salesperson was able to find that there were still 41 standard shift Hyundai Touring wagons in inventory – in the country. I narrowed her search somewhat – find one a gray one. It took her five days but she found a dealership in NJ that was willing to swap.  The search back when I purchased Truckito took much longer  –  nearly a month.

And here’s the sweet part – in my case the cars always have more accessories than I ordered. But since  meeting  sales quota are of the utmost importance, the dealer is willing to eat the  cost and I get a  car loaded with bonus surprises.

Truckito had   fancy wheels, a sliding back window and an upgraded stereo system,

but Mighty Mouse came loaded up with more, and fun ones at that.

Bonus #1

Remember my woes with Sirius radio?Initially I thought all cars came with a Sirius receiver, but a co-worker of mine who just bought a fancy schmantzy Nissan 380 Z (or whatever number they’re up to) left work a few hours early the other day. Why? To go get satellite radio installed – after market.  Woohoo! Mighty Mouse, you rock.

Bonus # 2

Free pinstriping. Nice touch huh? One of the salesmen told me it was a $700 plus add-on.

And how about Bonus #3?

No idea what it is. I’ll give you a hint – that’s my glove compartment.

Another hint? – see AC.  No? still no idea?

Okay I’ll tell you. Mighty came with a heated/ cooled glove compartment. Now I can keep a slice of piazza warm until I get home, or a bottle of iced tea cold. Will I? Probably not – but you never can tell

And the surprises keep piling on. Not all of them pleasant.

Bonus #4

Last week I was parking in the gym parking lot, trying to back into one of the few shady spots since I don’t use air conditioning, despite the heat and humidity of our NY summers. I managed to stall the car.  The shifting pattern is my only beef with Mighty. Reverse is one of those anti-theft secrets –  under first  , not always easy to find the right spot and since first and third gears are very close together, it’e too easy to put it in third when you take it out of reverse.

(Ask the parking valet who had to put it in neutral and push it out of its space at a restaurant last month.)

But that’s his story, back to mine.

I stalled, started , stalled , started and finally decided to just chuck it all go forward into a sunny space. Satisfactorily situated, I took the key out of the ignition, gathered up my stuff and opened the door – starting off a staccato honking of the horn and syncopated flashing of amber lights.

What the heck, I thought, it’s as if I had an alarm.

I shut the door to fig, trying figure out what to do; maybe if I started it up and moved it. But it  wouldn’t –  start up, that is. And the brakes, they felt like they were frozen stiff. The car was dying before my very eyes – either that or having a temper tantrum. Finally all the hub bub stopped cold.  I opened the door and oh, no, it started all over again.

A  good Samaritan tapped on the window and asked “Do you need help?”

Does a tiger have stripes?

A leopard, spots?

He asked for my keyless entry, which I handed over promptly. So what if he was a car thief – or a kidnapper, if he could shut the car up, he was my hero.

He instructed me to put the car in neutral than pushed a few buttons and ah, isn’t silence golden?

this sticker is for real!

PS  Sirius and I are still an item. As of today we’re on day 100 of our 90 day trial marriage, er, subscription.

Did they forget about me? Sh-sh-sh.


2 responses to “Why Do you Drive a Clutch?

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  1. A heated/cooled glove box??? I never heard of such. Lucky you, for getting all of those free extras 🙂
    By the way, I think it takes a “real” woman to drive a stick shift. Congratulations! I guess that makes you a “real” woman 🙂
    Ed and I once had that “reverse anti-theft thing” on one of our cars, and it prevented it from being stolen. You just never know…It was a 71 Chevelle SS, with a four-in-the-floor, which I couldn’t drive, by the way 😦

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