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“The fact is I don’t drive just to get from A to B, I enjoy feeling the car’s reactions, becoming a part of it” – Enzo Ferrari
I love cars, and I love driving – probably more than most people. My daily driver is an Alfa Romeo Stelvio – it is a great handling car (as an Alfa Romeo should be) and an absolute joy to drive. It is equipped with automatic transmission, adaptive cruise control (which I, to be honest, am not a big fan of) etc. It makes commuting both fun and comfortable – the perfect mix.
But still, you do not have to think or do much yourself. One thing is to drive from A to B with a purpose – another is to switch off and really drive. Drive with no particular goal in mind, for the mere joy of driving.
A couple of months ago, I went for a drive with 5 other guys; new friends, old friends – all driving enthusiasts. We were all there because we loved to drive, and the collection of cars was a clear proof of this: BMW E30 320i, BMW 125i, Porsche 911 GT3, BMW E46 M3 and Abarth 595. The cars were chosen by their owners, because of the driving ability, and one significant detail stood out – every single one had a stick shift.
To me, driving a stick shift equals mixing my own negroni, tying that perfect four-in-hand, taking extra time to snap the right photo, immersing yourself into the task of shining your shoes or waxing your Barbour jacket – it all adds up to giving it that extra something, going that extra mile, putting in some proper effort.
That Sunday, I found myself in our “Giallo Modena” colored Abarth 595 with – a manual transmission. In a world where everything is automated and our cars can practically drive themselves, going 100% manual is a pure joy – it’s up to you to work with the stick, the revs, clutch, corners… When you get into that “mechanical” mode where everything happens naturally; being vigilant and at the same time giving in, letting your mind wander and relaxing driving curvy bends at the top of the rev scale.
That is what driving a stick is all about to me. And these guys…
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