By Steve Tawa

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Some lucky young people learned a thing or two today about manual transmissions and classic cars, on a closed course at the Simeone Automotive Museum, in the Elmwood section of Southwest Philadelphia.

Hagerty Classic Car Insurance sponsored the event, to give young people a chance to try out manual transmissions.  The company figures that, unlike previous generations, more than 90 percent of cars you see in new car lots now have automatic transmissions.

Robert McCormac of Germantown brought his 16-year-old son to the parking lot behind the museum, which was set up with traffic cones so that young drivers could go through a couple of gears. They concentrated on how to ease up the clutch before shifting.

McCormac says his son, who has his learner’s permit but no license yet, was eager for the experience.

“He’s driven the ’63 Corvette split window, the ’55 Volkswagen bus, the ’66 Mustang, and now he’s in the huge Challenger hemi — it’s a monster.”

(Robert McCormac Jr. takes a turn driving a manual-transmission Dodge Challenger. Credit: Steve Tawa)


His teenage son, Robert, was delighted to learn about the art of mastering the manual transmission, and says none of his friends drive a manual transmission car.

What’s the fascination for him?

“You feel more connected to your car.  It’s a better driving experience than an automatic,” the teen replied.

Top Content On CBSPhilly