Car (South Africa) - - MAIL -

I have been a CAR reader for 35 years and have no­ticed fads come and go. Mod­ern trends in the mo­tor­ing world, while all very clever and de­signed to im­prove ride, han­dling, safety and ef­fi­ciency, are of­ten mere fads. Be­ing a staunch sup­porter of man­ual gear­boxes and sporty but com­pli­ant sus­pen­sions, to say noth­ing of a dis­tinct mis­trust of tur­bocharg­ers, I note with some amuse­ment the grow­ing trend among mo­tor­ing jour­nal­ists who are con­stantly be­moan­ing the demise of the man­ual gear­box and, when they en­counter one, claim­ing how won­der­ful it is. Air sus­pen­sion will have enor­mous re­pair bills at some stage ver­sus al­most noth­ing on a coil-sprung car. I won’t even go into what a blown tur­bocharger and the re­sul­tant mess in the cat­alytic con­verter cost me on my Golf 5 GTI.

My point is sim­ple: a well­sprung car with a torquey, nor­mally as­pi­rated en­gine and a bril­liant man­ual gear­box re­mains mo­tor­ing nir­vana. My Golf 1 and 2 Gtis, BMW E30 325is and es­pe­cially my older Porsche 911s, while no longer rel­e­vant in this age of small-ca­pac­ity tur­bocharg­ers and dual-clutch trans­mis­sions, will al­ways be bet­ter to drive. I ap­plaud the odd man­u­fac­turer that still keeps some ve­hi­cles sim­ple. The great tragedy is that I can no longer buy a GTI, 911 or 3 Se­ries with a nor­mally as­pi­rated, free-revving mo­tor and a man­ual ‘box. Long live the sec­ond-hand car. DAVID SMITH Cape Town

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