THE NEW WAVE, OR COMMON SENSE?
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