Name a supercar—hell, a supercar maker—that will still give you three pedals and a stick.
Lamborghini? Nope. Ferrari? Nuh-uh. Pagani? Koenigsegg? No way. Porsche? Sure, but only in a marked-up, special-edition maelstrom of retro varnish and Steve McQueen stickers.
With semiautomatic, dual-clutch, ultra-precise automatics, capable of computer-controlled shifts , they're faster, anyway. No ham-fisted stick shifter is going to invalidate all that flop sweat Christian Von Koenigsegg spilled in making the 1,500-horsepower Regera reach 186 miles per hour by the time you finish reading this paragraph.
But you can't easily explain the preference. You simply default to irrational justifications until all the variables line up, and there's an open road, and the joy of using both feet in concerto harmony really sets in, and you say, "oh, I get it." You may have said that in a Mazda Miata. Can you still say that with a sonorous V-12 behind your shoulder blades?
Yes, there was a time when a supercar, nearly any supercar, came with an honest-to-God manual transmission. If you wanted to blip the throttle down Shoreline Drive at 2 in the morning while impressing the leopard-clad sirens spilling out of Club Rehab, you had to avoid the embarrassment of stalling it, and you had to earn your braggadocio. As recently as the last decade could you still drive off in a Murcielago LP-640 or a Ferrari 599 with a manual. Lamborghini and Ferrari, who both elevated the gated shifter to high art! The 599, the next million dollar car! (And yet, the last manual Ferrari was the woeful California, and so the world ends not with a bang of gears but with a whimper of paddles.) We all complain about the past—it is our only natural duty in the face of progress. But there was a time. And short of throwing Pininfarina a couple million dollars for the transmission you want, or being Lewis Hamilton, what are the most highfalutin rides with a six-speed stick?
Curious minds had to know. This is what we found out.
The BMW M6 convertible starts at $119,700, but fortunately, the manual transmission is a zero-cost option. (Bargain!) Check off a Tanzanite Blue Metallic with Opal White Full Merino Leather and Dark Red Sycamore wood trim, and that price will climb as high as $151,645.
Speaking of BMW, Morgan uses the company's 4.8-liter V-8 and its six-speed manual, in the Aero 8. It starts at £66,000, which is about $93,000—which, helpfully pointed out, is actually a price cut. Sadly, the rarefied SuperSports and AeroMax models have dearly departed. But the industrious scamps at Pickersleigh will build whatever Aero 8 you wish—and whatever price you can afford.
Yes, Dodge can still build you a Viper ACR. At $120,895 (with a whopping $2,495 destination charge! Does Richard Rawlings do burnouts on your driveway with it?) it is one of many Performance Bargains of the Century. And like the aforementioned Porsche, a six-speed manual is the only transmission. Even with your Extreme Aero Package, corresponding Extreme car cover, and your Brass Monkey wheels, you'll only add a Toyota Camry SE V-6's worth of options.
Every Porsche 911R has been accounted for. Sorry. And this is a point of contention: if this limited-run car, one of just nine hundred and eleven cars, has all been reserved, does it still count?
Either way, if you reserved one, you will eventually pay an eye-watering $184,900 for the privilege. Add the hysterically overpriced fun of Porsche Pricing and you'll walk out $218,470 lighter. But hey! That includes a painted key in a leather pouch, a $650 Electronic Logbook (aka a trip computer), and carbon fiber floor mats, which have to be good for shaving off 3/10ths of a second on your Saturday morning bagel runs.
Aston Martin chief Andy Palmer recently stated that he wants to be "the last manufacturer in the world to offer a manual sports car." It's good to have friends in high places, especially ones who agree with you. And to this end, just 100 V12 Vantage S models, each with a seven-speed manual, will come to America—"the ultimate analogue experience in a digital world," says the . Bless your hearts. And if the price for 2017 remains close to the same if not higher at $187,820, it will top the Porsche and be the only car you can buy today with a V12 and a stick.
Better get yours now. That price isn't going to last.