There are some things that drivers of the future will no longer be familiar with. Things that we are used to disappear. These include the manual gearbox, the ignition key, the mechanical handbrake or the suction cup navigation device. The smartphone takes over for the ignition key or navigation system. In the case of manual transmission, the computer.
For many decades, the manual transmission was regarded as proof of committed driving. Those who thought they were talented in sports switched themselves. A topic for regulars and car meetings. Automatic was for wimps, not for real men. Future generations will smile mildly at it, if they even remember. Because the automatic has long been able to do everything better.
Modern machines with 8, 9 or 10 levels work faster and more effectively than humans. Stirring in the gears has only sentimental value. With the increasing use of intelligent assistance systems, the ultimate end comes. Colleague Computer only works optimally if the transmission remains predictable. In this case, the human being is the unpredictable variable. His manual intervention would be an imponderability that bothers.
So get away with it.
More and more manufacturers have heralded the end of manual transmissions. Most recently, Daimler announced the end, the future of the Swabians will only switch automatically.
Saab and the manual gearbox
At Saab, the manual transmission assumed an almost mythical position. A circumstance that was less due to the quality of the circuit. In the 99 and 900, the gearbox that was manufactured in the Gothenburg plant could not be shifted very precisely. It can be described as imprecise, actually it was an imposition that was overwhelmed by the increasing power of the turbo engines.
The integrated immobilizer made it a myth. One of those brilliant flashes of inspiration they had at Saab. If the ignition key was removed from the center console, which was only possible when reverse gear was engaged, the gearbox was blocked. Generations of car thieves cursed Saab, as did rental car customers.
The locked gear idea was simple, effective and very Saab specific. It will not be possible to top it in the future either. The ignition key turns into a smartphone that allows temporary or permanent access to the car. If the network operator does not have a blackout, or if you ended up in a dead zone when parking. What would be possible in Germany in the country and thus in fact on every milk can.
Really good in the Saab 9000
The gearboxes at Saab reached their peak in the 9000. Then without a mechanical immobilizer, but robust and easy to shift. Yes, not as precise as it was possible in the glory days of Alfa Romeo or BMW. But the bony, precise gearshift in the 9000 is almost as good as it is today.
In the best Saab tradition, the gearboxes were oversized. GM and Opel appreciated that. They used fully stock gearboxes from Gothenburg in rally vehicles. Over the years, that changed with the oversize. Saab optimized, saved, but the Swedish 5-speed gearbox remained good until the end. It lost a little precision over time in the 9-5, but it has always been durable and reliable.
Saab was never enough for more than 5 gears. Not with the real Saab transmissions that came from Sweden. What GM later supplied with 9-speed gears for Saab 5-9 NG and 3-6 NG had built in lots of plastic on the way between the gear knob and the gearbox. This resulted in reduced precision, susceptibility to temperature changes and annoyance if you did not find an optimally adjusted part.
There was seldom real driving fun, in this case saying goodbye is not difficult. But otherwise, yes, it's a turning point. The illusion of being a sporty driver, of changing gear better than the computer, of having the last word on technology - future generations will no longer have it.
They drive in an optimized way and have even less idea than the generation before what the technology is doing as soon as they press the start button.