First…it seems that many men—and it is basically a male viewpoint—are literally offended by the notion that one can enjoy driving a car with an automatic transmission. The reaction to that position by many men indicates they consider it an affront to their manhood to enjoy driving an automatic. People can prefer to drive a manual, but those people, like all people, do not have a monopoly on truth and wisdom or a monopoly on good taste and good judgment. I firmly believe that today’s automatic transmissions are so good that manuals are obsolete. The car buying public agrees as more and more automobile manufacturers, even European companies like Audi and Ferrari, are discontinuing or have already discontinued the manufacture of cars with manual transmissions because hardly anyone buys them.
From History of the American Auto by the Auto Editors of Consumer Guide® is a picture of a 1934 Graham Model 67. This car wasn’t especially significant, but the Graham Supercharged Custom Eight of that year was. It was the first supercharged car offered in America without an exorbitant price tag. The 265 cubic inch inline 8-cylinder engine produced 135 HP, which was high output for that era. In 1934 Graham’s six-cylinder engine was an 85 HP motor and the naturally aspirated 8-cylinder had 95 HP. As a comparison, Chevrolet’s two engines for 1934 produced 60 and 80 HP. Ford’s two engines produced 50 and 85 HP.
According to the Wikipedia article on the Graham-Paige company, Graham produced more supercharged cars than any other automobile manufacturer until Buick surpassed them in the 1990s. That claim is not footnoted so I don’t claim with 100% certainty that it’s accurate. Graham-Paige produced cars under their name from 1927 through 1940, but manufactured products for the US military during World War II. Kaiser Frazer acquired the automobile “division” of the company in 1947.
OK, everyone, what am I going to write? Fewer companies building cars means fewer sources of innovation for styling and for engineering.
Once again, I welcome your thoughts.