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A muscle car with a manual transmission is as ubiquitous as peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. They just work. Having a manual transmission in a car offers better engagement, and more fun while adding the benefit of an old-school driving feeling.

Why is it called a muscle car?

All muscle cars are sports cars, but not all sports cars are considered muscle cars. The idea of muscle cars came from the drag racing culture with hot rods and a proliferation of these high-powered cars that could hit impressive speeds in short distances.

Typically, a muscle car is different from a sports car because the powerful engine allows for high speeds during sprints, even though these cars cannot typically handle tight turns and faster lap times than most sports cars.

In today’s world, many muscle cars are tuned to be dynamic and active on tracks while offering the speed required to finish drag races at the front.

Why do we want a manual transmission in our muscle cars?

Six-Speed Gear Shifter in the 2023 Acura Integra A-Spec
Six-Speed Gear Shifter in the 2023 Acura Integra A-Spec | Acura

Although a manual transmission muscle car isn’t necessarily faster than one with an automatic transmission, it’s a lot more fun to drive. When you have to press the clutch pedal, shift gear, and stay tuned into the engine, you’re more engaged with the driving experience. For some, this is a desirable way to experience what driving is all about.

With that in mind, let’s consider which muscle cars still have a manual transmission in 2022.

The 2022 Chevrolet Camaro is a classic muscle car with a manual transmission

Chevy Camaro ZL1 1LE on the track
Chevy Camaro ZL1 1LE | Chevrolet

Unlike some other models, the Camaro offers a manual transmission with all engine choices. That means you don’t have to go to the top power monster just to row your gears. You can enjoy a stick shift when you have:

  • 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine making 275 horsepower
  • 3.6-liter V6 engine offering 335 horsepower
  • 6.2-liter V8 engine bringing 455 horsepower
  • 6.2-liter supercharged V8 engine delivering 650 horsepower

With all of these engines offered with a smooth and useful six-speed manual transmission, you’ll find the driving engagement desired.

Use that shifter in the 2022 Dodge Challenger

2022 Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack Widebody, shown here in TorRed
2022 Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack Widebody | Stellantis

Not all trims of the Dodge Challenger use a manual transmission, but this muscle car does give you the stick shift you want for three models. You’ll find a six-speed manual transmission when you choose the Challenger R/T with 372 horsepower, the R/T Scat Pack that offers 485 horsepower, or the SRT Hellcat that brings 717 horsepower for the drive.

These three models have something in common; they all use a Hemi V8 engine. Unfortunately, the V6-powered Challenger models are not available as manual cars.

The 2022 Ford Mustang won’t be left out of the manual transmission muscle car conversation

Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 Hennessey Venom 1200
Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 Hennessey Venom 1200 | Hennessey Performance

MotorTrend tells us that several models of the Ford Mustang offer a six-speed manual transmission as the standard transmission, with the 10-speed automatic transmission becoming the optional transmission for this muscle car. The EcoBoost and GT models offer this opportunity for you to have the stick shift you’re after. The Mach 1, which replaced the GT350, also offers the option to row your gears.

Next, check out the classic Mustang feature in the new model, or learn more about these muscle cars in this video below:


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