Whether we like it or not, it’s only a matter of time before the manual transmission becomes fully extinct. It’s a sad thought, however, according to U.S. News, only 1% of the cars produced today have manual transmissions and only 18% of Americans know how to drive them. Knowing that we can see why automakers have been phasing them out over the past decade.
That may be sad news for all of the three-pedal enthusiasts out there, but it’s actually a good thing for car collectors. Many stick-shift-equipped exotic cars are hard to find nowadays, making them hidden gems across the auction landscape.
Three-pedal cars are worth more
In the 90s and early 2000s, new cars equipped with manual transmissions cost less than their automatic-shifting counterparts. But today, cars equipped with three pedals actually fetch more than ever before, especially in the exotic collector car world. According to the New York Times, many exotic car companies like Ferrari, Lamborghini, and McLaren phased out the use of manual transmissions in their cars years ago, however, those older models are making a comeback on the auction block.
Car collectors are practically car enthusiasts “turned up to 11.” That means the rarer the car they can find, the better, especially if it’s the first or last in the production line. After all, uber exclusivity means uber value. As is the case for cars like this 2007 Ferrari GTB Fiorano equipped with a stick shift that recently sold for $692,500.
If that number doesn’t mean much to you, then consider that the car originally retailed for $313,000 when it was brand new. Also, it fetched about three to four times what its automatic counterpart would have sold for.
It’s not just the stick shift that makes the cars rare
While having a stick shift in the center console and third pedal on the floor ups the value of these collector cars, there’s more to their exclusivity than just that. The NY Times also noted that the manual transmission cars were often used as second cars by their owners, while they daily drove automatics. This typically means that the manual transmission cars have fewer miles on the odometer, which is what increases their values even more.
There are also plenty of collectors that will pay big money for rare cars with unique modifications. The Times cited cars like BMW M3s with automatic-to-manual transmission swaps and Aston Martin Vanquishes that have been converted as well. While the owners of these cars might not make much over the cost that they put into these cars, the high auction paydays mean that it is worth all of the effort in the end.
Will all manual transmission cars be worth more someday?
It’s hard to say since there’s a different demand for different types of cars. For example, a rare Ferrari with a six-speed manual transmission can easily be auctioned for half a million dollars, but no one might really care about a 2005 Toyota Corolla with a five-speed manual. Then again, you never know. As we can see from these collectors bidding for these stick-shift exotics, there’s a hidden gem to be found in almost anything.