Skid marks

Why my next auto will be a good old torque-converter unit, not some over-hyped, brittle, double-clutch

David Morley

OMMON sense is, in my experience, not especially common. Nor is there usually too much that is wise in that which we refer to as conventional wisdom.

Fact is, we stagger around under some enormously flawed presumptions; dragging the baggage of stupid along with us. I’m not sure who to blame; parents, teachers, corporations, the media. Probably all the above.

Anyway let’s start with an oldie but a goodie: Always wear clean underdungers in case you’re run over by a bus. Spare me.

Look, even if your Y-fronts still had C the price tag on them and you were wearing them home from the undies shop, I reckon by the time they’ve backed the Number 47 off you and shovelled you into an ambulance, those same brand-new small-pants are going to be looking like a Nutella burnoutpad.

Right?

Let’s try an automotive slant. Double-clutch gearboxes are the future.

I mean, there’s not really a supercar that isn’t using one, right? So they’ll filter down to everything else, correct? Not according to the BMW’s M division sales and BMW’s M division sales and marketing boss, Peter Quintus, who told me recently that the DCT (as BMW’s version is called) may not have much of a future at all, supercar or otherwise.

“The DCT once had two advantages – it was light and its shift speeds were higher,” he said as we sipped a weird South Korean version of coffee. “Now, a lot of that shifttime advantage has disappeared as automatics get better and smarter. And we’re are now seeing automatic transmissions with nine and even 10 speeds, so there’s a lot of technology in the modern torque-converter automatic,” he said.

As a bloke who always suspected the double-clutch thing was a technological blind-alley (and a doofus who was dumb enough to buy one that hasn’t turned out to be flawless) this was music to my ears, but still flies in the face of that conventional wisdom thing. But who ya gonna trust? The bloke who sits at the big table with the rest of the M-boys, or Macca down the pub who can’t remember to do his fly up each time?

Let’s go again: The manual is dead. Well, it was looking that way when none other than Ferrari jumped on the two-pedal bandwagon. Then its US customers got all uppity and demanded their clutch pedals back and Fazza complied with the likes of the California. More recently, it was Porsche that was piling dirt on the manual’s coffin by making the 991 GT3 a PDKonly job. But guess what?

The 991.2 comes along and whaddaya know?

There’s now a GT3 with a third pedal. Seems like even the car makers themselves get tangled up in that conventional wisdom stuff.

I guess all this double-clutch-this and no-manual-that is the preserve of the early adopters who, by definition, are more likely to be wrong, ambling as likely to be wrong, ambling as they do from one misconception to the next in the absence of historical guidance. But trail-blazers or not, you’d reckon some of them might have, by now at least, figured that appearing to be a drongo is one thing, but opening your biscuit trap and putting the matter beyond question is another altogether.

Me? I’m going to keep driving manuals as long as my left leg allows and, when the need arises for a two-pedal car, it’ll be a good old torque-converter auto, not some over-hyped, brittle, double-clutch.

Mind you, I can still see some sense in clean Reg Grundies. M