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Video | I Taught a 15-Year-Old How to Drive a Manual Transmission in My Acura NSX

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author photo by Tyler Hoover December 2017

Occasionally, I meet a young person who's more interested in cars than their Xbox, and it gives me some hope for the future of humanity. One glowing example is a pair of 15-year-old kids I met recently, named Teagan and Josh, who decided to take their enthusiasm one step further by starting their own car-related website and YouTube channel named "The Gated Shifter." This is a great name for a car channel, except neither of them has ever handled a gated shifter -- and Teagan didn't know how to drive a manual transmission. For some reason, I thought it would be a good idea to teach Teagan how to drive stick with my 1992 Acura NSX -- and it didn't go very well.

I was 17 when I learned the basics of operating a manual transmission in my friend's Isuzu Trooper, but I never left my high school parking lot. Several months later, I finally got to test my skills on public roads -- this time in a Ferrari 348. During a family vacation in Las Vegas, my father was way up at the tables, and he decided to surprise me with an exotic rental for two hours. I had no business getting behind the wheel of a Ferrari, even a beat up old rental with broken air conditioning, but that didn't stop me from having the time of my life. I'll never forget the smell of that burning clutch after the first few miles, as I wasn't releasing the clutch pedal all the way -- and I still remember the engine banging off the rev limiter when I would forget to lift the throttle while shifting gears.

Hoover in a Ferrari

Nearly 15 years later, my manual transmission skills really haven't improved all that much -- and even though I'm a lousy teacher, I decided to give Teagan a lesson in my NSX. Since he's a big car enthusiast, Teagan knew the basic concept of operating a manual transmission, but didn't have any hands-on experience. I forgot to tell him to release the parking brake on his first attempt, but his next few launches went fine. After 10 minutes of fairly promising results, I suggested we practice a little more before heading out of the parking lot and hitting public streets. This idea clearly made Teagan nervous, and understandably so, since his learner's permit was fresh from the laminators -- and he immediately got worse. Rather than calming his nerves and coaching him through, I kept barking the same instructions over and over again -- and eventually, I yelled at him. Thankfully, Teagan was a good sport, and he seemed to be enjoying himself, even though he had the worst driver's ed instructor in the world.

Unfortunately, my Acura NSX didn't like all of the abuse. In the past few months, I've been hearing a little extra chatter from the clutch with the pedal depressed, which sounded like the throwout bearing was slightly rattling. After today's misadventure, the throwout bearing sounds like a box of rocks getting tossed around -- so now it's time for a new clutch in my Acura NSX.

I mentioned in the video that I'm considering selling my NSX and getting something ridiculously impractical, but I tend to flip-flop on this position every 5 minutes. If I was facing a clutch job on a Ferrari, I would be pretty upset -- but since it's a Honda, with reasonably priced parts, I'm not concerned in the slightest. Unfortunately, fixing my NSX will have to wait, since my Bentley is monopolizing my mechanic's valuable lift space -- and trying its best to completely ruin my life. More on that soon...

Tyler Hoover went broke after 10 years in the car business and now sells hamburgers to support his fleet of needy cars. He lives in Wichita, Kansas.

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Video | I Taught a 15-Year-Old How to Drive a Manual Transmission in My Acura NSX - Autotrader