Everything was going great for the carjackers until they got into the car and noticed a strange shifter with no "drive" option.

Although enthusiasts often lament the decline of the manual transmission in the United States, a recent situation in St. Petersburg, Florida reveals that the trend away from stick shifts may actually have at least one positive side effect.

After dropping off his work truck, a 45-year-old man was picked up by his 24-year-old girlfriend in her 2007 Nissan when two would-be carjackers appeared at either side of the car. One of the men brandished a firearm and ordered the couple out of the car, demanding money and a cell phone; the couple was only able to furnish them with the latter.

Next, the men jumped into the Nissan and encountered what to them was a bizarre, mysterious piece of technology: a manual transmission. Puzzled by the shifter and flummoxed by the clutch pedal, the dynamic duo abandoned the car and beat a hasty retreat with only a cell phone to show for their felonious efforts.

So, it may be true that manual transmissions are no longer guaranteed to be quicker or more fuel efficient than their automatic counterparts; however, in a country where many younger drivers aren't bothering to learn to shift for themselves, row-your-own gearboxes are an increasingly effective anti-theft device.


1.'Two would-be carjackers...' view