USAF Nixes Nissan Urvans
All things must come to an end. The United States Air Force (my current employer) is replacing the Nissan Urvans we use for [s]fun in the sand[/s] passenger transport. Apparently, not enough of today's troops know how to drive a manual; stick-ignorant airmen were tearing up the Urvan's transmissions. There were also reports that those who could handle the third pedal found them a bit too much fun and were engaging in unauthorized (is there any other kind?) hooliganism (not that I would have any first-hand experience in such activities), leading to a few, uh, "mishaps." The Hyundai Trajet has been deemed a cheaper, safer bet, as their V6 motors, front wheel drive and automatic transmissions are more in tune with "American tastes." Above all, it's a bit of a disappointment.
Sadly, most people in the U.S. nowadays have never driven a stick or have a clue how. When the Army was spec-ing out the replacement for the Jeep - the High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle, or HMMWV (Humvee) - they required it have an automatic tranny because so few new recruits knew how to drive a stick.
When I had a 6-speed Corvette, very few people I offered to let drive it took me up on it because most couldn't handle the extra pedal. I've heard one of the best anti-theft devices you can have nowadays is a clutch.
Deuce and a halfs are awesome vehicles, they can go through anything. I loved six wheel drive, dual range transmission and the turbocharged White diesel engine was VERY powerful. We used the older jeeps for joyriding in Korea, took Humvees through streams and rice patties. Joyriding was a hobby we all shared. We had a few Dodge pickups with 400CI 4V engines that would lay a patch of rubber for 60 feet or more. There were a few other incidents where details might get members still on active duty in bit of hot water.
It's not that hard to learn how to drive a stick. It took my wife, who’s has no driving talent, a couple of weeks of daily harassing from my part to finally get her to do it right (amazingly the clutch survived). It’s not hard but it does involve a process named “LEARNING” which requires time, dedication and perseverance. Most of the people I know here in US don’t care about that. Why would they when it’s so easy to drive an automatic (even my five year old can do that)?