We are the guardians of a dying art. The purveyors of a craft born of necessity, but beloved for its spirit. We travel with purpose regardless of our destination. Every corner an opportunity for the perfect downshift, every stop a new starting line. We find joy in those fleeting moments between ratios; the crescendo of rpm, the gentle click of the gate, the building inertia in our chest as the drivetrain becomes whole again. We are the masters of our machines. We are The Manual Gearbox Preservation Society!
What is TMGPS.org?
As we trend toward an increasingly automated driving experience, it's vital we preserve and celebrate our bond with the automobile and protect our right to the open road. The car is an expression of liberty and freedom like no other. Its significance to our culture is profound.
The Manual Gearbox Preservation Society started as a t-shirt, a sort of satirical statement about the state of the automobile, and an opportunity for driving enthusiasts to express their love for driving manuals. Over the past five years, that t-shirt has started thousands of conversations between strangers and can be found at pretty much any car show in the world. Over 100,000 people have joined the movement on Facebook. The dialog and enthusiasm from such a passionate group of people is both amazing and humbling.
TMGPS.org is the next logical step in our progression as an organization. TMGPS.org serves as a hub where we can organize our thoughts and ideas, as well as share our love for cars and driving. We understand that the evolution of the automobile to an autonomous battery electric vehicle is inevitable. The current business models and economies of scale are less and less sustainable, and the potential autonomous electric product offerings will make the concept of car ownership ridiculous to a majority of people. It's exciting to think about all the possibilities and potential for cars of the future, but we believe it's vital that we retain a place for those of us who love cars for what we've always known them as, in all their glory.
It seems likely that the internal combustion engine and traditional automobile will continue to be a useful and practical solution in some context, but as future alternatives erode market share, the already failing economies of scale will face increasing pressure. Elements which we consider essential to motoring will be relegated to a handful of niche options, likely in utilitarian models flanked by a few recreational and sports offerings. Whether this happens over the next decade or 50 years is irrelevant. It is crucial that we act now to protect our ability to own and operate soulful machines despite increasing hostility toward their ability to thrive.
To be continued...
What TMGPS.org is not.
- We are not gatekeepers. Our mission is to encourage as many people as possible to experience driving a manual. The basics of driving a manual are not difficult but can be intimidating at first. Anyone can do it; sometimes, it just takes a little encouragement and the right opportunity. We will work together to create those opportunities in the future. Cars are expensive to own, take up a lot of space, and having a manual in the driveway just isn't a practical option for some people. That doesn't mean they can't understand, believe in, or support our cause!
- We are not Luddites. Our automotive background is primarily in design and engineering. We have worked at the very cutting edge of automotive technology on OEM supercars, some of the most capable off-road vehicles in the world, Le Mans race cars, and yes, fully autonomous concepts. We teach Vehicle Architecture and wrote the book on car design for the world-renowned Art Center College of Design. When working with students, we constantly push ourselves to imagine the automobile decades in the future. It's our insight on the automotive industry and direction it's headed that drives our mission to protect what we love about the past and present.
- We are not climate change deniers. We recognize that excessive carbon emissions are destroying our planet, and that our entire ecosystem and civilization depends on a massive shift in behavior at every level. We also recognize that consumer behavior alone can not be relied upon to make adequate change and that government must intervene to enable new technology, as well as restrict the use of products and activities that produce excessive amounts of carbon or pollution in general. Our goal is to open a dialogue about the cultural and socioeconomic benefits of the analog driving experience, and mechanical brilliance of our favorite cars. As laws start to prohibit carbon emissions or manually driven vehicles on certain roads, TMGPS.org will work to ensure legislative recognition that some cars are more than just a means of transportation. For us, cars are a way of life.