When I got my driver's license I brought my 4-speed '66 Olds 442 to the test. It was maybe 15 minutes in length. The examiner was impressed with both my car and my safe driving skills (my car was not equipped with power steering, and he commented on the rarity of that option). 10 minutes into the test he told me that he had no problems passing me right then and there.

He also told me that most kids don't pull up in manual transmission musclecars for their exams and it was a refreshing change from the litany of tiny, automatic econoboxes. He asked me if he could drive my car as he used to own a 3-speed '66 Cutlass convertible in his youth. We spent an additional 40 minutes cruising around while he regaled me with stories of his Cutlass in his youth.

It was fun.

On another note, When I was taking driver's ed in high school for easy extra credits, my Dad wanted me to play a trick on my instructor. My father was a classic auto broker back in the day so he always owned a few interesting cars at any given time. He loaned me an Emerald Green 1950 Desoto Custom convertible equipped with a rather unusual column shifted clutchless semi-automatic transmission (no power steering, no power brakes). You could see where this is going.

I point my car out to the instructor when the time comes. We hop in with him at the wheel. He looks at the pedals and seeing only 2 pedals presumed it was fully automatic. He starts it up and the car lurches forward and stalls. I ask him what the hell he thinks he's doing to my Dad's car. He looks at me sternly and tries again. Same thing happens, this time he's dangerously close to hitting the car in front of me. I take this moment to tell him there are only a few thousand of these left and if anything happens to the car he's paying for the damage. He sneers at me, throws it in neutral and starts the car up. He throws it into reverse gear and backs the car up. Then, after struggling to put it in first tries to turn the steering wheel to find out the only power steering the car is equipped with is whatever his spindly arms could supply. He stalls again halfway out of the parking spot. I ask if I could take over. He allows me to do so. I take the car on a 10 minute cruise, driving flawlessly the whole time. I park uphill and downhill legally and at the end of the our drive I parallel park the Desoto back into it's spot perfectly.

Needless to say I'm grinning from ear to ear and the instructor's fuming. He then declares that the car is not roadworthy. He tells me to get the steering fixed. I inform him that this car is not equipped with power steering. He then tells that 3-point seatbelts are mandatory for safe driving. I retort that the 2 point lap belt works perfectly, and you were lucky to get safety belts at all in the 50's as they were optional then and you had to pay extra for them. He huffs and puffs and finally tells me I have no sideview mirrors and at least the driver's side mirror is required.

He got me on that one. I had to come back in a couple of days with another car.

Grouchy Bastard.