My New T-Shirt: 6 Speed Manual Transmission Symbol

It is true that I am of a dying breed. Not only am I of the minority of drivers who can drive a manual transmission, but I am of the shrinking group of people who actually still owns a stick shift vehicle and drives it it as my main vehicle everyday.

In 2020, only 1 out of 8 new vehicles on the car lot even have the option to be sold with a manual transmission. Not only are vehicles with automatic transmissions more efficient on fuel, but they are also less expensive. It used to be the other way around!

It only makes sense that for the few of us who can still drive a manual, and who still do so daily, we are a unique group of people. We actually like the fact it’s not easy, even if it’s all muscle memory to us at this point.

I drive a 2010 Jeep Wrangler, which I have now owned for a year. One of the reasons I was able to snatch it up was because I didn’t flinch when I saw that it had a manual transmission.

Granted, I had never owned a vehicle with a stick shift before, but I had driven my dad’s old 1988 Ford Ranger during college a bit; while making money mowing lawns- as well as driving it when my own car was having issues.

A year into driving a manual transmission every day, it feels wrong when I do drive my wife’s car, with its automatic transmission. I always instinctively press my left foot down on the floor when I start the car.

So it only makes sense that with my $150 Amazon shopping spree for my recent 39th birthday, I chose this 6 Speed Manual Transmission T-shirt.

If you would like to order one like it, just click this link.

I also ordered the same thing for the spare tire cover on my Jeep. I will do another blog post and video on that once it arrives!

2014 Scion FR-S (Toyota 86/Subaru BRZ) Review: How To Shift In Reverse/Size Of Back Seat

2014 Scion FR-S: How To Shift In Reverse/Size Of Back Seat/Toyota Subaru Engine

A few weeks ago in preparation for my son’s upcoming 4th birthday, I requested to review “something special” for him. Therefore, a 2014 Scion FR-S was delivered to my home for me to review the week of his birthday.

I explained to my son, “This is Lightning McQueen.”

It really does look like the character from Disney’s Cars, doesn’t it?

Obviously, this is a very sporty, sharp looking car. There is no denying that.

2014 Scion FR-S: How To Shift In Reverse/Size Of Back Seat/Toyota Subaru Engine

And to make sure I got the full experience on this sports car, I asked for the manual transmission.

Let’s talk about that…

I’ve driven a stick shift since I was 15 and the Reverse gear has always been the bottom right section.

Not with the Scion FR-S, which is also known as the Subaru BRZ and/or the Toyota 86, depending on which part of the world you are in; more on that in a minute…

2014 Scion FR-S: How To Shift In Reverse/Size Of Back Seat/Toyota Subaru Engine

It actually required some research to figure out how to use this apparently European style of a gear shifter. I noticed there was a lack of information on the Internet and even YouTube on how to shift the gears.

The main problem I was having was simply getting the car into Reverse.

Here’s the trick, as demonstrated in the video I made for you:

You have to pull up on the “ring” of the shifter before it will allow you to move the shifter left into the Reverse gear.

Once you move the shifter into 1st Gear from there, you will probably feel a slight vibration, sort of like a “triple click” so that you know you’re in 1st gear, not 3rd.

That’s something else that may take some getting used to: the gears are not so much in the tradition squared “U” formation. They are more of a “V”; very tight.

Again, this all takes some getting used to. It might literally require driving around the block a time or two, literally.

2014 Scion FR-S: How To Shift In Reverse/Size Of Back Seat/Toyota Subaru Engine

I suppose that’s sort of the qualifier for the manual transmission version of the Scion FR-S/Subaru BRZ/Toyota 86:

You have to be pretty confident in your abilities to drive a stick shift to enjoy it. I feel this car is designed for that corner of the market that is still passionate about driving a stick. After all, if you’re like me, you probably see the ability of driving a stick shift as a lost art.

This car is not for most people, which is probably why you don’t see an abundance of them at Toyota/Scion dealerships. Chances are, if you’ve made it this far in to my review, you’re part of that demographic that the Scion FR-S is intended for.

If you’re curious about the size of the back seat, you came to the right place. I rode in it for about 4 miles round trip to and from the storage facility (we’re moving across town); with my dad driving and my wife up front.

2014 Scion FR-S: How To Shift In Reverse/Size Of Back Seat/Toyota Subaru Engine

I am 5’9” and 143 pounds. Sitting back in the seat, the top of my head was against the back windshield. Sitting straight up, my head cleared the ceiling by a half an inch.

As long as my knees weren’t together, leg room wasn’t an issue. I sort of have to straddle the front passenger seat; which was not pushed fully back; only about half the way.

And here’s a video I made on on that too:

A child will easily fit back there, given that your wife is okay with it…

2014 Scion FR-S: How To Shift In Reverse/Size Of Back Seat/Toyota Subaru Engine

Adults my size or smaller shouldn’t have too much of an issue for shorter trips. Granted, I don’t think anyone is expecting a “road trip worthy” back seat from the Scion FR-S.

After all, it’s a 2 door sports car. However, it does indeed have 4 seats and 4 seatbelts should the occasion arise.

2014 Scion FR-S: How To Shift In Reverse/Size Of Back Seat/Toyota Subaru Engine

Lastly, I want to point out the obscure fact that the motor for the Scion FR-S is made by both Toyota and Subaru!

If you’re familiar at all with Scion, you know they are the sportier, younger sister of Toyota.

So I wasn’t surprised to see a Toyota engine in it, but I definitely was surprised to see the Subaru name. Check out my video on that now:

2014 Scion FR-S: How To Shift In Reverse/Size Of Back Seat/Toyota Subaru Engine

Apparently, overseas, Toyota and Subaru team up for special projects; unlike here in America, where it appears those two companies are competitors.

Notice the “86” emblem on the sides of the car. I suppose that’s a sort of “Easter Egg” that points to the fact that outside of America, this vehicle would be a Toyota 86, or a Subaru BRZ.

2014 Scion FR-S: How To Shift In Reverse/Size Of Back Seat/Toyota Subaru Engine

As you can see from the dashboard display, I was averaging over 28 miles a gallon in this $25,000 sports car.

I get a free tank of gas with each car I review, and sadly, I didn’t even get through the first quarter tank. I could have easily spent another week driving this one!

2014 Scion FR-S: How To Shift In Reverse/Size Of Back Seat/Toyota Subaru Engine

At least my brother-in-law and I got a chance to take it out for a spin down Broadway in Nashville late Saturday night.

I’m all for answering any questions you have about the Scion FR-S. I really do feel there’s a lack of information on the Internet about this car, so I’m hoping to change that.

Thanks for reading!

And if you dig this t-shirt, click here to get it for the lowest price on Amazon!


The Toyota “Family Reunion” Press Preview In Pompano Beach, Florida

Last week I had the privilege, as a car reviewing daddy blogger, to be flown from my home in Nashville down to Ponte Vedra Inn & Club in Pompano Beach; about 20 miles from Jacksonville, Florida. I was invited to the Toyota “Family Reunion” where the updated Sienna, Camry, and Yaris were featured and available for several hours of drive time.

There were 48 of us journalists, writers, and bloggers attending the 2 day event along with me.

We were all given around 6 hours during the 2 days to drive all versions of the updated Sienna, Camry, and Yaris; as Toyota provided dozens of the vehicles for us to choose from.

I admit, I took full advantage of every minute of drive time in the beautiful palm tree filled landscape of Pompano Beach.

Nick Shell The Toyota “Family Reunion” Press Preview In Pompano Beach, Florida

Toyota provided multiple drive routes for us to tackle with our driving partners, but I often found myself and driving partner so caught up in conversation about the car, and admiring the sunny location, they we would get off course, then just use the navigation system to help us get back to the Ponte Vedra Inn & Club where we were staying.

From there, we would pair up with new partners and cars.

I guess you could say I was “professionally joyriding.”

As for the 3 vehicles being featured at the Toyota “Family Reunion” Press Preview, I’ll start with the Sienna.

The Toyota “Family Reunion” Press Preview In Pompano Beach, Florida

It was the first Toyota vehicle I ever reviewed, back in September 2013; in fact, it’s what got me started regularly reviewing cars for my daddy blog here.

With the updated 2014.5 model, I noticed a lower dashboard, easier to access controls, and of course their new Driver Easy Speak feature which enables the driver to use the cars speakers to communicate with whoever is in the back seat.

The acoustics are designed in such a way that if you are in the backseat, it’s almost like the driver’s voice is inside your head, like your conscience or something. That’s the best way I can describe it.

Moving on the Camry; I had never been in one my entire life until this trip! That’s ironic, considering that it has been the best selling car in America; 12 years in a row! Since it’s introduction in 1983, more than 10.2 million have been sold. And there are currently 6.6 million on the road today.

Something else I want to point out about the Camry is how American made it truly is. The production of the Camry employs 7,000 U.S. workers and the vehicle contains 75% North American content.

The Toyota “Family Reunion” Press Preview In Pompano Beach, Florida

I view Toyota as more of an American car company than many official “American” based car companies. I realized that back in the summer when I reviewed the Highlander and saw the sticker on the door, showing that it was built in Texas.

My last vehicle to drive was the new redesigned Toyota Yaris; which has adopted more of a European look. As expected, I really enjoyed it; especially because I got to choose between a stick shift or an automatic.

The Toyota “Family Reunion” Press Preview In Pompano Beach, Florida

You better believe I chose the stick shift. It’s a lost art these days to drive a stick and I am just the classic gentleman for the job.

In fact, I’m interested in driving more stick shifts when I review cars from now on, but I get it that there are less of them out there.

I hope to review the Yaris, as well as the Camry, in upcoming months. I really enjoyed driving them both in Pompano Beach, but unlike the Sienna, I haven’t already reviewed them back in Nashville with my family.

The Toyota “Family Reunion” Press Preview In Pompano Beach, Florida

It will be interesting to me to see how those vehicles mesh with my family. I can see my son Jack really liking the 5 door Yaris.

He would say, “Daddy, this car has 5 doors? I didn’t know cars could have 5 doors!”

My job here today has been introduce you to the newly updated Toyota Sienna, Camry, and Yaris. I hope you’ve enjoyed this glimpse, as I know I definitely enjoyed getting to be a part of this Toyota “family reunion.”

Nick Shell 20141016_Camry Preview_1485

Stay tuned for more Lexus/Toyota/Scion reviews right here on Family Friendly Daddy Blog! I am reviewing a 2015 Scion FR-S the week of November 11-18 for my son’s 4th birthday.