With the impending death of the third pedal, let's look at five obscure cars you didn't know were sold with a manual, most of them in Europe.
The Jaguar XJR X306 built in the mid-1990s, was Jaaaag’s first supercharged roadcar, and featured a straight six good for 326hp. This e34 M5 fighter was mostly optioned with the automatic, but a good old manual was offered. This understated yet muscular sedan could sprint to 60mph in approximately 5.8 seconds with the manual. So with a supercharged straight six, rear wheel drive and three pedals, and very low used prices in Europe, this is one underdog of the super sedan market.
Aaah the ML Mercedes. Designed to chase a T-rex on Isla Sorna, used to ferry SoCal housewives to yoga practice. Nevertheless, adding a trio of pedals does give it some off-street cred. However, the manual was only available with the very entry level ML230, powered by four measly cylinders and 150HP, good for a 12 second 0-60 time. Won’t be able to catch a T-rex with that, but maybe a limping brontosaurus.
The Volkswagen Phaeton is a car that one would think enthusiasts would hate, but actually love. This is most likely due to three reasons 1. It’s rare and therefore cool 2. It is over engineered like nearly no other car and 3. You can ‘make tea’ in the backseat without the windows fogging up. The fact that there is a rare manual version makes it all the more desirable. The 6 speed is only available with the 3.2 V6, and unfortunately without the 4motion system. That’s right, the manual phaeton is wrong wheel drive, aka front wheel drive.
There was a time when an automatic transmission was unthinkable in a Ferrari, and all were offered with a manual. Now, it's the opposite. The Ferrari California is the last Ferrari that gave the customers the option of ordering it with a manual. The last of a dying breed indeed. Can you guess what percentage of those Californias were optioned with three pedals? Less than 1%.
BMW E38 7 series
The BMW e38 7 series was probably the most elegant and accomplished 7 series ever made, using as reliable metric how many 90s movies it was featured in. Tomorrow Never Dies, The Game, The Transporter, the list goes on. A manual was fairly common in Europe with the 728i 6 cylinder, but the V8 manuals are more rare and much cooler. The 730i and 735i aren’t too hard to find, but the much more desirable 740i is the way to go. Equipped with 3 pedals, it can achieve 60mph in about 6 seconds.