Mating a classic Honda high revving, low tolerance, relatively high output NA 4 cylinder that makes no torques at all and exactly 1.3 horsepowers until it hits VTEC at around 4k RPM... to a economy-tuned slushbox that shifts at 2k, and that, once the car is rolling, only wants to leave top gear when the pedal is buried in the cheap carpet of the foot well is not a good idea. It just doesn’t work.

Imagine, for example, you’re trying to keep pace with 55-60ish mph traffic up a steepish hill. The idiotic collection of sticky fluid and silly looking planetary gears that has glommed onto the beautifully engineered engine still wants to be in top gear. However, you soon realize you are rapidly loosing ground to the cars around you, until you are basically just a rolling chicane. So you apply a bit more throttle, which makes absolutely no difference because the tach is still sitting in the low 2,000 rpm range where—as I stated—your engine is producing exactly 1.3 horsepowers. At the crank.

So you apply more and more throttle in frustration, and also gut wrenching fear because one of those old school ‘Murican 18 wheelers with the giant menacing chrome bumper and spiky tire destroying lug nuts and spooling turbos that sound like satan snoring is rapidly gaining behind you. It’s not long until your foot is flat to the floor, and which point I can only assume a tiny gnome who sleeps under the gas pedal is woken up. He rubs his eyes and yawns, and looks around for his slippers, and ambles his way down to the gear box through a series of unnecessarily complicated tiny gnome tunnels, and knocks on a tiny gnome door on the side of the transmission. Another gnome takes his sweet time coming to open the door, and grumbles a classic whaddya want now and the first gnome says something like “hey that hamfisted imbecile behind the wheel wants to go faster than 30 miles per hour, I guess maybe we should downshift.”


The gearbox gnome throws a couple levers, and suddenly the car violently jerks as it drops two gears and that sweet, sweet NA induction noise fills the cockpit, and you’re actually accelerating past some of the slower cars! Also, your dearest mother looks at you in shock from the passenger seat, because she’s owned the car for 5 years and never once hit VTEC. Yo.

The problem, however, is that you actually didn’t need screaming 5,000 rpm peak power. Now your accelerating past traffic, you’re doing 20 mph over the speed limit, you really just needed one gear lower. So you let off the gas a little, just a smidge, just a couple millimeters, and the gas pedal gnome immediately jumps on a tiny gnome fireman’s pole that’s been there all along, right next to the entrance of the tiny meandering gnome tunnels. He shoots down through a tiny spring loaded gnome trap door in the top of the transmission ecstatically shouting “ALL CLEAR! ALL CLEAR! PUT ‘ER IN TOP GEEAAAAR!”


Once again, the car jerks violently. The engine goes quiet. Your mom breathes a sigh of relief. You check your mirrors, see that same truck starting to close in, and re-apply that last ounce of throttle. Gnomes being lazy, violent double-downshift, angry sound, acceleration, and a disapproving look all ensue. So you lift off again. The gnomes find sudden motivation, a violent double-upshift occurs, you almost get rear-ended, etc. Rinse, and repeat.

All in all, makes for a pretty relaxing commute.


Moral of the story: fight the gnome power. Manufacturers, in a car like this please please please provide paddles or a stick . Or just don’t tune your autos like you’re the offspring of a caveman who’s never seen a car before and a fixie riding environhipstermentalist who thinks low gears are for the weak.