My baby brother has a holiday home in Italy. He also took his test on an automatic car, a thing not often done on our side of the Atlantic, and so he has an automatic-only licence.

It follows, given that said holiday home is in the back of beyonds, that on trips to Italy he needs to hire a car and it has to be an automatic. Given that these are rare in Italy he has to take whatever he can get and on his most recent trip he had to take an Up!. No, not an Up. An Up!

You don’t get a torque converter automatic on an Up!, because cost and CO2 so he had one of these.

An automated manual.

So I got this message from BB.

“This time they have given me a VW Up! (sic). The exclamation mark is warranted as starting is a somewhat hair-raising experience. I was parked quite tightly between two cars on a slight decline and when I tried to reverse, the car wanted to jump forward first. It was sheer luck that I didn’t hit the car in front. It was a stressful experience, not least because the owner of the car in front was standing 4ft from me. Is there any way I can avoid this? I thought only manual cars did that?”

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So we make a discovery. If you have an AMT it rolls down hills because no torque converter and an Up! doesn’t seem to have a hill holder.

I told him to keep his left foot on the brake and accelerate until the clutch began to bite.

So there we have it. If you find yourself in this predicament, don’t forget that you have brakes.