At their core, supercars represent the march of progress. The supercar space, more so than perhaps any sub-genre of the automotive industry, has no room for stagnation; from advanced hybrid powertrains to NASA-grade computational power for managing chassis dynamics to groundbreaking use of exotic and rarified materials, most supercars represent the very best of the “now.” As a result, the gulf between these missiles and what is considered a traditional sports car widens by the model year. But remember when part of the whole experience was driving or lusting after manual-transmission supercars? It seems like a lifetime ago.
Indeed, one of the most significant leaps forward in the supercar arms race is the advent of the dual-clutch transmission. The Bugatti Veyron was the first to incorporate dual-clutch tech in a high-performance application in 2005, followed soon after by the 2007 Nissan GT-R and 2008 Ferrari California, signaling the death knell for any other manual supercars. Within a few years, those few manufacturers still offering a manual gearbox dropped the stick in favor of the slick-shifting DCT, or even a traditional automatic.
Today, most of these manual supercar endlings are highly valued for both their rarity and their significance as the end of an epoch. We compiled this list of some of the last shift-it-yourself supercars, focusing primarily on the more mainstream and semi-high production marques. In other words, don’t call us about leaving off some ultra-boutique brand like Koenigsegg or Pagani.
Manual Supercars: The Last Ferraris
We figured Ferrari’s iconic gated shifter deserved a section unto itself, so here are the final Ferraris to ever have three pedals.
In a cruel twist of irony, the first-generation Ferrari California offered between model years 2009 and 2014 carries both the inauspicious honor as the first Ferrari with a dual-clutch transmission and the very last to offer a manual, bringing 65 years of gated shifters to a close. Confused on why we specified the 2010-2012 California above? The hard-top convertible launched with only the dual-clutch in 2009, adding the six-speed manual transmission in 2010 and subsequently dropping it from the order form after the 2012 model year due to a lack of demand. How little demand? During those three model years, Ferrari sold just two such cars. That’s probably why one of those stick Californias sold at auction in 2016 for a whopping $444,000.
Unsurprisingly, the most populous of the final manual Ferraris is the F430, of which a few dozen six-speed examples were ordered each year. The subsequent 458 Italia famously did away with both the manual and the F1-style single-clutch transmission, instead featuring a quick-shifting dual-clutch as the sole transmission option.
Only 30 599s were ordered with the stick between 2007 and 2012, and considering V-12 Ferraris are almost always more collectible and sought-after than any with a V-8, the precious few that do come to market exchange hands for eye-watering sums, sometimes stretching to the three-quarter-million mark.
Manual Supercars: The Last Lamborghinis
Reporting on the last three-pedal Lamborghinis is easy—there are only two models to discuss.
Yes, it turns out you could nab a free-breathing, high-revving mid-engine V-10 Lamborghini with a gated shifter all the way through 2014, when the dual-clutch-only Huracán arrived for the 2015 model year. Like the Ferrari F430, a modest amount of Gallardos came with the stick, including a handful of the track-focused LP570-4 Performante.
Despite Lamborghini only ever offering a manual transmission in its prior “big” Lambos, not many took Sant’Agata up on the six-speed Murcielago after it first offered the single-clutch e-gear transmission in 2004. The LP640-4—a mid-cycle refresh of the Murcielago—sold the stick in fewer numbers still. According to marque experts, there’s estimated to be fewer than 50 LP640s prowling around with a clutch pedal, and only five (originally six, but one was totaled) manual LP670-4 SVs. Buy ’em while you can—they’re going up, up, up in value.
The popular Audi R8 holds court as the only Audi supercar, and owing to its strong Lamborghini bloodline, it shares much of its powertrain configuration with the Gallardo or the Huracan, depending on which R8 you pick. If you want one of the R8’s with a slick, gated manual shifter, you’re stuck with the first-gen R8, offering three-pedals in both the V-8 and V-10 variants, with or without a retractable roof.
Manual Supercars: Porsche
Despite the unbelievable performance offered by the Porsche 911 and its many variants, Porsche has only produced four true supercars. Of those, the first three—959, 911 GT1, and Carrera GT—came only with a manual transmission, leaving the later, dual-clutch 918 Spyder as the odd-one out. The Carrera GT was the final Porsche supercar with a manual, and it was quite the manual at that: the six-speed transmission is operated via an awesome beechwood-topped shifter.
Alright, so this isn’t exactly the most visually dramatic car on the list, but the 911 Turbo has long been considered one of the more daily usable supercars you can buy. For a long while, the Turbo was available with a stick, but like Ferrari, the advent of the dual-clutch wiped out any three-pedal Turbos for good after the 997.2 generation. Even then, the range-topping 997.2 Turbo S was PDK-only, and many of the 997.2 Turbos were fitted with the PDK, regardless. Good luck finding one for cheap.
Gotcha! While McLaren is known for its diverse portfolio of production supercars, every single car produced after the brand relaunch in 2011 carries a dual-clutch transmission. So, the only way to get a production McLaren with three-pedals is to spend eight-figures on one of the 106 McLaren F1s ever built.
Manual Supercars: Aston Martin
Final Manual Aston Martin: ???
Surprisingly, Aston Martin seems to be trying to position itself as the patron saint of shift-it-yourselfers as it continues to offer a seven-speed manual transmission in both the regular Vantage and the special edition Vantage AMR. While performance is impressive, it’s best to think of the Vantage as a bit of a pseudo-supercar, possessing the performance better associated with a high-end sports car and the visual drama of a supercar.