Five Great Manual-Transmission Supercars at Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale 2019
There aren't many new exotics with manuals, but the vintage market is ready to serve.
If you pine for the days of supercars with manual gearboxes, you're not alone. We definitely get nostalgic for the row-your-own exotics we grew up lusting after, but with their makers moving to hyperquick automatics in pursuit of all out speed, the days of cool gated shifters and the like are gone. Or are they? If you're willing to drive something a little older, the classic-car market is ready to serve, and it happens that several such cars will cross the block at Barrett-Jackson's 2019 Scottsdale auction later this month. Check out five of them below, and be sure to check our auctions page for live coverage of the latest news, results, and highlights from Scottsdale, and tune into the Motor Trend Network and Discovery from January 15 to 20 to watch tons of cool cars cross the block.
2005 Saleen S7
Remember the S7? It aimed to serve those seeking an all-American alternative to European supercars, and sported carbon-fiber bodywork and a twin-turbocharged 7.0-liter V-8 pumping out 750 horsepower and 700 lb-ft to the rear wheels. It claimed a zero-to-60-mph time of 2.8 seconds—on par with even some of the most capable supercars today. The zero-to-100 sprint took just 5.9, according to the listing, with quarter-miles dispatched in just 10.5 seconds at 145 mph. This S7 is said to be the first sold new to Europe—they love American stuff, too—and was displayed in Monaco for a time. It certainly hasn't been driven much since new, showing just 240 miles on the odometer. The best part for detractors of contemporary supercars? The six-speed manual transmission.
2005 Porsche Carrera GT
Porsche purists who pine for the days of manual gearboxes and no stability control are usually captivated by the Carrera GT. Power comes from a 5.7-liter V-10 engine and is channeled to the rear wheels through an honest-to-goodness six-speed manual transmission. Though a 5,031-mile example like this one has been used a bit more than many other CGTs, we'll take a used and well maintained car over one that's been mothballed any day of the week. This Carrera GT is optioned with the factory-issued fitted luggage set, two keys, a trickle charger, car cover, roof-panel covers, and all factory documentation. Just 50 miles ago, four new Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires were fitted—good news considering bad things that can happen with old tires on high-power supercars. This car is the 851st built of the 1,270-unit run.
1988 Ferrari Testarossa
Decades since its debut, there's still something magical about the Ferrari Testarossa. Often considered the yin to the Lamborghini Countach's yang, the Testarossa proved to be easier to drive and far more usable than its large-winged fellow countryman. Powered by a 4.9-liter flat-12 engine and offered by its original owner, this Testarossa has just under 3,600 miles on the clock and is said to be well-maintained, though we'd request a peek at the service records if we were bidding. Scheduled major services on Testarossas are engine-out affairs and not for the faint of heart (or checkbook). If the Miami Vice white paint on this example doesn't work for you, Barrett-Jackson is auctioning another '88 Testarossa in red with about 10,000 more miles and aftermarket wheels, but with a recent belt service. Decisions, decisions . . .
2001 Lamborghini Diablo VT
For a long time, the Diablo existed in the shadows of an otherwise revered lineup of Lamborghini supercars. That's changing these days, as those who were young enough (or young-at-heart enough) to slap Diablo posters on their bedroom walls—or wallpapers on their computers desktops—in the '90s and early '00s are building up their spending power. By the time the VT model entered the picture, Audi owned Lamborghini and was working on the upcoming Murciélago. Audi updated the all-wheel-drive VT version significantly and enlarged the mid-mounted V-12 from 5.7 liters to 6.0. That gave 550 horsepower and 457 lb-ft of torque despite a slightly less aggressive camshaft profile that made the supercar easier to live with around town. With a five-speed manual transmission, the Diablo would be the last V-12-powered Lamborghini available without a paddle-shift transmission option.
1990 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1
We hear you already: "That ain't no supercar." But that's because the C4 is the Rodney Dangerfield of Vettes—it just doesn't get any respect. And that's a shame, because in 1990, the Corvette's brand-new ZR1 variant was more than capable of delivering supercar performance that rivaled Ferrari's Testarossa, Porsche's 911 Turbo, and Acura's new NSX. The car was internationally competitive but also an international effort, with a Yamaha-developed DOHC cylinder head and Lotus-tuned suspension and handling dynamics. While even today's base Corvette C7 makes more power than the C4 ZR1, 375 horsepower was huge in 1990, and even today a ZR1 should feel plenty quick. This ZR1 has just 3,000 miles from new, is red-on-red, and has a six-speed manual gearbox produced by German supplier ZF. While C4 ZR1s in top shape tend to cost less than half of a new Corvette, it won't be that way forever.
Barrett-Jackson ushers in a new year of high-octane auction action during its 48th Annual Scottsdale Auction, featuring some of the world's most coveted collector vehicles and authentic automobilia collectibles, January 12-20, 2019, at WestWorld of Scottsdale. As in decades past, The World's Greatest Collector Car Auctions will be the epicenter of Collector Car Auction Week and entertain thousands of automotive enthusiasts with interactive exhibits, entertainment, and activities. Check your local TV listings to see it live on MotorTrend Network and download the app for exclusive, live coverage.