THE DRIVE with Alan Taylor | Episode #347

The auto industry is advancing at a rapid pace, implementing new safety and entertainment technologies and upgrading existing systems; but where the auto gods giveth, the auto gods taketh away. Is the phasing out of manual transmissions taking it too far? We’ll explore this topic throughout the show, but first President and CEO of Brembo North America, Dan Sandberg, discusses what makes Formula E unique. Then, freelance automotive journalist George Kennedy III offers a tire safety warning, previews his Boston Globe article about YouTube car restorer, Rich Rebuilds, and gives his drive impressions about the 2019 Jaguar E-PACE. Shifting gears, JoshCAR Hollywood Car Consultant, Josh Hancock, fills us in on the Galpin Auto Show, BMW’s discontinuation of their 3 Series manual options, and the reintroduced Ford Ranger’s specs, which seem to be missing a stick shift option. Next, Executive Publisher for Kelley Blue Book, Karl Brauer, laments the decline of the manual transmission before sharing his test drive results for the Mercedes-AMG GT 4-Door Coupe. With a 0-60 of 3.1 seconds and a top speed of 195 mph, the GT stormed around the famous track at Circuit of the Americas, but is it worth a 6-figure sticker price? Changing lanes, freelance automotive journalist BJ Killeen discusses the most shocking deals and trends seen at Barrett-Jackson Las Vegas – there were a lot of trucks and a Bentley that sold for $25,000!  Also, we touch on how tariffs are affecting the global automobile industry, specifically in China, where Jaguar Land Rover saw a 46% drop in sales. What do you think about the state of the industry and manual transmissions?


  • [00:00:00] Formula E and Brembo Brakes
  • [00:06:23] Don’t Neglect Your Tires
  • [00:12:30] Rich Rebuilds a Tesla Model S
  • [00:19:51] 2019 Jaguar E-PACE SE vs. I-PACE
  • [00:28:35] Galpin Auto Show
  • [00:35:52] Slow Death of the Manual Transmission
  • [00:42:12] Manual vs. Automatic Performance Test
  • [00:48:24] Dumbing Down Our Cars
  • [00:54:43] Automatic Sports Car Takeover
  • [01:02:04] Mercedes-AMG GT 4-Door Coupe
  • [01:10:26] Steal Deals at Barrett-Jackson Las Vegas
  • [01:18:05] Trade Conflicts Always Hit Auto Industry


Discover more about segments and guests below…


[00:00:00] Formula E and Brembo Brakes

Formula E might not have the thunderous accompaniment that Formula 1 does, but those all-electric cars sure can burn rubber. President and CEO of Brembo North America, Dan Sandberg, explains the unique dynamics that electric vehicles (EV) bring to motorbike and car racing. EVs have different weight distribution and physics; the specialized layout, requires a specialized braking system. Dan gives us some insight on how Brembo is able to provide the lightest possible brakes for EV racers everywhere. Are you a fan of Formula E racing?


[00:06:23] Don’t Neglect Your Tires

What’s one of the most important parts of your car? You may think it is your suspension, engine, or air conditioning, but you’d be wrong. The tires are the only four parts of your ride that make contact with the road, so making sure that you have the best fitting, well maintained set of wheels is of the utmost importance. Alan and freelance automotive journalist, George Kennedy III, urge us to keep an eye on our tire pressure management systems and check our tires regularly.


[00:12:30] Rich Rebuilds a Tesla Model S

Most of us car guys have done a rebuild in some fashion or another. What do you do when you can’t source parts from online aftermarket stores or OEMs? Freelance automotive journalist for Boston Globe, George Kennedy III, tells us the story of Rich Rebuilds, a YouTube car restorer that painstakingly built a Tesla Model S by combining wrecked and water damaged vehicles. Find out how Rich was able to overcome the hurdles that Tesla’s proprietary nature set for him.


[00:19:51] 2019 Jaguar E-PACE SE vs. I-PACE

Alan’s wife has been driving a Fiat 500 Abarth for six years and she’s ready to upgrade to something bigger with the birth of their first grandchild. Cartender Co-Founder, George Kennedy III, has been driving the perfect car to fill her needs, the 2019 Jaguar E-PACE SE. With a 2 liter turbocharged four cylinder engine that can pump out 246 horses, a rigid aluminum body, and modest cabin space, the Jaguar E-PACE is the perfect small crossover for a sporty-grandma. Also, we discuss the differences between Jaguar’s E-PACE, a gas powered small crossover, and their I-PACE, an all electric subcompact SUV, which will go head-to-head with the Tesla Model 3. Could the I-PACE dethrone Tesla as the best all-electric vehicle?


[00:28:35] Galpin Auto Show

After closing down their lots for four days and offloading their merchandize, Galpin Motors opened up to the public with an all-out car show. JoshCAR Hollywood Car Consultant, Josh Hancock, fills us in on the different themed events going on in each of Galpin’s lots; from Galpin Ford’s race car expo, to Galpin Mazda’s Japanese car showcase, there is a little something for everyone. Find out why a very famous Lola Cars International Ltd. race car and Beau Boeckmann’s new Ford GT really caught Josh’s eye in the legendary Galpin Ford store.


[00:35:52] Slow Death of the Manual Transmission

Fewer cars are being manufactured with manual transmission options; and now we can add the BMW 3 Series and the rebirthed Ford Ranger to the list. Alan and Hollywood Car Consultant, Josh Hancock, lament the direction the auto industry is headed. There is just nothing like a good stick shift drive to clear the mind. Alan may just have to keep his beastly manual Dodge Viper ACR afterall.


[00:42:12] Manual vs. Automatic Performance Test

Any true car enthusiast understands there is no feeling like the total control you have with a manual transmission. Executive Publisher for Kelley Blue Book, Autotrader, and, Karl Brauer, discusses the shocking news that came out of the Paris Auto Show – no more BMW 3 Series stick shifts! This comes at an interesting time, as Karl recently tested seven cars with other Kelley Blue Book staffers; among the mix of manual vehicles, including the Mazda Miata, Subaru WRX, Honda Civic Type R, and Chevrolet Camaro, there was an automatic Ford Mustang. After driving all of the stick shifts, the automatic Mustang wasn’t slower or less powerful, but it just wasn’t an engaging driving experience. Are automatics sapping the fun out of driving?


[00:48:24] Dumbing Down Our Cars

If you’re in a really good manual transmission car, like a Honda Civic Type R, Audi R8, or any Ferrari, it’s the most satisfying experience; you just don’t get that with an automatic. After driving manuals for so many years and spending the time learning heel-toe downshift technique, Kelley Blue Book’s Karl Brauer and Alan are both disappointed with the direction the car industry is headed. Not only are less manufacturers offering stick shifts overall, many remaining manual transmissions autmoatically rev match for drivers, offering a less-inspiring driving experience for car enthusiasts. Also, find out why big automotive showcases, like the Paris Auto Show, are on the decline.


[00:54:43] Automatic Super Car Takeover

When Porsche came out with the 911 R last year, it was only available with a manual transmission, and people went crazy trying to get their hands on the car. Unfortunately, this is not the trend; more super cars are coming out exclusively with automatic transmissions, like Executive Publisher for Kelley Blue Book, Karl Brauer’s new Ford GT. While new technology does increase safety, Alan wonders if we’ve reached the top of the bell curve. Is it all downhill from here for the automotive hobby? Are cars destined to become another household appliance? Find out why Alan and Karl think OEMs that are able to mix technology with an amazing driving experience will come out on top.


[01:02:04] Mercedes-AMG GT 4-Door Coupe

While Alan was busy at New York Fashion Week, Kelley Blue Book’s Karl Brauer was testing the brand new Mercedes-AMG GT 4-Door Coupe. An AMG exclusive, the GT 4-Door Coupe displays sleek, swooping lines on an advanced chassis that is reminiscent of the Porsche Panamera. The fully decked out version of this car will sport a 639 hp AMG 4.0-litre V8 biturbo engine, making the jump from 0-60 mph in 3.1 seconds and topping out at 195 mph. Don’t worry stick shift enthusiasts, this car uses AMG SPEEDSHIFT MCT 9-speed sports transmission and offers a top-tier driving experience while you are tucked away tightly in its beautifully furnished cabin. That said, Karl speculates a six figure price tag is likely, nearing $200,000 for the highest level package. Are you ready to be blown away by this amazing machine?


[01:10:26] Steal Deals at Barrett-Jackson Las Vegas

When you go to Barrett-Jackson you can expect a great show and some excellent deals! Freelance automotive journalist BJ Killeen and Alan fawn over the amazing assortment of trucks, muscle cars, and the Burt Reynolds owned ‘Smokey and the Bandit’ 1977 Pontiac Trans Am replica. At one point, a Bentley crossed the block for a meager $25,000, and a Lingenfelter 2003 Chevrolet SSR Convertible Pickup was practically stolen for $18,000. On the opposite end of the spectrum, BJ was surprised to see a 1997 Acura Integra sell for $63,800. You never know what to expect at Barrett-Jackson, except a good time. Find out more about the action across the block.


[01:18:05] Chinese Trade Conflicts Hit Auto Industry

The Paris Auto Show was almost a ghost town in comparison to previous years, what’s the deal? Freelance automotive journalist BJ Killeen says that OEMs aren’t seeing the value in unveiling wild, outlandish concept cars anymore. Also, after a 46% slide in Chinese sales, Jaguar Land Rover is shutting down one of their plants for two weeks. Are Trump’s tariff and trade policies to blame? BJ and Alan assure us that while they may have negative effects on the global auto industry, these policies are working to keep the American economy booming, and that’s a good thing.


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Episode Credits:

  • Program Host: Alan Taylor
  • Producer: Dave Milligan
  • Production Assistant: Joanne Bolden
  • Audio Engineer: Dave Milligan
  • Copy Editor: Cody Castleberry

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This episode was produced by Entertainment Right Now (ERN). If you found value in this episode, and you’d like to hear more, please consider leaving us a review on iTunes and be sure to subscribe to our podcast so you don’t miss a beat. Your feedback helps us to reach more enthusiasts around the world! If you have a question you’d like us to answer, please leave a comment below or e-mail us at

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