How I (Metaphorically) Conquered Everest By Learning Stick In An MG Midget

Even though we were only a few laps in, and it’d only been driven by a handful of students, Wally Stubgen’s MG TC Midget had already built up a bit of a reputation.

A manual choke, a non-synchromesh four-speed transmission, and a right-hand-drive seating position to make things really confusing? It may just be the most difficult-to-drive thing here, the pinnacle, the peak—my Everest.

Like Everest, to work my way up to it, I’d have to start at the foot—my left foot, specifically, and what it did when I depressed the clutch pedal.

Lucky for me, that’s exactly how Tabetha Hammer opened her manual driving tutorial at the Hagerty Driving Experience event the insurance company co-hosted with the Hamilton British Sports Car Club in Caledonia, Ontario, Canada on August 22.

This was the sixteenth such event, designed to put youth aged 15 to 25 into stickshift-equipped classic cars for an introductory lesson, that Hammer had coordinated for Hagerty since it started in 2011. Through it she’s helped some 500 teenagers across the U.S. and Canada get their first taste of rowing their own gears.


At 26 years old, I was just barely above the cut-off, but my relative inexperience qualified me for a refresher program like this anyway. Plus I’d never driven a vintage manual-equipped car, let alone something as old as the ‘49 MG TC.

As a classic car enthusiast, it felt like it was just something I had to do—and with that in mind, I began my ascent up the manual trans mountainside.

For the full story of my, uh, climb, head over to

Share This Story