Obviously, your, um, logic is faulty (and the cause of your vision issue). The C3 rebuild is relatively simple--hell, even you could do it (maybe). You can pay through the nose if you want to (at AAMCO, e.g.) but you don't have to.logic wrote:How could I have been so blind? The advantages of an automatic trans are so clear to me now!!! Who needs the extra weight and rotating mass of FIVE gears, when you can obviously get by with THREE!! 4000RPM @ 75MPH? No problem!! I can still have my coffee!!! YAAY!!! And why have a complicated setup like a clutch and pressure plate and linkages of all sorts, when all you need is a MUSHY, FLUID-FILLED, washing machine drum to couple your engine and drivetrain!!! And when it finally breaks, I can have the satisfaction of spending $1600 just to get it to be all mushy and slow, AGAIN!!!! WHEEEEE!!!!!!
I think I'm gonna go yank that T9 outta my car and replace it with some belts and pulleys RIGHT NOW!!!!!!!!!
OTOH, I bet I could have two, maybe even three, C3s rebuilt professionally for the cost of a reliable, durable manual rebuild.
As for the higher highway rpms--it's obvious again that you don't enjoy driving in the meat of the power band (your loss).
And, take this: you can't drive a manual XR in the snow/ice/slush, but you can drive the auto XRs in those conditions (carefully, always); using 2nd gear starts and even keeping it in second gear (city) to use engine drag when slowing down, makes it possible. And, you can do it with a coffee cup, or your twin boys, held or caressed with your free hand.
C3s shifting harsh? Sure, when worn out or abused maybe. Johnnie B. Brennan rode in one of mine and will testify he felt none of that--because it's not typical of them; they're smooth and positive shifters when new and while treated fairly, and they're durable (the reason Ford put them in the XR [Duh!])