If I were racing the car, I might well downshift *while* braking, to get
the extra stopping power. I would also double-declutch to make the
downshift a lot faster. In my opinion, there's very rarely any rational
reason to be driving like that off the track.
Remember Raccoon's Law: "Nothing Is Ever Always Anything."
That advice coming from the seller would make me suspect that he knows
something about that particular gearbox which you don't. Like maybe the
synchros are shot or something similar. Any sportscar with a gearbox so
weak as to disallow downshifting for braking is not worth having.
A couple of years back I went to look at a cosmetically nice Alpha 1750
Spyder. When I tried to downshift from fourth to third or from third to
second it balked, and would only go in smoothly if I double de-clutched.
The seller gave me a similar story as your chap, saying that on sportscars
you don't need to downshift to slow down, that's why they have disc brakes
on 'em. I thanked him for his insight into all things automotive and came
home without the car.
Similar loads of ridiculous cobblers have been used by unscrupulous sellers
to snare unwary buyers as long as there have been used automobiles. If you
haven't handed over the cash yet, test drive the car again and run it
through the gears both up and down. If it balks going down to third or
second, either knock the price of a gearbox rebuild off your offer or wait
for another car. There is always another car.
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