Wimps, the hot rod world is full of wimps!
What has happened to hot rodders? I know many are my age or older with creaky joints and bum knees. But I still drive a manual transmission vehicle - my '87 Toyota truck. My legs and all the joints in it work well enough to push that clutch pedal. If I want to I can even power shift now and then.
I know that today's automatic transmissions are not yesterday's slush boxes but most hot rods don't use the latest autos. They all seem to be using a GM 350, 400, 700R or a Ford C4 or C6. So it isn't like the rodders are trying to eke out the best fuel economy with a 5- or 6-speed automatic overdrive trans with a lockup converter.
Best I can figure out is that many rodders are just plain lazy. They figure two pedals (gas and brake) are simpler than three. But there are so many good manual transmissions out there to ignore. The Tremec T-5 is so commonplace they are almost downright cheap. The Borg-Warner T56 six speed is readily available if not as inexpensive.
Hydraulic clutch action has eased the operation of even the most heavy duty clutch units. Gone are the days when you put a "truck" clutch and pressure plate in your rod to cope with the power.
I don't begrudge those that install air conditioning or a good heater into their hard top rods. But c'mon guys (and it is mostly guys) get back to shifting for yourself and leave the auto trans for your family sedan.