22 December 2016

Answer of the Week: Winter driving is snow joking matter... Snow, seriously

We only have ourselves to blame. When we asked our social media community, “Would you ever drive your classic in the winter or is that just asking for trouble?” – we should have known to use the word “snow” instead of “winter.” Yes, warm weather friends, we realize you drive your classics all winter long. Fortunately, we didn’t have to point out that we were referring to cars. Imagine the horror stories about ice fishing in a Chris-Craft.

From California to Arizona to Louisiana to Florida, you fun-in-the-sun peeps kindly acknowledged that the question was a no-brainer. Even Colorado resident Joe Peifer chimed in with a positive spin on the winter weather. “In Denver we have over 300 days of sunshine. As long as the roads are mostly dry, I’m happy to take my car out for a spin or even to lunch. Last New Year’s someone even paid for my lunch at the drive-thru because I had my car out.” And we all know nothing tastes better than a free lunch. Corvette owner Joe Winwood concurred that sometimes the weather breaks just long enough to take a winter spin. He even posted a photo of his own New Year’s Day drive a couple of years ago while admitting, “It doesn’t look like it’s going to happen this year.”

Greg Roberts poked the bear. “Driving in the winter is no problem here in Florida. Hope you are enjoying your winter wonderland and have a nice Christmas!” Dan Curran, who obviously knows the jokester, quickly called him out. “Thanks for your wisecrack, Greg. We expect nothing less.”

Greg Danger (apparently, Danger is not his middle name) also seemed to enjoy rubbing it in. “I live at the beach in SoCal, baby. We can’t help ourselves.”

Florida resident Jim Goette said he only drives his ‘87 Buick in the winter months, and West Kenyon explained why. It’s just too dang hot in the summer. “Here in the Southwest Desert, ‘winter’ is the time of year the cars come out … and they’re mothballed about three months during summer. (But) if we had winter, I would never drive mine in snowy or icy conditions.”

Most of you agree. In addition to a long list of emphatic “no way” answers, many of you expounded on the ills of driving a classic car in snow – on roads that are undoubtedly covered in salt.

“Not a chance,” Rita Digirolamo Krause wrote. “Our cars are covered in the garage before the first snow and aren’t moved until the snow and salt are gone for the season.”

Gary Binge agreed. “It’s absolutely asking for trouble. I’m trying to preserve my ’68 (Chevy) C10 as much as humanly possible – in a closed, locked, dry garage. Once the ‘brine lines’ hit the asphalt, it’s time for the annual ‘Driveway Cruising’ … Start it up, back it out, warm it up, pull it back in and shut it down. Moisture is not a good thing for any older vehicle … Not only is putting them away for the winter a good thing, but it can also be time to fix and/or perform upgrades you've been putting off during cruise/show season.”

Misty Dakota’s one-sentence answer summed it up nicely: “My unrestored ’77 Buick Regal didn’t stay this way by being driven in crappy weather!”

Some of you placed parameters on the conditions. Jean Friske commented: “Absolutely, as long as the roads were dry – I’d even go with the top down if it was sunny. That’s what the heater is for, right?” Jim Larson agreed. Sort of. “Generally no, but if it was in the 50s … no salt/snow … cleared roads,” Jim wrote. Then he slapped himself in the face. “Wait a minute, I must be wishfully thinking for that to happen in the winter in Michigan! I’ll just drive my 1963 (Pontiac) Grand Prix in the spring and summer.”

Some of you admitted you drove your classic in the snow … once upon a time … before it was a classic. “Had to drive my ’77 Bandit (Trans Am). Not happy about it,” Michael Roux wrote. Karen Sugerman Swenson added: “I will never, ever drive my 1979 Trans Am in the snow … but back in ’79 I did with 20 pounds of kitty litter in the trunk since I was always fish-tailing and getting stuck in the snow.” Dale Chapman knows Karen’s pain. In addition to posting a photo of what appears to be a 1966 Ford Galaxie convertible (hey, the photo is small), he wrote: “My daily driver for three years … Handled like a Zamboni in the snow.”

Shane Bouton said he drove his classic in the snow too … but he won’t ever again. “At one time, my ’68 GTO was our only vehicle. My dad had a spare set of steelies with a set of studded snow tires mounted (I still have them) that he would throw on in the winter, and off we’d go, snow or no snow… But since I inherited the car, it is winterized every year. She's tucked away cozily in her climate-controlled garage right now.”

A handful of you were all aboard the drive-it train. Kathleen Doyle Collier said her 1958 Plymouth Fury “is for driving, not just to look at.” John Miller agreed: “I drive (mine) year round. What am I saving it for?” Ken Forbes wrote: “Nothing is as fun as driving an old rear-wheel-drive care with positraction in the snow.” Michial L. Kealy really doesn’t have a choice: “I’ve always driven my classics in the snow … mostly because they’re my only vehicle.” Bryce Iliff was emphatic, and for good reason: “Yes, yes, yes! My 1947 John Deere B loves the Nebraska snow.” Michael L. Campbell simply reminisced, “Remember when they were our daily drivers?”

For many of you, the solution was clear. “I bought a beater for winter and keep the Corvette in the garage,” Linda Flechsig wrote. Doug Campbell agreed: “Oh, hail no! That’s what a winter beater is for.”

Then there’s Michael Neal, who – appropriately enough, considering that it’s almost Christmas – sounded a lot like Oldsmobile-aficionado Old Man Parker in A Christmas Story. “No, I wouldn’t drive my classic in the winter because the cold-blooded *#&% wouldn’t start!”

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