Talking Cars Tuesday - Best/Wildest Snow Rides

Submitted by xtramelanin on January 23rd, 2019 at 12:49 PM


We are hopefully going to get a foot or more of snow up here by this time tomorrow.  Snowing pretty hard out the window right this minute.  You all down south have finally gotten some snow, too.  It is going to be a 'greasy' drive home for many and it brings to mind the idea of winter driving and its considerations, perils, and I guess at least occasionally, its exhilirations.  

Like many of us older mgobloggers I grew up driving RWD vehicles.  Very few front wheel or 4WD/AWD vehicles in existence back then. (no, horses were not still being used).  Nowadays almost all of you drive front wheel drive cars and many have that 4WD/AWD capability and that is a big help on days like today.

So 2 questions today:

1.  What is/was your best snow capable driving vehicle?  What type of tires, drive, etc.

2.   What was your wildest snow storm ride?

Drive carefully,


(And yeah, I know.  Its not Tuesday.) 



January 23rd, 2019 at 12:58 PM ^

Chicago. Lol there's no need to own a car at all when you live downtown. I bike everywhere when the weather's good, and take the bus or train otherwise. Plus, Uber is way cheaper than owning a car, paying insurance, parking, etc.

But I have this fantasy where I get a 4runner and escape the rat race to go rip through the country side or something like that. 


January 23rd, 2019 at 12:56 PM ^

best donut car i ever had was a 1985 Chevy S10 Blazer with the small 2.8 liter engine.  could just find an empty parking lot.  turn the wheel all the way to the left and just hit the gas to start spinning.

Drove a 25 ft penske truck through 3 whiteout snowstorms when i moved from Michigan to the east coast the winter after graduation in 2002.  that was fun.  

just drove 15 hours each way from LA to Denver through snow and rough weather at new years.  over the summer i bought a VW Alltrack wagon with all wheel drive and all weather tires.  was frankly really impressed with the handling in the snow and ice conditions.  the engine is way smaller than i ever thought i would consider but these new TSI engines are impressive and give good torque and acceleration from smaller engines. plus with the ludicrous price of gas in California getting 30 mpg from 87 octane is a huge incentive. 


rob f

January 24th, 2019 at 1:52 PM ^

I pulled that stunt just once in my dad's Olds Vista Cruiser station wagon (yes, the cool family wagon with the roof windows).

Difference was it was on a straight and deserted icey stretch of M-37 well north of GR, impressed my buddies but scared the shit out of me!  


January 23rd, 2019 at 1:09 PM ^

Not if I'm doing it right it wont.  She's a 68 GTO Resto-Mod meaning it's had a frame-off restoration and was rebuilt using nothing but new & aftermarket performance parts.  Original motor a 400HO 4speed and the car has only 79K miles.  Has been featured in multiple high-performance muscle car magazines over the past ten years or so.  Here's the interior & engine bay

111111GTO interior.jpg


111GTO engine.jpg


January 23rd, 2019 at 1:17 PM ^

Somewhere north on 450HP but need to get it Dyno'd to confirm.  Same with Torque but I can tell you I once owned a 70 GTO with a 455 that could easily pull tree stumps out of the ground so torque wont be an issue.  Those old Poncho motors were known for the insane amount of torque they could produce FWIW.

Wifey will just have to hang onto something........  :

The Mad Hatter

January 23rd, 2019 at 1:34 PM ^

Jesus that's a beautiful car.  I'm not a particularly envious person, but between the nice boat, the hot wife, and now a goddamn '68 GTO, I'm 14 different shades of green over here.

At least you deserve it, what with the cancer and shitty first wife and all.

Seriously though, gorgeous car.  I've been trying to track down a '70 Cutlass Supreme to restore for little Hatter to have as his first car.  He'll be able to drive it in 10 years and I figure it would probably take me that long.


January 23rd, 2019 at 1:46 PM ^

Back when I was in high school we used to street race on Woodward just about every weekend.  I had a 1970 GTO ragtop with a 455 & 4 speed.  Car was fast but pretty heavy so it couldnt take the Cuda's, Chevelle SS's & high performance Mustang's.  My best friend Greg had a 69 black Olds 442 that was insanely, scary fast so if it was really nice out we'd take my convertable out with the top down but if we were serious about racing we'd take his 442.  We'd make the run from Ted's in Pontiac to 8 mile road and back again all night long.   It was so fun.

I havent been back to Woodward since I moved to Utah after graduation in 81.  I think I'm coming back this year for the Dream Cruise.


January 23rd, 2019 at 3:10 PM ^

Cars sure were cool back then... also DAMN slow. Horsepower and speed are democratized  like never before.

My 2015 VW GTI (210HP, 256 ftlbs, ~3000lbs, < $30K) goes 0-60 in 6 seconds. That's faster than everything on this list:

The BMW M1 is slower. The BMW 850i is slower. Panteras? Slower. Ferrari 328 GTS? Slower.

It's still a good time to be a car guy or gal.



January 23rd, 2019 at 2:46 PM ^

I probably wont race it "officially" although I have learned of a few locations nearby where i live where street racing is still a thing.  

To be honest I'm kinda hopeful my 14 year old is drawn to it some.  He has no use whatsoever for football or basketball but he does seem to like cars.  And I like cars but have no use for Fortnite and the other video games that he finds so enjoyable.   So maybe this will give us something to do together that we both like.

First thing he said when he saw it was "hey Dad - can you pick me up from school in that thing so my friends can see it?"  That was a good sign!


January 23rd, 2019 at 3:13 PM ^

My stepfather had a red GTO with a rag top when he first met my mother. He was great with kids, had two of his own, and used to make us laugh all the time. One of the things he did was take us through the automatic car wash in that car. There was a tear in the roof and the water would come streaming in, not enough to water log the thing, but enough to get all us kids squealing with delight. That was a bitchin' car. 


January 23rd, 2019 at 1:02 PM ^

Audi a4 (AWD) with Hankook iPike tires.

Low center of gravity and good weight distribution, coupled with those velcro tires give me great traction even in the worst conditions.

Love when I see Jeeps/trucks sliding around and I'm in complete control.

Big step up from my old Pontiac Sunfire, which would spin out in July if it rained within the previous few days.


East Quad

January 23rd, 2019 at 1:16 PM ^

My best snow ice story was hitting black ice at the base of the Vernier/8 mile exit on West I94 in my 1968 318 V8 Plymouth Barracuda fastback. Did a 540 degree spin and ended up on the paved, elevated shoulder facing down the exit ramp 12 inches from a light pole. My 17 year old self took a few deep breaths before heading home to Grosse Pointe Woods.

I was on my way home from my job at McDonald's of East Detroit.


January 23rd, 2019 at 1:16 PM ^

Best snow ride was in the avatar, a 1998 Jeep Wrangler, with a 2 " lift, springs from a Rubicon, 32x11.5" BFG ATs, a 5 speed manual and the 4.0L straight 6.

During the small amount of time I lived in Lansing (wouldn't recommend it) we got about 12" of snow overnight. Made my 5 mile drive to work in my usual 10 minutes because all 4 lanes were empty. As long as there weren't other cars that thing was unstoppable.




January 23rd, 2019 at 3:14 PM ^

Wide tires weren't an issue, the BFG ATs could handle whatever.

I sold the Jeep when I realized two cars in Chicago were dumb and I could use the cash. I definitely under priced it because I had 5 offers within an hour. It went to a good home and I'm sure it's still making that owner happy.

Schem Bobechler

January 23rd, 2019 at 1:20 PM ^

Back in the early 80's when my aunt and uncle lived in Romeo my uncle used to tie their toboggan to the back of their station wagon and pull us kids through the streets of their neighborhood.  Good times!

Naked Bootlegger

January 23rd, 2019 at 1:21 PM ^

1.   My current car - Subaru Outback - with Blizzak winter tires is pretty bullet proof in the snow.   Smart, safe driving also plays a role (yeah, I'm looking at you metro Chicagoans who cruise at excessive speeds up I-39 in central Wisconsin during the winter months!).

2.  Ann Arbor to Marquette County in the early 90's during UM spring break.  Most of my friends were headed to warmer climates.   I traveled north to bask in glorious UP winter weather.   I drove my 1986 Ford Escort through the teeth of a major winter storm.  At night.  US2 was just a rumor from St. Ignace to Escanaba (yes, I did not take the shorter Munising route because I'm not that stupid - M-28 from Marquette to Munising is a death warrant during snow storms and a north wind blowing).   I crawled at 25 mph for that entire stretch hoping the tire tracks I followed were indeed on the road.    Not sure how I made it safely, but that was one harrowing journey.   My car looked like Han Solo's frozen tauntaun after searching for a missing Luke Skywalker on Hoth.

The Mad Hatter

January 23rd, 2019 at 1:40 PM ^

My current car is pretty good in the snow (Infiniti G37x) with the AWD and some decent all-season tires.

The best snow machine I ever had was a '99 Jeep Cherokee.  It had the bulletproof 4.0 straight six and an interior you could clean with not much more than a wet rag and a shop vac.

There was a blizzard where we got about 15 inches of snow overnight.  The plows hadn't touched most of the main roads, never mind side streets or parking lots.  I was supposed to be in court to fight a speeding ticket that morning, so I cleaned the Jeep off and off I went.  I was one of the few people out that morning and I made it there without a problem.  It was way too fun for a trip to court.

Naturally when I got there the court was closed due to the storm.


January 23rd, 2019 at 1:42 PM ^

My rig is a FWD minivan with decent all-purpose tires. I will, on rare occasions, moonlight in a school bus. 

I've had to white-knuckle my way through occasional bad weather, but the lack of incidents makes the memories fuzzier. 

There was that one night I drove home from the Soo, where Michigan had played a hockey game at LSSU, and there was driving snow from the Soo to the south side of the bridge. Then it got ugly--freezing rain, just brutal stuff, half-inch coat on everything. At one particularly memorable point on 127 (I was headed through Lansing) I was on a stretch where the road went uphill and banked lightly while turning gently to the left. And my car was sliding off the roadway the whole time, the action from my tires just enough to keep me from sliding off. I had to reach my hand out the windows to clear my wipers (if I held the stick just right, I could get them to pause in mid-wipe). 

The freezing rain didn't clear until Mount Pleasant--a full 150 miles of terror. 

As a northerner, I will occasionally shower gentle contempt upon those in temperate climes that are afraid of the weather. When I lived in CA I would make fun of their response to snow (I once got caught in the San Fernando Valley overnight because all the roads over the mountains were closed, even if they didn't actually have much snow on them, and I couldn't get back home to Lancaster). One day my wife and daughter (the only one at the time) and I decided to drive to the Sierra Nevada range a couple hours north to see snow, since we missed it.

There were chain restrictions in the upper hills, which I thought was hilarious. 

We drove up a mountain road into the lower mountains above the Kern River Valley. It was breathtakingly beautiful; recent snow clung to the trees and the mountainsides and the occasional house. You could see for miles the other way. When we got to a chain-restriction gate, we snickered, but dutifully turned around.

And that's when I realized what they were so picky about chains for. Because when I drive on snow here in the midwest, I'm on level ground. I can coast to a stop. In the bad cases, I slide off into a ditch.

Traveling back down that mountain road (no chains required! just a little bit of snow on the road!) I became very conscious of the fact that there were sharp turns, going downhill, with mountain on one side and quite literally nothing but hundreds of feet of empty space on the other. And that if I got going too fast to brake, there was no ditch to slide into.

I did not notice the scenery, or much of anything else, on that drive down. But that was as white-knuckle as it gets.


January 23rd, 2019 at 2:04 PM ^

the response in LA to a little bit of rain is f-ing hilarious.  i was going 25 on the freeway this past week due to light rain.  LIGHT RAIN.  the LA drivers are terrified of slick roads because they all tailgate, drive too fast, and slam on their brakes to stop.   hell, when i lived in DC the drivers there would slam on the brakes and slide 30 feet to stop in the snow as if that was the appropriate way to stop in snow.