Monday, January 5, 2009

When the weather outside is frightful

The first car I ever drove in the snow was an '84 Ford Thunderbird, pretty much just like the one above. It was rear wheel drive, was heavy as all get out and had a very torquey 5.0L v-8. On a good day I got about 13 miles to a gallon. What it lacked in MPG it easily made up for in both super awesome burnouts and power slides. Driving it in the snow was kind of like the first time I rode a roller coaster. I was swearing the whole time, trying not to crap my pants but the second I was out of the car I wanted to go again. Unfortunately the t-bird died one to many times and when I was 19 it got traded in for the reliable German engineering of a BMW '82 320i. So the next few winters were spent in a pretty reliable, gutless, little car that handled great in the snow and ice. But then came the...

Ford Probe! Ahhh now that was more like it, 2.5L V6 with 164hp and 156lbs of torque. Believe it or not this thing made Car and Driver's top 10 list in 1993 and 1994 and was Motor Trend's Car of the year in 1993. It went from 0-60 in a respectable 7 seconds and only ended up costing me about 4 and a half thousand dollars worth of repairs in a 3 year period. Ford Probe.. how I both hate and love you. This thing was awesome fun in the snow. No rear wheel fueled power slides, but big wide low profile tires and a healthy amount of power resulted in some fun trips to work when the snow came around. This car had the added bonus of when you climbed in it you felt like you were sitting about 2 inches off the ground.

Of course these days I'm rolling sensible in my '03 nissan sentra. It handles pretty good in the snow, and hasn't stranded me on the side of the road yet. I was surprised at some of the cars I passed stranded on the highway a couple weeks ago when it really dumped on seattle. I was even more surprised when I saw I was one of a small handful of people to actually make it to work that day. Still, there's not that much fun to be had with only 120 horses under the hood.
Still here's to dreaming about future fun in the snow, maybe someday I'll be able to afford that Corvette ZR1 that Top Gear's Jeremy Clarkson called the car of the year...




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