First Snowfall 2011
24 Nov, 2011
Like all of my fellow Montrealers' I woke up today to a blanket of snow covering everything outside marking the very first snowfall of 2011. As I check my email I'm bombarded with Facebook and Twitter updates as traffic is at a standstill and how many drivers aren't prepared with winter tires; the usual total chaos. I'm not going to use this blog to complain about winter in general or winter drivers but it reminds me of some funny stories I have since I started driving.
Drifting: My first car was a 79' Cadillac Seville; before you think how classy and 'pimp' it was listen to my story. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't as bad as it sounds and I did have some good times with it but winter was always the real adventure. I got this car in 2000 and fondly remember times where the windshield washer randomly wouldn't work, I remember asking pedestrians to throw snow on the windshield to be able to clean the windshield. On the highway I would use a combination of avoiding cars, water bottles inside and tailgating SEMI's for spray to keep visibility high.
One of my best memories of this car was learning how to drift with it. I would need to push the 350 cu. in. Oldsmobile engine with an automatic 3-speed to get the 4,200lb car to rotate correctly. Living in the country and being a shit disturber I made a game of tagging garbage cans and bags with the rear bumper of the car in 'Drift Mode'. Of course this was only possible on icy and hard packed roads but did make up for some of the defects. (Unfortunately I could not find a picture but rent the movie 'Wanted Dead or Alive' with Rutger Hauer and Gene Simmons; he drives the exact same car)
E-Braking: The next car I owned was a 1998 Honda Civic Coupe; strong heater, front wheel drive and a working rear defroster I'll be set for winter. This car began the e-brake maneuvers. Driving around with my friends endlessly looking for fresh snow in an empty or abandoned parking lot. Probably the most memorable time doing this was right after installing headers and exhaust on the Civic I found a great spot where I just went nuts doing donuts. After stopping to leave I noticed 2 cop cars sitting and watching me. After a brief lecture and warning I was sent on my way to never go back to that parking lot again.
Winter Beaters: Alright, if you live in Canada and have a modified car eventually you will get to a point where you will buy a winter beater. Shopping for a winter beater usually goes by price but you need to make sure certain things work properly. My first winter beater was a 1991 Jeep Cherokee Sport which I still miss today. This $600 beast lasted 2 years and had fully functioning 4WD. What did not work was most of the electrical, dash lights and windshield washer fluid, after the 1st year the heater also stopped working which required some innovation. I bolted a heater core with 2x 12V fans to the dash and ran 2 water lines through the firewall to make a heater (doing the original fix wasn't going to work due to rotten and broken items, plus I had this lying around) for a defroster I attached a dryer exhaust vent with a hook to my rearview mirror for defrosting the windows. Despite how beat-up the truck was it lasted the entire time, off-road adventures and many snow storms and snow banks.
My second winter beater was a 1995 Chevrolet Suburban 3/4 Ton. Alright this should have been a beast but the weight combined with RWD made this truck useless on ice. The heater did work and was almost as good as my home oil heater, except for one thing; the cowl on the windshield was cracked so whenever the heater was going full blast and you hit a pack of powder it would suck into the heater and steam up the entire truck (not fun while driving) so be careful when buying a beater.
Preparation: Being prepared for winter is the ultimate goal, the most un-prepared I've been was a couple of years ago when I waited to store the Civic. To nobody's knowledge we had a freak snow storm of over 4ft in a manner of a couple of days leaving it buried in the driveway until I could finally get it in and thawed.
Those are a few of my stories and I'll be sure to tell more in the future, but from everyone at Intuned Online: Be safe this winter driving season.