Fall is here and while we all get comfy wrapping ourselves in the thoughts of bright foliage and hot cider, few of us bear any love for what follows. You’ll love it even less if you drive one of these beauties, and not all of them can be improved by PIAA’s super silicone wiper blades.
Before we get into this, I should clarify: These are the worst cars to drive daily in the winter. Some of them can be fantastic for a coveralls-clad romp through the snow – they’re just not anything you’d probably want to till to work every single day when the sun has disappeared from all memory and your nose hairs are freezing together.
10. 1973 Honda Civic CVCC
At first glance, Honda’s little gas-sipping underdog seems like a decent winter ride. It’s lightweight, FWD, and reliable. But if you ate nachos for lunch and you look at it for more than four seconds, it will rust in half. The CVCC was so prone to rust problems that Honda issued a recall or refund for the entire car. If you live in an area that treats roads with salt and the rust on that old Civic doesn’t look so bad, run.
9. Tuned El Camino
I have a soft spot for GM’s ute. It’s awesome in ways I can’t begin to quantify. But while its RWD is awesome in the summer, once the slick starts freezing on the roads, you’ll be fishtailing more than…a…fish. Add in more power for extra fishiness.
If you’ve ever taken Interstate 70 down the backside of the Rockies in the middle of the night during one of their frequent snow storms, you’ll know how terrifically stressful and dangerous it can be. Now try it pulling a 53-foot, 40-ton piece of company property. All day long.
7. 1968 Ford Mustang Cobra Jet
Sending 410 hp to the rear wheels of any car will make commuting tricky in the winter. Doing so in a 45-year-old hulk specifically designed for drag racing will make it mostly impossible. At least it has disc brakes…in the front. And when you wrap it around a Waffle House sign, you’ll be out 130 grand.
6. 1954 Mercedes-Benz W196
Speaking of expensive risks, Juan Manuel Fangio’s most iconic Mercedes was auctioned in July for the equivalent of about $28 million dollars. Drive it as slow as you want: it doesn’t have a roof, and replacing that moistened interior is going to nix your Christmas fund. At least you don’t have to worry about keeping the windshield clear, as it doesn’t have room for winter wiper blades.
5. Drift Car
These beasts are shot full of power and slip-shod to drive like they’re on snow – when they’re on dry tarmac. You want a winter car to do the opposite of that.
I know this guy named Mark who works for Car and Driver. He lives in Michigan, and for a while he drove a sandrail in the winter. I’m pretty sure he still has all his fingers and toes, but I’m not sure how. At least his had a windshield. If yours does, too, you can snap on a set of silicone wiper blades to help keep things clear.
3. The Double Jeep
This one is actually pretty awful in every season, but park it on the street and see what the plow drivers do. You can call it a social experiment.
2. Anything Slammed
A low center of gravity is great for bad traction, but turning your bumper into a snow plow might negate the effects.
1. Morgan 3-Wheeler
With the rooflessness of the sandrail, the expensive interior replacement of the Mercedes, and the traction of the drifter, Morgan’s bike-engined little orb of awesome might make for a miserable winter daily driver. Do they make those PIAA silicone wiper blades for driving goggles?
What else should be on the list? Do you have any crazy stories about driving nightmare machines in the winter?
Andy Sheehan is a blogger, aspiring novelist, and relentless hoon. He plans to will his 2002 Subaru WRX Wagon to his firstborn, plans his daily commute around the swoop of its roads, and doesn’t plan to ever buy an automatic. A cool-car omnipath, he loves the common Mustang or Chevelle, but hunts for the weird and wonderful Velorexes and Cosmos of the autoverse. And when he can afford a garage, he’s going to turn an MX-5 into a race car.