Classic Car Blog- Winter!
3rd Jan 08:-Back to work and for once the weather forecasters get it right and 3 inches of snow falls overnight. The council hardly salts the main roads so housing and industrial estates have no chance of being done and they resemble ice rinks. My new Euro box a Vauxhall Vectra estate is a great car, it does its job very well but in the snow it is no better than a sledge. Even taking note of my winter driving tips I still managed to have 3 "brown trouser" moments on the way too and from work. The first happened only 100 yards from home, to get off our estate there is a gentle incline and on this particular morning was littered with abandoned BMW's that could not make it to the top with thier low profile tyres, I just had to keep going and hope that I could get out at the top which luckily I could. The second was on the industrial estate, I was following the winter driving tips of not going to fast and not using the brakes to slow down I was in 3rd gear and coming to a slight bend in the road so decided to put it into second gear to slow down, big mistake! modern cars are too clever for their own good as soon as I was in second the electronics of the ABS sense that one wheel could have been slipping so applies the brakes to that wheel and the car takes a slide towards the path! a quick dip of the clutch and we are back in a straight line again. The final one was 100 yards further when I tried to slow down for the junction and the brake pedal starts vibrating like a bucking bronco and we as not slowing down at all. Eventually with the help of a little handbrake I made round the junction. It reminds me of a couple of years ago when the Spitfire was still on the road, we had a similar amount of snow and again I had to go to work early in the morning. At the time I had an MG ZS with 17" alloys with low profile tyres so perfect for driving in the snow! I cleaned off the snow from the ZS and tried to get off the drive without any sucess. I could not even get up the slight incline of our drive so I thought I would have no chance of getting off our estate. The Spitfire at the time was de to be taken off the road to start its restoration so I thought I might as well use it as if it gets bashed then it would not be too serious.
So I cleaned the snow off the spitfire (was temped to take the roof down but it was frozen and snowing a the time) What a difference, started first time, into reverse and away we went no problems good grip and predicable handling. Got to work and back without any problems but had some great fun getting the back end sliding out but always in perfect control. The question is what did we know in 1972 (when the Spitfire was made) that we don't know now, in the 70's we had much more snow and just got on with it, now a light dusting can cause half the country to come to a compleat stop.