Tuesday, 04 December 2012 14:15

Jim's Blog - What's the best winter snow rig?

Written by 

It doesn't snow much in Portland, OR. But when December rolls around each year, I always start watching the forecast a little more closely.

When the white stuff does start falling, the town more or less shuts down. We don’t salt the roads, and there aren't many snow plows. Plus, Portland is a hilly place, so anything slicker than rain causes all kinds of trouble. Think minivans in ditches, abandoned city buses blocking four lanes of traffic, and round-the-clock team coverage on every TV news station. “Is it snowing where you are, field reporter?  It sure is, news anchor…”

About three years ago, we were hit with a random storm at about three in the afternoon on a Thursday. Four inches fell over about two hours. It caused people to abandon their cars during their commute home. I had to ditch my Camaro and hitch a ride with a friend in a 4x4 Dodge. Between the traffic and the conditions that evening, it took us five hours to go 12 miles.

Of course, for me, all this was justification for a proper snowdrift-busting burly 4x4. So I bought my ’72 Chevy K10 — a truck I've written about here before.

I’ve never been able to get it stuck, and it doubles as a useful pickup the rest of the year. It has a heater that’ll cook you if you’re not careful, and it’s orange – the perfect color to be seen in the snow. ’67-’72 Chevy trucks are simple to maintain, and I think they look good. For me it was a no-brainer.

Am I crazy for driving something this old in bad weather? Is it smarter to spend more on a newer rig, or to go with older technology that's simple and effective? What about the impact that real use has on the collectibility of an older truck? 

What do you think makes the perfect winter snow driver? Is it a beater classic, restored truck, or a modern 4x4? Let me know in the comments below.

Jim Pickering

Jim Pickering is the Editor of American Car Collector magazine and has been the Managing Editor of Sports Car Market magazine since 2006. As proficient with Snap-On tools as he is with a keyboard, Jim began his career as a professional mechanic while still in college at Pacific University in Forest Grove, Oregon, where he earned a B.A. in Creative Writing. He can often be found at Portland International Raceway at the Late-Night Drags, behind the wheel of his 12-second big-block powered 1966 Chevrolet Caprice. He is also currently restoring a 1972 Chevrolet K10 Cheyenne Super longbed in his spare time.