Jim’s Blog: Winter Weather Classic

ACC’s all about getting out and using our classic cars. Most of the time, that means picking a sunny day and hitting the road. But for vehicles like my old ’72 K10 4×4, sunny weather cruising is only part of the fun. It was designed to be a capable usable rig in all conditions, and I’m determined to treat it that way. So this past week, I gave it its first real snow test.

Last Thursday, ACC’s hometown of Portland, Oregon was hit with a rare snowstorm. Nine inches of snow fell over two days, along with high winds and a final half-inch of freezing rain topping it all off. TV news anchors warned of power outages and stopped-up roadways. Schools were closed down. Portland doesn’t salt or sand roads because weather like this is just too rare to justify the cost, so for the better part of four days, transportation in this town ground to a halt.

Of course, all this happened right in the middle of trying to ship ACC #14 to press. But it was all OK with me — this was my chance to use the transfer case in my recently-finished pickup and bust through snow drifts, steer around stuck Priuses, and execute a perfect 360-degree controlled spin in the ACC parking lot. While most people in town were calling in stuck to work without even trying due to the weather, I couldn’t wait to get out into the thick of it.

As for the truck, driving around town in the snow was fantastic. The combination of a new rear posi, new tires, and a 5,000-lb curb weight meant it went wherever I wanted to go with no fuss. It rumbled past fishtailing BMWs on the freeway, minivans in the ditch, and countless front-wheel-drive cars left on the side of the road. No problem.

Driving to work and around town was one thing, but the real payoff came from my two-year-old daughter Katie. As I’ve written before, she’s claimed this truck as her own, and she wasn’t about to let me have all the fun. So we decided to do the one thing I wasn’t sure we’d be able to do: get to my parents’ house up in the hills to go sledding. She had never seen snow before and had never been on a sled, and considering how rare valley snow is in Portland, getting to Grandpa’s house, with its perfect sledding hills, became a must. And the word from Grandpa was it was going to be a tough: according to him, nobody was getting in, and nobody was getting out. Challenge accepted.

So on Friday morning, after shipping ACC to the press at the office, Katie and I hopped in the truck for the 6-mile drive to Grandpa’s. The truck clawed its way there, uneventfully, all the way to his front door, with my daughter cheering it on from her car seat. We spent the afternoon playing in the snow and sliding down their hill on Grandpa’s old Flexible Flyer. As corny as it sounds, we wouldn’t have been able to do any of it, at least not as easily, without the old Chevy, and I think that’s a win for everyone.

Would you use an old truck like this considering what they’re worth in today’s market? What do you think? Let me know in the comments below.