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View Full Version : Would I be insane to drive in the winter?



ETLMT
09-05-2017, 10:31 PM
I am thinking about using my 1955 Champion year around in Iowa.
Traction: will a good set of snow tires do the trick?
Heat: will I freeze?
Anything else I need to think of?

Thanks

54stude
09-05-2017, 10:49 PM
I assume that you live in the road salt part of Iowa. So, unless this is a parts car that you are using up before pulling the drivetrain I would not recommend it for multiple corrosion reasons. As far as heat goes, my 54 champion with underseat heater produces enough heat to make the car comfortable inside with outside temps in the low 40's. Temps in the 30's or below, not so much.

Lou Van Anne
09-05-2017, 11:14 PM
We did it in 1955....in a Studebaker....but I wouldn't do it today....try it....and I think you will agree.

RadioRoy
09-05-2017, 11:36 PM
Here's how I look at it. Everybody else in a modern car has anti-lock brakes, traction control, stability control and all sorts of things to make a poor driver into a mediocre one. The end result of that is that all of the traffic will be driving faster, turning sharper, decelerating more quickly than you can. That can get you in trouble quickly.

My opinion is that you would not be safe in a 62 year old car in severe weather - snow and ice. For another thing, the windshield defrosters are probably terrible.

And that's not even mentioning sacrificing a car to the salt demon.

jclary
09-06-2017, 12:17 AM
Well...I see you are into "essential transformations," ... but drive that Studebaker (or any other 1955 vehicle) down a salt laden snowy road, and you will witness true "ELEMENTAL TRANSFORMATION!":eek: (It ain't pretty)

Once the underside of the frame & body experience the "power of touch" from all the chemical oxides resulting from the witches brew of road waste, water & salt...one day, you will go to your driveway and sit on the ground:confused:... where your car dissolved into it.:oops:

Seriously, save the Studebaker for FUN driving. Find a beater PT Cruiser, Prius, or Smart Car for winter driving. There are tons of "beater class" cars available for the purpose. Like the "sacrificial diode" on a saltwater outboard motor...beater cars are what preserve "FUN" cars for "Fun Driving.":!:;)

scottsewall
09-06-2017, 12:48 AM
Yes, you would be insane to drive your Studebaker in the winter.

JoeHall
09-06-2017, 06:27 AM
Short answer to the OP question: Yes.

jackb
09-06-2017, 06:28 AM
I've driven clunkers & parts' cars many times in winter up til a few years ago. Don't expect great climate control-likely with poor door seals. Snow tires and back roads work "IF" you have them for fun. If commuting anywhere near "real" cars/traffic.... use alternate vehicle.

dpson
09-06-2017, 07:32 AM
Plus if your car has vacuum wipers, they really suck.

52-fan
09-06-2017, 08:47 AM
I see you are in a small town and traffic should not be too bad. The salt would be the main concern. I drove in very cold weather in South Dakota in my 62 IHC Scout, but they did not use salt, only sand. The Scout was a tin box with no insulation and a small heater that would never get warm on short trips even though 2/3s of the radiator was blocked off. If you don't mind wearing your heavy clothes when driving, it can be done.
BTW The Scout never failed to start even when I forgot to plug in the block heater. :)

Commander Eddie
09-06-2017, 08:51 AM
I do. I even drove my Champ truck in a blinding surprise snow storm last November. It took me 7 hours to get home from work. I am no longer intimidated by bad weather in my Studebakers. They do just fine.

DEEPNHOCK
09-06-2017, 10:33 AM
In 1955 even people from Iowa didn't drive in the snow....Unless they had to...

BILT4ME
09-06-2017, 10:46 AM
I drove my 59 Lark in Iowa winters for 6 years thru high school and some college. I lived out on the farm and I was in NW Iowa, so there was more snow than you get there, and the temps were definitely colder! You start the car ahead of time, and let it idle to warm up the engine and get the automatic choke to readjust. If you have a manual choke, you need to know how to use it. Where I lived, once it got cold, it STAYED cold, and the salt had less effect. Where you live, the temp swings up and down above and below freezing. THAT's what will cause the salts to eat your car.

Was it WARM inside the car? NO. Was I going to freeze to death? NO. I ALWAYS wore the proper gear or the weather. Heavy coat, gloves, stocking cap, long underwear, heavy socks, and boots whenever possible.

The biggest problem you will have is the defroster. The fan on these is weak to say the least. If you can change out the fan and wheel, make it run smooth and faster, you MAY get it to clear the window. I typically ran with the wing windows open in order to draw air from the defroster vents across the windshield and out the wing vents. The "heat' was more for the windshield than the occupants. Forget about being able to see out the rear window until you've driven at LEAST 30 miles.

Breathe slow and shallow. This keeps the moisture down inside the car.

Driving with the windows down keeps them clear, but makes it a bit cooler.

Use RainX on the all the glass, including the mirrors to make it easier to scrape the glass and particularly the mirrors.

Either take the car out in late October and find a MUDDY road and drive up and down it to pack mud in the fenders and undercarriage, then don't wash it until April, or wash it once a week or every time you drive it.

I used 7.50-15 Mud and Snow truck tires on the rear of my Lark. I got around just fine. Yes, it's light in the rear compared to the heavy V8 sitting in the front. I frequently went up a hill in reverse, just because it made it easier to drag the weight up the hill than to try to push it and slide sideways off the road. Learn to use your mirrors. A Twin Traction rear axle would make it easier to get around.

With frequent driving in the winter, you will be MUCH more prone to discover the "Studebaker Stripe" on the front fenders and rocker panels.

Good Luck! Do what makes you happy with YOUR car. Others have done it. That's how it was done from the time cars were used. They drove them. Oh, and make sure your brakes are very well adjusted because they lock up a lot easier on snow and ice.

If you have a 3 speed, you may consider starting in 2nd gear. It can help reduce wheel spin.

jackb
09-06-2017, 12:50 PM
Even with TT, the V8 cars were no good in the snow...worse if you had a pickup. Key: 200 lbs in the trunk

Hallabutt
09-06-2017, 12:57 PM
I took my Studebakers out of regular winter service, during the 70's, because of all of the above reasons. I doubt that I have ever made a better choice. Can you do it, yes. Should you do it, no! Unless you are into self abuse, and abuse to your collectable, a one year of trial should cure you of this folly.

E. Davis
09-06-2017, 02:39 PM
C'mon guys...modern cars have made you wimpy. I drove my 59 silver hawk 365 days a year in Montana. Had too..we were a one car family in those days. Winter roads in Montana then were sanded not salted and the biggest problems were chipped windshields. I drove many miles in below zero weather and I will admit the defroster in the hawk was a little puny but the under seat heater was more than adequate. Plenty of heat on the floor and cracking the vent windows kept the windshield reasonably clear. I would drive my 61 Hawk in the winter now if it were not for the liquid brine they treat the roads and streets with eating it alive.

Hallabutt
09-07-2017, 01:12 AM
I would drive my 61 Hawk in the winter now if it were not for the liquid brine they treat the roads and streets with eating it alive.

Exactly my point! One required restoration of a car that was needlessly driven in the winter would be enough to dissuade anyone from driving a collector car in the winter. Unless of course a person doesn't care, and is Hell bent on turning his special ride into just another beater. I guess it gets to be just a matter of how much comfort, safety and extra expense someone is willing to forgo. It's a lesson that many of us came to grips long ago. Just trying to help with some perspective for someone who has never been through it.

57pack
09-07-2017, 06:57 AM
I don't know what the Iowa DOT uses on their roads for snow and ice removal. Here in NJ the DOT uses that brine solution which is at least 10X more corrosive than the salt sand mixture they used before. They apply the brine to the road surface before a storm hits so it gets all over your car before the first snow flake hits the ground. Stays there during the storm and is still there after the melt.
It would make lace out of the bottom of any 1955 car or truck.

DEEPNHOCK
09-07-2017, 07:29 AM
Want to see what road salt/brine does to a '61 Hawk?
I have one that every piece of metal is eaten through, including the frame.
I think your comments are apropos.



I would drive my 61 Hawk in the winter now if it were not for the liquid brine they treat the roads and streets with eating it alive.

Exactly my point! One required restoration of a car that was needlessly driven in the winter would be enough to dissuade anyone from driving a collector car in the winter. Unless of course a person doesn't care, and is Hell bent on turning his special ride into just another beater. I guess it gets to be just a matter of how much comfort, safety and extra expense someone is willing to forgo. It's a lesson that many of us came to grips long ago. Just trying to help with some perspective for someone who has never been through it.

8E45E
09-07-2017, 08:19 AM
There are a lot here who own newer, expensive cars, which include Italian exotics, Porsches, Mercedes Benzes, BMW's, et al., who will drive a 'throwaway' vehicle like a Lexus or an Infiniti SUV in the winter months.

Craig

Vertwagon
09-07-2017, 09:15 AM
everyone is comparing your 55 to modern safer cars. if your not looking for all the creature comforts (like airbags), know how to drive safely, and monitor for corrosion. drive the darn thing, its what it was made for.

thunderations
09-07-2017, 10:07 AM
I drive the 66 Daytona all winter long, even when it gets below 80 degrees. Then again, I have driven it in the summer too, when it's well over 100 degrees.
Note: This may not help your decision at all because "winter" means something totally different to you then Phoenix, where everyone from Iowa comes to miss what you're concerned with.

RadioRoy
09-07-2017, 12:24 PM
everyone is comparing your 55 to modern safer cars. if your not looking for all the creature comforts (like airbags), know how to drive safely, and monitor for corrosion. drive the darn thing, its what it was made for.

I was comparing the 55 to how modern drivers DRIVE, and the increased speeds they drive and the maneuvers they can make that a 55 car probably cannot make. I still say that, when on the road with other DRIVERS, he is not safe.

ETLMT
09-07-2017, 06:39 PM
A lot of great input that is greatly appreciated.

Since we do foster parent we could need room for 6 people which the Studebaker champion I could easily do that that, but with everything else aside I do not want 5 people complaining.

Need to do some more thinking!

Swifster
09-07-2017, 07:27 PM
Let the moans and groans start... You can't beat a mini-van.

JoeHall
09-07-2017, 08:52 PM
The six volt heater motor is basically useless if the temp drops below 30. You could wear an electric snowmobile suit, wired into the vehicle's electrics, but not sure they are available in 6V. Also, the dash controls may be a bit difficult to operate with the mittens on.

RadioRoy
09-08-2017, 12:19 AM
A lot of great input that is greatly appreciated.

Since we do foster parent we could need room for 6 people which the Studebaker champion I could easily do that that, but with everything else aside I do not want 5 people complaining.

Need to do some more thinking!

So you will have children in the car, too?

Maybe I'm just being a little old lady about the safety angle, but I would never drive children in a 62 year old car in the snow. Who is gonna fix it when it conks out on the side of the road - the young man who drives the triple A truck?

I agree that more thought is needed - significantly more thought.

daytonadave
09-08-2017, 03:54 PM
66830
If I have been driving a newer car for the last few years, going back to drums brakes would probably put me in the ditch. I drove my 62 Daytona in snow and Ice from 67-74 in the Midwest and on Performance Tires. Today, there are a lot more people on the road who do not know how to drive. Now Auto Manufacturers are taking control of their vehicles with all those new sensors.

wdills
09-08-2017, 04:21 PM
I agree with Roy. Modern cars with ABS brakes can just stop too quick. You won't have a chance. We get more ice than snow in my area, but on either one ABS brakes have saved me a coupe times when someone in front of me decided to stop for no apparent reason.

I get nervous driving my Hawk on a nice sunny day. Even with a front disc brake conversion, I am well aware that everyone around me can stop in half the distance I can.

JoeHall
09-08-2017, 04:43 PM
All three of our Hawks have aux heaters and sealed rear quarter windows, so inside heat is not a problem. The coldest I ever drove in a Stude was in the 56J once, 20 below zero, for about 75 miles. With both heaters on, it was warm but not toasty. I have also discovered, if the AC is ran on high at same time as the heat and defroster, the windows stay a lot clearer, including the rear windshield.
As long as roads are dry, I have no problem driving a Stude in the winter. But when they are wet, icy or snowy, and have been salted, no way. The Studes stay in the garage. But that is usually no more than about six weeks here in KY, where winters are fairly mild.

As for Foster kids, or anyone else's kids in my Stude, NO WAY, not under any conditions, in any season. My own kids, however, have grown up in Studes.

Milaca
09-08-2017, 08:48 PM
Get a Studebaker Conestoga wagon and a team of horses to pull it, and allow yourself 10x more travel time to get from point A to point B. Oh, and get some heavy wool blankets to keep yourself warm.

BILT4ME
09-11-2017, 11:39 AM
If your whole point of doing this is to have a "cheap" vehicle to drive, then buy a disposable, used Dodge Grand Caravan. It WILL get around in the winter in Iowa better than a Stude. If you're going for the "cool" factor (not cold, but kool) then only drive it in the summer. Can it be done as a back-up vehicle? Yes, but don;t make it your sole DD. Especially with foster kids. When it rusts out enough to throw a chicken through it, then push it off in the ditch and get another.

We were a foster family and we had over 22 kids through the house when I was growing up. We always had one "kid hauler" that was typically a station wagon or a minivan. This was ALWAYS the newest vehicle we owned and was always the first priority to get fixed. We also lived on a farm and had about 6 other "back-up" vehicles, including a 1968 International Loadstar 5 ton truck. We did what we had to do, but we had the SW, 4x4's, my Stude, a Camaro, and a couple HD trucks and if it got REAL bad, we could always take the tractor to town.....or the snowmobile.

Can it be done? Yes, as I said earlier. However, don't sacrifice another Stude for this purpose.

RadioRoy
01-31-2018, 03:24 PM
How did this turn out? Is the OP driving his 55 full of kids in the snow?

Noxnabaker
02-01-2018, 03:56 PM
I've had modern cars from time to time & always regreted it, but that's me...
& in Sweden we do get snow.
Extra heater & taking it easy enough & keeping distances, let's face it, if you KNOW your brakes & tires are alright then it's up to you if you wanna crash, & who does?