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LeoH
11-22-2013, 09:08 PM
This is one for even those of you with show mobiles now, but drove Studes like cars back in the day. I'm interested in reading about your snow driving adventures with your cars. Twin traction or not, snow tires or not, happy endings or not I'd like to read about your winter driving adventures you remember.

63t-cab
11-22-2013, 09:49 PM
My best times driving in the snow, "with my Fathers 62 Lark". He bought the Lark that needed an engine "six cyl." along with the engine swap,He swapped out the rear end for a 3:07 TT model 27 - I think it origionally had a 3:73 ? I can tell you that car WAS a tank and would go anywhere in any snow We ever had,with all season tires.He would get into some hills where cars were stuck/staggared all over.He'd stop as needed,and then for fun just floor it and the people would stand with their hands on their hips in dis-belief.Our joke was wondering if the torque convertor was actually spinning,when the six would just mope up the roads ;)

62champ
11-22-2013, 09:56 PM
My father-in-law's mother worked nights so he and his buddys would go out driving around at night in the Green Bay, WI. area. He said on several occasion the snow would get so packed under the hood that the fan blade would stop turning (belt squealing gave it away). Easy fix though - they had a broom stick that they would knock out the packed in snow with.

1962larksedan
11-22-2013, 09:58 PM
'Snow' is an obscene word in my dictionary...............20 Wash DC winters cured me of that------------permanently.

rockne10
11-22-2013, 10:12 PM
In September, 1974 I moved in to a stone lodge near the top of Tussey Mountain in central Pennsylvania, where I would live for four years. This place was buried in the hardwoods. It was owned by United Campus Ministries at Penn State and they needed a caretaker, as they had experienced numerous break-ins. The place was a haven for clandestine parties, both collegiate and underage locals. They rightfully felt just having someone live there would be a deterrence.
The dirt road was a mile to the pavement and totally shielded from the sunlight by the overbearing forest, as well as being on the north side of the slope.
Once winter assumed its position, that mile of road would only accumulate increasing packed snow. Once in a while a local water authority plow would make its way to the spring house that was about a quarter mile below the lodge. The packed accumulation would not dissipate until sometime in late March.
My employer required I be at work by 6 am. My ride was a '53 Commander Starlight.
I was still running the bias tires and had a set of snow chains. These were not snow tires!
What I found out was the summer bias tires would provide better traction on the cold packed snow than the chains. Once those chains hit the pack they just wanted to spin and dig a hole until they found a base.
Cold packed snow or hard ice is dry when well below freezing. Provided you don't break traction you are driving dry tires on dry roads. Once the speed of the car did not match the speed of the tires all was lost! Spinning from too much throttle, or sliding from too much braking spelled disaster.
Each morning I would drive down the mile on bare summer bias tires. Once I got to the pavement and maintained roads, I would stop and put on the chains to proceed to town. After work the procedure was reversed. I would drive to the bottom of Mountain Road, stop and take off the chains. Then proceed to run up the mile to the lodge with my one wheel drive Commander on my summer slicks. As long as traction was not broken arrival was assured.
I did that for four years. In 1978 I moved in to town.
I still own that '53 Commander. I call her Désirée, after Désirée Clary, betrothed to Napoleon Bonaparte and later Queen of Sweden and Norway.

Why not?

stude dude
11-22-2013, 10:27 PM
We haven't seen snow around my part of the world since the last ice age. I am pretty sure it is impossible to buy snow tires anywhere on this continent!

Chris.

Bob Andrews
11-22-2013, 10:32 PM
Awesome story, Brad, thanks for sharing.

PlainBrownR2
11-23-2013, 02:52 AM
My experiences from "back in the day" with the Lark only extend to a couple of years ago :rolleyes:.............

I have a '64 Commander with an R2/Powershift in it, that was my daily transportation from 1999-2012. It was finally retired due to salt finally getting to the rearmost passenger shackle on the outer frame rail, so the car was retired and the drivetrain, one of the years, is gonna go into a '63 Daytona that I have in the backyard. But anyway, because it was my only transportation aside from our '95 Crown Vic as a backup, it saw pretty much everything; wind, rain, snow, sleet, the whole shebang in the Chicago area. From 2004 onward, or thereabouts, it also sported its Paxton Supercharger, under the same conditions, so it had plenty of go. It didn't have Twin Traction at that point, the 4.09 TT was replaced by a 3.31 open rear a few years before, so I got good at one wheelie peelies. Anyway, having a supercharger running full tilt when the weather was in the 20's and 30's was interesting. See, when it got cold, the air got dense, which made engines run better. Add in a compressor pushing it into the engine, and it made it TONS more better. When the Lark breathed all of that cold air in at 55-60 mph, it had a little more punch to it, so when the engine was nice and warm while it was still freezing out, it left you with a little more pedal left, and it was still wanting to go! I know this applied to all cars at that temperature, but between me, the Crown Vic, the Lark, and my butt dyno, the Lark was something completely different at those temperatures! :rolleyes:

Deaf Mute
11-23-2013, 03:33 PM
Back in Minnesota, I could plow through a lot of snow in our 1950 Champion four door... there would be two plumes of snow bellowing up between the nose and the headlights. It was quite a sight to see. The '51 finally died and Dad got a '51 Commander two door. That pan between the bumper brackets changed things, but when encountering hard packed drifts, the front end would ride up on the drift & with the chains on the back, that Stude would just churn its way through all kinds of situations. I got places in Marshall, Minnesota that a lot of other vehicles couldn't. Two of my buddies had Model A Fords & I must confess that they were even better getting through the drifts, especially if they had knobby tires and the strap on chains. We used to back the Studie into the garage with the floor jack under the differential & Dad & I could have it jacked up, chained up, and out the door in about two minutes in the morning. (I had to squeeze into the back corner against the wall allowing him more room to do the drivers side.) The "good old days"?

rodnutrandy
11-23-2013, 05:22 PM
The last 3 years , I have taken my truck to a inside show on Valentine's week end . First year I trailered it, open trailer, and it was dirtier than friends that drove to show from same area. Last 2 years I drove it and had to remove snow and ice to dry off truck to show. The show is a lot of fun and since I have fiberglass fenders and belting up underneath the fenders to prevent rock stars , I figure a little snow won't hurt the truck and it gets washed down good when it comes home.

Dan Timberlake
11-24-2013, 09:20 AM
When I was about 12 my dad was working 2 or 3 jobs, one being a business he was starting up. A few years before He'd bought a dark green 1960 Lark VIII Wagon new to support the new business. Another one of his jobs was working at a local ski tow on the weekend. The kind hearted owner let me help out some in exchange for boots and poles, but mostly I just skied all day for free. I'm not sure my dad ever had the Lark tuned up, for reasons of his nature, and certainly because of poor cash flow.

I can still remember standing in the cold while departing tow workers marched past past us in the dark at the end of the day as a smaller group of helpful "experts" were messing around under the hood, air cleaner off, trying to coax that poor, cold, neglected 259 to fire. A favorite trick was to wedge the choke open a bit with a screwdriver. I think i remember my dad explained it was because the engine was flooded.

My 259 2bbl 1960 Hawk starts great, although maybe it has not been tested quite as severely tempearture wise.

I wish I'd known then what I know now to help my dad out.

jackb
11-24-2013, 11:45 AM
...car/truck....weight.....tires.....traction......go.....I've never had the best of snow driving in any of my Studes unless I put 200lbs in the trunk...especially my Champ truck(300+ lbs). Being such a light car, you just don't purchase enough traction......many of these vehicles had TT...made no difference...no weight = no go...I remember my 1st 63' Lark: TT with steel studded snow tires fresh off the rack from the local Taxi company (guess the fleet ?)....went out to Cheshire, Mass to visit a friend. Lots of snow down his 1/4 mile driveway. I had boasted to him on the studded snow tires and the TT......was embarrassed when he had to pull me some distance and help me get to his house. Happened 2-3 times that weekend......He was driving a 66' Chevy sedan with just snow tires......really had me buffaloed until I was leaving Sunday night when he showed me why he always got up the drive.....Opened his trunk and showed me the 4- 50lb sand bags in the trunk...lesson learned...

hawk58man
11-24-2013, 01:23 PM
62 larksedan,You are a SMART MAN.Thats why you live in Bullhead City AZ. Living in the Great Northwest, in Eastern Washington State for the past 24 years, and when"winter comes" I always remember ,being stationed at Davis Monthan A.F.B. Tucson Az. I do belive the "Bass fishing is much better here though. My regards to the Sunny State of Arizona....

acolds
11-24-2013, 01:25 PM
I remember my dads 53 Commander sedan the front scope under bumper would fill up with snow blocking air flow and car would start to overheat clear snow al was well. My 61 Hawk 4 speed and tt was used as my only carfrom 1962 until 1968 including winters with snow tires always kept sand in trunk during winter as well as shovel and chains. Never had to walk so it must have been good in snow. Snow tires were judged by how they went in snow not how long they lasted sawdust in tread was popular back then around here before studded tires appeared

53k
11-24-2013, 01:29 PM
Two snow stories
First- I was being reassigned to my new duty station in Rhode Island. I was taking my between-station leave in Kansas and I was looking for a Lark. This was after looking at other compacts then having driven a new '61 Cruiser. My getting rid of my beautiful, but POS '57 Plymouth was made easy with that Cruiser ride. I had wanted a red Regal 4-door, V-8 with overdrive and split reclining seats. Couldn't find one so we settled for an Autumn Haze Cruiser, automatic, but with split recliners at Don Schmidt Motors in Wichita, KS. Anyhow, with fewer than 200 miles on the car we started for Rhode Island, the trunk and back seat filled with pretty much our worldly goods. We spent the night with my aunt just outside Joplin, MO. Got up in the morning and it was snowing pretty hard. I drove on in to Joplin, stopped at a station, bought chains and had them put on. Then we headed east on old Route 66. It snowed harder and harder and pretty soon we and a tractor trailer were about the only vehicles on the road. We pretty much stayed in the tracks of the truck except that we had to stop every so often to clean the snow from under the wiper blades. We made it all the way to the western part of St Louis where we broke our way through the snow into a motel with little garages at each room and spent the night. The next morning the snow had stopped, the roads were clear and we chugged on east. Got the 1,000-service on the car somewhere in Indiana or Ohio then went on to RI with no further snow.
Second- In 1983, two years after we moved to WV we had what ended up a 36-inch snow. At that time I had the '60 one-ton 4wd wrecker that George Hamlin has now. It was a one-of-a-kind having been built for a thrifty Yankee Studebaker dealer in 1961, but with the 245 cid six which wasn't offered in '61. Anyhow, I decided to see how the old guy would handle deep snow. When there was about 18 inches on the ground I pulled it out of the shed, engaged the hubs and high range 4wd and started out. It had no problems with the snow that deep (750x17 tires on 17-inch wheels and huge axles front and rear). However, in about a quarter mile the engine died. I figured it had run out of gas so I trudged back to the shed and got a five-gallon can, trudged back and poured it in into the tank. Still wouldn't start so I opened the hood and found a glacier. The engine was completely covered with snow. Apparently the big old front differential was deflecting the snow right up on to the engine and it had drowned out. I clawed away enough snow to uncover the distributor, the plugs and the carb, got in and it started right up. I then backed all way down the road, into my driveway and into the shed. Lesson learned.

SN-60
11-24-2013, 01:35 PM
Back before I had a clue, I survived six New England winters behind the wheel of a 1956 Studebaker Golden Hawk. This car had the O/D and a 3.92 rear gear.....and with that horribly overweight front end, it had difficulty gaining traction even on completely dry pavement! Second or even high gear starts on ice were a must....and I became pretty good at it. Nowadays, I marvel at the excellent traction My 'Blake' Avanti has in snow OR ice...of course, I put the best snow tires on it.......and carry about 125lbs of weight in the trunk when a storm is predicted.

RadioRoy
11-24-2013, 07:05 PM
'Snow' is an obscene word in my dictionary...............20 Wash DC winters cured me of that------------permanently.

23 Minnesota winters did it for me. :(

rockne10
11-24-2013, 09:24 PM
Snow tires were judged by how they went in snow not how long they lasted sawdust in tread was popular back then around here before studded tires appearedThose sawdust tires were called Skid-rid and were patented by a fellow in my hometown of Washington, PA. And, THEY DID WORK ! But never lasted more than one or two winters. But at $8.95 a tire, so what.

http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1314&dat=19491205&id=rYBWAAAAIBAJ&sjid=n-UDAAAAIBAJ&pg=4113,2524481

LeoH
11-24-2013, 10:53 PM
Wow Paul, that must have been a heckuva surprise seeing the engine compartment snowed in!

Thanks for all the recollections.

LeoH
11-24-2013, 10:54 PM
Those sawdust tires were called Skid-rid and were patented by a fellow in my hometown of Washington, PA. And, THEY DID WORK ! But never lasted more than one or two winters. But at $8.95 a tire, so what.

http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1314&dat=19491205&id=rYBWAAAAIBAJ&sjid=n-UDAAAAIBAJ&pg=4113,2524481

So how were they supposed to work?

LeoH
11-24-2013, 10:56 PM
My father-in-law's mother worked nights so he and his buddys would go out driving around at night in the Green Bay, WI. area. He said on several occasion the snow would get so packed under the hood that the fan blade would stop turning (belt squealing gave it away). Easy fix though - they had a broom stick that they would knock out the packed in snow with.

wow. You'd think a snow dam/plow under the radiator woulda kept that from happening. :confused:

rockne10
11-24-2013, 11:25 PM
So how were they supposed to work?They were simply recapped tires with a snow tread that had sawdust mixed with the molten rubber. Modern siping of winter tires is a vast improvement but is not recommended for recaps.

Bob Andrews
11-25-2013, 04:32 AM
Those sawdust tires were called Skid-rid and were patented by a fellow in my hometown of Washington, PA. And, THEY DID WORK !


Around here they wer called 'Polar Grip' or 'garbage tread'. And as you said, they worked great, just didn't last long.

studeclunker
11-25-2013, 12:16 PM
My old days stories are from my parent's ranch and they had a Chevy. Our biggest problem was finding the car after it finished snowing. Mum got to where she would only park under the tree across the road after the first winter. At least that way we knew where it was.

More recently, we don't have consistent snow up in Fawn Lodge. Sometimes there's several feet, other winters none at all. About four years or so ago, we got three feet in a matter of a few days. Old Bess just chugged up the driveway slowly and reliably, without chains. Like Brad, I found that with chains the tyres would just dig till they found bottom when on snow pack. Thus, we'd keep them in the back (if the CHP decided to require them) and drove down the hill without. One time George's brother came to visit and see the snow. He couldn't get out the driveway when it climbed up a short hill to the main road. Bess just chugged right up without any issues at all. Everyone was totally amazed that a Land Rover couldn't deal with the snow and my old Studebaker had no trouble with it!

candbstudebakers
11-26-2013, 01:17 AM
Since I grew up in Minnesota and drove in snow I can be part of this thread, my first car in 1958 was a 48 Land Cruiser burned oil like there was no tomorrow but always ran, one night myself and a few of my buddies were cruising down an old farm dirt road going about 50 and the damn hood flipped up and ripped right off the car we didn't even stop to pick it up as a car behind us drove over it and was dragging it down the road, so the rest of the life of the cruiser was with out a hood I would go out in the morning and sweep the snow off the seat because there was no driver side window either and the damn thing would fire right up and blow all the snow off the engine and off to school I would go picking my buddies up on the way, lots of Saturday afternoons were spent down on the lake running the race course with studded tires and skidding side ways cutting down muskrat houses, them were the good old days in Minnesota always about 20 below when we had the most fun. also played all my hockey on out door rinks even in high school.

Transtar56
11-26-2013, 11:20 AM
I once drove my 62 GT Hawk in heavy snow and thought it tracked very well and had good traction. It was balanced well enough that any rear wheel break away could be corrected with a quick counter steer.

rockne10
11-26-2013, 08:40 PM
Ron's mention of a Land Rover reminded me of another event while I lived in that lodge on the mountain.

One night there was a knock on the door.
It seems this fellow had been out scouting mountain roads in his Bronco and had managed to slide off in to some brush and bog. Even with his 4WD it just wouldn't climb out. I don't know,... maybe his tires were bald.
At any rate, at that time I was still driving my very first Studebaker; the '62 Regal Lark VI I got when my grandad passed away.
I told him I would try and help him out but a one wheel drive Studebaker on snowy dirt roads would probably be even less effective than a 4WD Bronco.
Ran a chain between us and...

Saved him from one big service call.

63t-cab
11-26-2013, 09:54 PM
That's quite the story, and you mean to tell Me He didn't say He'd go right out and join the SDC and get a Studebaker ;) just had a thought :ohmy:,maybe He did and visits this forum :confused:

Ron's mention of a Land Rover reminded me of another event while I lived in that lodge on the mountain.

One night there was a knock on the door.
It seems this fellow had been out scouting mountain roads in his Bronco and had managed to slide off in to some brush and bog. Even with his 4WD it just wouldn't climb out. I don't know,... maybe his tires were bald.
At any rate, at that time I was still driving my very first Studebaker; the '62 Regal Lark VI I got when my grandad passed away.
I told him I would try and help him out but a one wheel drive Studebaker on snowy dirt roads would probably be even less effective than a 4WD Bronco.
Ran a chain between us and...

Saved him from one big service call.

SN-60
12-01-2013, 03:51 PM
My last set of snow tires lasted about five seasons....but were indeed looking a bit 'weak', so off to the Firestone store today and back with a brand new set of 'Firestone Winterforce' snow tires (P20575R-15) for the '83 Avanti. They are supposed to be the most 'aggressive' snow tires available from Firestone....and they have to be directionally installed. They are also touted as being less noisy on dry pavement than the older 'lug' style snow tires....We'll see!!

acolds
12-01-2013, 04:54 PM
Have two sets of Firestone winterforce with studs one on my lincoln other set on daughters Mustang they work but with studs do make more noise. I've had better luck with studs. If they can put grioves in cement they should work on ice I have my doubts about all the hype over the sipes . Being old school with rear wheel drive I have a set of chains in my trunk just in case have used them before and hope not to again.

SN-60
12-02-2013, 05:01 PM
Have two sets of Firestone winterforce with studs one on my lincoln other set on daughters Mustang they work but with studs do make more noise. I've had better luck with studs. If they can put grioves in cement they should work on ice I have my doubts about all the hype over the sipes . Being old school with rear wheel drive I have a set of chains in my trunk just in case have used them before and hope not to again.

Sounds to Me like You're 'Good To Go!' I didn't opt for studs this time because they really do make a racket on dry pavement. I don't carry tire chains in the Avanti anymore...but do keep a pair of 'axle busters' in the trunk to get the car moving if things REALLY get tough!

Daan
12-02-2013, 05:24 PM
I had Winterforce tires on my O-T car, and replaced them with "General Altimax Arctic" tires http://www.tirerack.com/tires/tires.jsp?tireMake=General&tireModel=Altimax+Arctic
which I think work way better than the Firestones did. They usually last 3-4 winters for me until they get really noisy and don't grip as well. THey seem to be either the same price, or a little cheaper too.
THis was a Miata, BTW and I only ever got stuck once in it, when I "high centered" myself on the berm the snowplow left behind. Kind of embarrassing.

Oh yeah, I remember my Dad telling me about he and my Mom going on their honeymoon in Feb. 67, there was such a bad winter storm between northern WI where they lived and Chicago where they were going, that the state called out the National Guard, and were using tanks and other tracked vehicles to pull people out of ditches and stuff.

R_David
12-04-2013, 03:51 PM
My last set of snow tires lasted about five seasons....but were indeed looking a bit 'weak', so off to the Firestone store today and back with a brand new set of 'Firestone Winterforce' snow tires (P20575R-15) for the '83 Avanti. They are supposed to be the most 'aggressive' snow tires available from Firestone....and they have to be directionally installed. They are also touted as being less noisy on dry pavement than the older 'lug' style snow tires....We'll see!!

I hadn't heard of those, I would be interested in your impression of how they handle the snow (once we get some!)

R_David
12-04-2013, 03:53 PM
SN-60: How do you keep the salt from corroding your Avanti? Do you have an undercoating or just flush the underside occasionally? I really would like to drive my Hawk in the winter but I am terrified of what the salt would do to it.

SN-60
12-04-2013, 04:36 PM
SN-60: How do you keep the salt from corroding your Avanti? Do you have an undercoating or just flush the underside occasionally? I really would like to drive my Hawk in the winter but I am terrified of what the salt would do to it.

I wouldn't drive a Hawk or any 'all metal' Stude during the winter, unless that car was consigned to be a 'driver' and nothing more. The Avanti situation is completely different because, as You know, the Avanti bodies are impervious to corrosion. As far as the frame goes, I keep it well coated with used crankcase oil in the summer (sprayed on), and frequently high pressure wash it in the winter. (and this has really seemed to work, as I've been driving my '83 Avanti year round since I purchased it from it's first owner (a woman) in 1994. Another advantage the Avantis have over metal Studes (I think) is better weight transfer to the driving wheels....especially with a bit of extra weight in the trunk. (Moved battery into trunk many years ago.)

PS...Im speaking of Chevy engined Avantis here!

Dan Timberlake
12-05-2013, 11:24 AM
My Winterforce experiences are pretty similar (real good) to the Tire Rack reviews.
http://www.tirerack.com/survey/SurveyComments.jsp?additionalComments=Y&commentStatus=P&tireMake=Firestone&tireModel=Winterforce

Looks like Altimax may out score them, mostly on good snow performance after tread has worn.

I've used Winterforce tires on several front and RWD cars in north central massachusetts.
(In some sizes they were also about the cheapest around)
In fact I'm getting ready to build a set of my best used ones for a Volvo right now.

I enjoy playing with cars in the snow, so a certain amount of slippin' and slidin' is just good fun, but a tire needs to have traction that fades a little gradually so I have something to work with.
A set of 4 Narrow, studless narrow snows has transformed our worst winter cars (and they were BAD with name brand middle tier all-seasons) into a confident family car that also likes to play.
The importance of "narrow" should not be taken lightly if real snow performance is important. 205s on a 3200 lb Volvo is about the upper limit. 195s or 185s would very likely be better.
As recently as 1997 Volvo said this in their owner's manual. "Volvo recommends 185/65 R15 winter tires on 15" wheels on all 850 models including models equipped with 16" or 17" wheels."

If money was no object I'd get low end Blizzaks or Michelin's studless snows, expecting to be dazzled (again). A young engineer friend who grew up in Vermont fitted his VW Jetta with Blizzaks before last winter. He RAVED about their snow traction in all directions.

For the last few decades I always fit snows to all 4 wheels.
Winterforce (and Altimax) are "studdable" (not Stude-able) as opposed to ""studless". So they lack the fancy studless rubber technology that is usually amazing on any kind of snow that resembles ice.
I've run studded snows a few times long ago, and the few days a year that ice is a real problem, studs are tough to beat. All other days they are noisy and may have even worse emergency handling on dry roads than regular snows, which can be a bit treacherous, maybe moreso with normal snows in the front.

None-the-less, Winterforces of 2 or 3 years ago have soft-when-cold-rubber, the modern tread style with reasonable blocks and zillions of sipes, and work real well in most snow and slush.
Our driveway has a slight slope toward the road, at just the right pitch to really test a car and tire capabilites. Iv'e had a //few// all seasons that were pretty capable on the road in the snow starting, stopping and turning, but are pale performers compared to real snows, and the driveway test makes it clear what to expect.

R_David
12-05-2013, 02:02 PM
I wouldn't drive a Hawk or any 'all metal' Stude during the winter, unless that car was consigned to be a 'driver' and nothing more. The Avanti situation is completely different because, as You know, the Avanti bodies are impervious to corrosion. As far as the frame goes, I keep it well coated with used crankcase oil in the summer (sprayed on), and frequently high pressure wash it in the winter. (and this has really seemed to work, as I've been driving my '83 Avanti year round since I purchased it from it's first owner (a woman) in 1994. Another advantage the Avantis have over metal Studes (I think) is better weight transfer to the driving wheels....especially with a bit of extra weight in the trunk. (Moved battery into trunk many years ago.)

PS...Im speaking of Chevy engined Avantis here!

Thanks! I am going to use your rationale above on the boss when I talk to her about my reasoning for wanting an Avanti II! Love it! (Let's hope she buys it, then I can drive a Studebaker year round)

tbredehoft
12-05-2013, 03:58 PM
In the winter of '57-8, I was home from college, we had a snow storm. The radio announced that Rt 2, along Lake Erie (northern Ohio) was closed to traffic due to blowing snow. I picked up one of my buddies in my '50 Land Cruiser and off we went to see just how bad Rt 2 was. It was strange with no traffice, we were breezing alot about 40, (Legal Limit was 50, and it WAS snowing hard). We saw a drift across the road, blown at an angle to the road. I kept going, without pushing too hard. The left side hit the drift first, (drift was maybe 8 or 10 inches high and maybe 45 or 50 feet across) The back end came around on the right, and we slowly backed into the low, broad ditch on the right side of the road. The ditch was low enough that the entire car was below the road surface.

We walked to a nearby house and I phoned another buddy who lived 4 or 5 miles away and had a tractor. In about 45 minutes he showed up, hooked onto the car and pulled us up to the road surface. We sat in the car and talked until he got warm, he headed home and we drove back to town none the worse for wear.

Four wheel drive might have gotten us out of the ditch, but it wouldn't have kept us from going in. I found out why the state had closed Rt. 2.

SN-60
12-05-2013, 04:43 PM
My Winterforce experiences are pretty similar (real good) to the Tire Rack reviews.
http://www.tirerack.com/survey/SurveyComments.jsp?additionalComments=Y&commentStatus=P&tireMake=Firestone&tireModel=Winterforce

Looks like Altimax may out score them, mostly on good snow performance after tread has worn.

I've used Winterforce tires on several front and RWD cars in north central massachusetts.
(In some sizes they were also about the cheapest around)
In fact I'm getting ready to build a set of my best used ones for a Volvo right now.

I enjoy playing with cars in the snow, so a certain amount of slippin' and slidin' is just good fun, but a tire needs to have traction that fades a little gradually so I have something to work with.
A set of 4 Narrow, studless narrow snows has transformed our worst winter cars (and they were BAD with name brand middle tier all-seasons) into a confident family car that also likes to play.
The importance of "narrow" should not be taken lightly if real snow performance is important. 205s on a 3200 lb Volvo is about the upper limit. 195s or 185s would very likely be better.
As recently as 1997 Volvo said this in their owner's manual. "Volvo recommends 185/65 R15 winter tires on 15" wheels on all 850 models including models equipped with 16" or 17" wheels."

If money was no object I'd get low end Blizzaks or Michelin's studless snows, expecting to be dazzled (again). A young engineer friend who grew up in Vermont fitted his VW Jetta with Blizzaks before last winter. He RAVED about their snow traction in all directions.

For the last few decades I always fit snows to all 4 wheels.
Winterforce (and Altimax) are "studdable" (not Stude-able) as opposed to ""studless". So they lack the fancy studless rubber technology that is usually amazing on any kind of snow that resembles ice.
I've run studded snows a few times long ago, and the few days a year that ice is a real problem, studs are tough to beat. All other days they are noisy and may have even worse emergency handling on dry roads than regular snows, which can be a bit treacherous, maybe moreso with normal snows in the front.

None-the-less, Winterforces of 2 or 3 years ago have soft-when-cold-rubber, the modern tread style with reasonable blocks and zillions of sipes, and work real well in most snow and slush.
Our driveway has a slight slope toward the road, at just the right pitch to really test a car and tire capabilites. Iv'e had a //few// all seasons that were pretty capable on the road in the snow starting, stopping and turning, but are pale performers compared to real snows, and the driveway test makes it clear what to expect.

Interesting story and good information......thanks!

SN-60
12-05-2013, 04:44 PM
In the winter of '57-8, I was home from college, we had a snow storm. The radio announced that Rt 2, along Lake Erie (northern Ohio) was closed to traffic due to blowing snow. I picked up one of my buddies in my '50 Land Cruiser and off we went to see just how bad Rt 2 was. It was strange with no traffice, we were breezing alot about 40, (Legal Limit was 50, and it WAS snowing hard). We saw a drift across the road, blown at an angle to the road. I kept going, without pushing too hard. The left side hit the drift first, (drift was maybe 8 or 10 inches high and maybe 45 or 50 feet across) The back end came around on the right, and we slowly backed into the low, broad ditch on the right side of the road. The ditch was low enough that the entire car was below the road surface.

We walked to a nearby house and I phoned another buddy who lived 4 or 5 miles away and had a tractor. In about 45 minutes he showed up, hooked onto the car and pulled us up to the road surface. We sat in the car and talked until he got warm, he headed home and we drove back to town none the worse for wear.

Four wheel drive might have gotten us out of the ditch, but it wouldn't have kept us from going in. I found out why the state had closed Rt. 2.

Thank God for buddies!!

Champ51
12-05-2013, 09:12 PM
Around here they wer called 'Polar Grip' or 'garbage tread'. And as you said, they worked great, just didn't last long.

I also grew up in Minnesota driving on snow. Our 51 Champion convertible usually had Polar Grips which made the car passable as a winter car. But the last set of snow tires Dad bought for it were even better. They were studded and they cut the mustard. I still have them and they still hold air quite well. I used them until I bought the new tires for the Colorado Springs meet.

The amazing thing to me is the lack of "advertising" on the sidewalls. No brand name, no size description, just a serial number on the back.

SN-60
12-07-2013, 08:20 AM
[QUOTE=Dan Timberlake;

None-the-less, Winterforces of 2 or 3 years ago have soft-when-cold-rubber, the modern tread style with reasonable blocks and zillions of sipes, and work real well in most snow and slush.
Our driveway has a slight slope toward the road, at just the right pitch to really test a car and tire capabilites. Iv'e had a //few// all seasons that were pretty capable on the road in the snow starting, stopping and turning, but are pale performers compared to real snows, and the driveway test makes it clear what to expect.[/QUOTE]

I never knew about the 'soft when cold' rubber thing........VERY INTERESTING!

LeoH
12-07-2013, 10:26 AM
It may not be timely enough for me to try, but I have a '60 Lark Wagon with 195/65R15 tires on it and I was wanting to make our club's appearance in a Christmas parade today, but there's about 2 inches of snow on the ground.
I considered getting a set of the cable chains, but when I felt between the sidewalls and the fenders that I really don't have enough clearance to do something like that. It's going to be studded snows or no go in the snow, it seems.
Can anyone speak to this specific issue, the clearance between the fender of a wagon and a 195/65 tire?
I'm only considering this because it's a 4 mile trip on side streets to the parade and if it wasn't for the 9% grade going up to my house on an unplowed road, I wouldn't consider such a wacky idea and just weight the back of the car and drive on the weekend roads this one trip.
Thanks.

SN-60
12-07-2013, 10:48 AM
If the snowfall is about 2'', I do not think You'd have a problem with Your wagon which has a good weight bias towards the rear. Leave the chains at home, and go enjoy the Christmas parade!! (Pictures later on?)

LeoH
12-07-2013, 11:12 AM
If the snowfall is about 2'', I do not think You'd have a problem with Your wagon which has a good weight bias towards the rear. Leave the chains at home, and go enjoy the Christmas parade!! (Pictures later on?)
Really? I've got a couple of hours, so the roads should be somewhat cleared and traffic should allow me to keep momentum, I'm just thinking about being able to get back into the garage; rolling down the hill won't be the issue ;)
I'm just reluctant to be one of 'those' people I bitch about driving around in the snow without decent snow tires or chains :o

The snow has stopped, so that's a plus. I guess if I get stuck coming back home, I'll have to press my wife into tow service pulling me back up the hill! She'll loooove that.

old digger
12-07-2013, 12:56 PM
As I look out the door right now the sun is high in the sky and it is a gorgeous day, except(-9F and 7" of snow). Reminds of my days as a teen on the Gunflint Trail in Northern Minnesota when I had a 53 Starliner and my brother had a 51 Commander. When the temp got below 0F we put a small amount of gas along with fuel oil in a 1lb. coffee can and slid it under the oil pan and lit it. Several times I was glad of the snow around the car because a little to much gas would give us a rather high flame. Also, we made sure to face down the hill so we could start the engine by rolling down and popping the clutch in second gear.

SN-60
12-07-2013, 02:06 PM
As I look out the door right now the sun is high in the sky and it is a gorgeous day, except(-9F and 7" of snow). Reminds of my days as a teen on the Gunflint Trail in Northern Minnesota when I had a 53 Starliner and my brother had a 51 Commander. When the temp got below 0F we put a small amount of gas along with fuel oil in a 1lb. coffee can and slid it under the oil pan and lit it. Several times I was glad of the snow around the car because a little to much gas would give us a rather high flame. Also, we made sure to face down the hill so we could start the engine by rolling down and popping the clutch in second gear.

That's a good idea when the temp drops down below 0'F. Engine block heaters are definitely a bit safer though!

Dick Steinkamp
12-20-2013, 01:10 PM
It doesn't snow often here in the PNW, but we had a little dusting this morning...

http://i706.photobucket.com/albums/ww63/dstnkmp/1963%20Wagonaire/snow.jpg

When it does snow here (even this much) it pretty much shuts the place down. Lots of 4 x 4's in the ditch thinking they can defy the laws of physics :woot:

Commander Eddie
12-20-2013, 01:25 PM
Several years ago we had 24" of the white stuff on the ground here in Dundee, Oregon. When I opened the garage door there was a nice 2 foot wall of snow. I did not bother trying to get either of our vehicles out. It took me 2 days to dig out our long and steep driveway. I recently bought a Champ truck and I am kinda hoping we get a few inches this year so I can see how she fares. So, we DO get a good amount of snow here in the PNW on rare occasions.

jackb
12-20-2013, 02:38 PM
repeat: put at least 200 lbs in the back of that Champ truck if you want to get anywhere in snow.....even with TT..

R_David
12-20-2013, 03:11 PM
When it does snow here (even this much) it pretty much shuts the place down. Lots of 4 x 4's in the ditch thinking they can defy the laws of physics :woot:

It's like my Dad told me when I first started driving in the snow: "4 Wheel Drive is just fine for getting you going, but ALL cars are equipped with 4 wheel stop. So drive slow and keep your distance!!" :!!:

Commander Eddie
12-20-2013, 03:26 PM
repeat: put at least 200 lbs in the back of that Champ truck if you want to get anywhere in snow.....even with TT..

I purchased a "ShureTrax" water bladder for the bed. It holds up to 300 lbs of water and has baffles inside to keep the water from sloshing back and forth during turns. It can also freeze without breaking and you can put up to 500 lbs of cargo on top of it so the bed is still useful. When winter is done I just drain the water out of it, fold it up and store it on a shelf. Cool. I recommend all truck owners should look into one. They are a darn site better than bags of rocks, cement or concrete blocks.

Dan Timberlake
12-20-2013, 03:50 PM
Hi SN60,

The "soft when cold" thing may have a certain amount of advertising hype.
I read it several years ago, maybe around when Blizzaks first came out, but when I remember to try digging a thumb nail into frosty cold tire treads I //think// I feel a difference.

Looks like Hankook is still willing to say "?Rubber that remains soft in cold temperatures -
Following advances in rubber technology, a special rubber is used that remains soft and pliable in the coldest temperatures to make it stickier on snow or ice."
about half way down here -
http://www.hankooktireusa.com/Tech/Types.aspx?pageNum=2&subNum=4&ChildNum=3

SN-60
12-20-2013, 06:49 PM
Hi SN60,

The "soft when cold" thing may have a certain amount of advertising hype.
I read it several years ago, maybe around when Blizzaks first came out, but when I remember to try digging a thumb nail into frosty cold tire treads I //think// I feel a difference.

Looks like Hankook is still willing to say "?Rubber that remains soft in cold temperatures -
Following advances in rubber technology, a special rubber is used that remains soft and pliable in the coldest temperatures to make it stickier on snow or ice."
about half way down here -
http://www.hankooktireusa.com/Tech/Types.aspx?pageNum=2&subNum=4&ChildNum=3

Thanks for the info Dan!

9echo
12-20-2013, 08:09 PM
53k - I find this interesting - (We made it all the way to the western part of St Louis where we broke our way through the snow into a motel with little garages at each room and spent the night.) The motel you stayed at was most likely the Coral Court Motel on Route 66 in the western suburbs of St. Louis. The motel had a long and storied history because of the individual garages. It was then know as the "NoTel Motel." It is long gone to a shopping center, but it is still remembered by Route 66 fans.

SN-60
12-21-2013, 07:27 AM
it doesn't snow often here in the pnw, but we had a little dusting this morning...

http://i706.photobucket.com/albums/ww63/dstnkmp/1963%20wagonaire/snow.jpg

when it does snow here (even this much) it pretty much shuts the place down. Lots of 4 x 4's in the ditch thinking they can defy the laws of physics :woot:



christmas card!......christmas card!.......christmas card!!!!

StudeDave57
12-21-2013, 10:34 AM
It doesn't snow often here in the PNW, but we had a little dusting this morning...
Up here north of Ferndale- we got about 4 inches~

30706 30707 30708

And yes- watching the knuckleheads on the road yesterday was very entertaining.

I plan to write the City and County as to the lack of plows.
Oh look- there goes one now!!! You're a few hours too late folks...
:ohmy: :yeahright:




StudeDave '57 :cool:

SN-60
01-03-2014, 05:31 PM
Good test for the new Firestone 'Winterforce' snow tires today. We had about 10" of snow fall last night and into this morning. Left for work in the Avanti at about 4 AM. (in near whiteout conditions) Just Me, the Avanti, and what seemed like dozens of snowplows buzzing around Us. The old girl never missed a beat, and got Me to work with time to spare!

SN-60
01-04-2014, 08:51 AM
It's amazing how much better traction in the snow is in the Avanti II over the Studebaker Avanti, due to that lighter Chevy engine. Years ago I drove a '63 Avanti through just ONE New England winter. Even with good snow tires on the Stude version, traction was so-so at best! (I'm being kind here!) I guess it really is all about weight distribution. My 'II' has a trunk-mounted battery, plus I put extra weight back there.

cobraman428
01-05-2014, 08:26 AM
I dont think Studebakers are better or worse than any other rear wheel drive car in general but during the early 90's when my 53 coupe was a daily driver, I was on a 3 hour trip and came upon a freak snow storm. Vehicles were to the left and right stuck in ditches and unable to climb hills. As I motored along past the folks they were in disbelief. I had let my rear tire pressure down to 16-18 psi and was unstoppable.

53k
01-05-2014, 08:45 AM
It's amazing how much better traction in the snow is in the Avanti II over the Studebaker Avanti, due to that lighter Chevy engine. Years ago I drove a '63 Avanti through just ONE New England winter. Even with good snow tires on the Stude version, traction was so-so at best! (I'm being kind here!) I guess it really is all about weight distribution. My 'II' has a trunk-mounted battery, plus I put extra weight back there.
My experience as well. When I lived in the Boston suburbs I had a '66 Avanti (327, Powershift and TT). The wife drove it to work every day, winter and summer and never had a traction problems. And this was with bias ply tires.
My daily driver then was a '64 8E7 with R-1, Powershift and 3.73 TT. I never had any traction problems either (with one exception), but I did have studded snow tires. The exception was one morning I backed out of my driveway forgetting that the snowplow had been by in the night. The trailer hitch on the truck rode up and over the icy pile at the end of the driveway. It picked the rear wheels off the ground and I had to chip away the pile until the wheels got a bite.

SN-60
01-05-2014, 08:54 AM
Hey Paul,...What color was that Avanti II, and did You buy it at Feldman's in Revere? When You lived in the Boston area did You frequent Henderson's Studebaker shop? Did You know Karl Haas or Ralph Holmes?
How about Visnick Bros. in Mattapan...does that place sound familiar?

53k
01-05-2014, 11:07 AM
Hey Paul,...What color was that Avanti II, and did You buy it at Feldman's in Revere? When You lived in the Boston area did You frequent Henderson's Studebaker shop? Did You know Karl Haas or Ralph Holmes?
How about Visnick Bros. in Mattapan...does that place sound familiar?
Wow, talk about old memories.
I bought the Avanti from Tommy Thompkins. He was quite an Avanti Guru until someone burned his '64 show car and he lost interest in Avantis. He was in a northwest suburb, but my memory fails me right now as to which it was. The Avanti was Avanti white with a fawn vinyl and avocado cloth interior. It had all the '66 equipment except that Tommy took the tilt column for his '64. Before Tommy would let me have the car he wanted to fix an intake manifold leak that he could hear (I couldn't). When I picked it up he told me that the standard 327 Corvette gasket set wouldn't work, but that he had to get a 327 365 set. It was the original engine, but apparently Altmans did an upgrade for the buyer. I know it came with a Holley carb which I don't think was the basic carb offered on the 327 300. I do know that it was very strong- had be careful not to rev it too fast or it throw the fan belt. It would also burn rubber in the second gear start without kicking it down to first. One time I had three adults in the car with me and I was on a nice straight, level, lightly traveled highway so I ran it up to 100 (easily). Cruising at 100 I floored it and we were all pressed back in the seats. I ran out of nerve before the car ran out of go. I sold the '66 back to Tommy when I needed money for a house down payment in '73. I know he re-sold it, but I don't when or to whom.
I didn't know Henderson's shop (unless you are talking about Sheldon Henderson), but I did know both Karl and Ralph. I think Ralph was Karl's father-in-law then. When Karl was ready to leave I bought some good NOS from him and I think I bought or traded some stuff with Ralph. I remember getting him a set of '66 full covers when I was at Standard Surplus ($9.98 a set). I used to hear from Karl every once in a while after he came back from the UK.
Visnick's installed new motor mounts for me in my '64 Daytona Wagonaire. I got to know Lennie, the parts guy. He sold me a V8 chrome kit for the same price that Standard Surplus had on them, $9.98 for two valve covers, two breather caps and an oil dip stick. Lennie had put together quite a collection of Studebakers that customers wanted to get rid of. Last time I saw him he had just bought a '61 Lark Skytop hardtop from a guy who had just moved from California.
I also bought some stuff from a dealer just north and west of the downtown. Can't remember the town or the names, but the staff consisted of two old brothers (owners) and one deaf mechanic. I remember they had two forlorn '58 Packard hardtops on their used car lot and one that was purple and white. The brothers commuted to work together in a pristine '59 or '60 Lark hardtop.
I lived in Burlington '71-'73 about a half mile inside 128 and about a mile from Burlington Mall and pretty close to the Woburn line.

SN-60
01-05-2014, 11:54 AM
Paul, yes..OK...Got it!...That shop I referred to was Sheldon Henderson's place. Part of 'The Greatest Generation', that guy could make something very beautiful out of absolutely nothing..and You probably know what I mean. I knew Tommy Thompkins very well (and his brother Bob) Those two, and Paul Savard, had the nicest Avantis in the Boston area at the time. I clearly remember Tommy's gold custom '63 R-1+ that was stolen and burnt to the ground. There were special features on that Avanti that I know would really 'floor' folks if they saw them today. Saw Tommy's '64 Turquoise 'transition' model with the 'tilt' You mention at South Bend in 2007. Showed slight wear, but it's still a very beautiful car (four speed R2 with polished Paxton and real wire wheels..all Tommy's stuff. I went to the Packard side event in SB and a couple with a beautiful 30's Packard had Tommy's Avanti parked out back...I don't believe that they ever took it to the big S-P show at the fairgrounds...which was a shame. I saw Karl about ten years ago when He visited with friends in the Boston area..it was a very timely visit as He was able to meet and chat with Sheldon shortly before Sheldon passed away. Lenny is still doing well, and hasn't yet let loose of his 'retirement fund'...a horde of NOS Studebaker parts (mostly Avanti) he's had stashed for years. He also still has one of the 'Grossman Avantis'..remember those?..'Avanti White' with the hood scoop area painted orange (the grossman colors) I think the Stude dealership You speak of was Feldman's....They were just up the Revere Beach Parkway from the Studebaker-Packard Boston Parts Depot. I have no idea what became of all the parts they had, but when the depot was shut down, Feldman purchased a lot of stuff for next to nothing. I remember two NOS Packard V8 engines sitting at the Studebaker garage in their shipping crates (They did a lot of work for Packard people from Long Island, N.Y., who would ship their cars to Revere for service. They did quite a bit of Ultramatic work at the time. Memories.....I'll say!

SN-60
01-05-2014, 07:50 PM
Paul Savard's (Re: post#64) latest Avanti. He's still purchasing the nice ones!:!: