Journal: Do You Have A Last Drive Ritual Before Winter Hits?

Do You Have A Last Drive Ritual Before Winter Hits?

By Michael Banovsky
September 30, 2016

Hate to be the bearer of bad news, but you knew the fall would lead into winter eventually…meaning it’s time to start packing up your classic car for a few months of storage. If you live in a region where winter never really rears its ugly face, take these stories as proof you’re lucky to not deal with the ‘off-season’. Before your car is wrapped up, though, do you have a last drive ritual?

We’ve featured stories about how you prepare your car for winter, where they’re stored, and even the art of “putting classic cars to sleep”. But we’ve never asked what it is you do just before.

My ritual drive has no planned points, but generally lasts a few hours and features at least a few listens of Mirror in the Bathroom by The English Beat—a tradition from when I would cruise as a kid beside my father in what is now my Porsche 914.

Do you have a last drive ritual before winter hits?

Photography by: Andrew Snucins, Scott Fisher, Michael Schaap

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Joshua Seidenberg
Joshua Seidenberg(@jseidenberg328)
5 years ago

Point taken, Mr. Slinger. Drive on!

Joshua Seidenberg
Joshua Seidenberg(@jseidenberg328)
5 years ago

I drive all year round here in Colorado. As long as there is no ice/snow on the street and highway, I’m driving. Sure mountain driving is out mostly but in the plains, where Denver actually is located, plenty of sun to melt the snow. Drive on!

Guitar Slinger
Guitar Slinger(@gtrslngr)
5 years ago

Yup ! Here in Colorado there is no ‘ off season ‘ .. for bicycling , motorcycling .. or classic / exotic cars . Only the occasional ‘ interruption . And the reality is those ‘ interruptions ‘ [ read snow ] .. at least in the mountains can happen all year long . Heck… the front range right on up to the divide isn’t off limits from more than a few weeks total . I for one drove my ‘ F ‘ words back in the day to the likes of Aspen and Vail mid winter for a days skiing .

Which is why anyone in CO that packs their classic car away come October / November … is a wimp .

FYI ; Mr Seidenberg . Denver is not on the plains .. its on the high altitude Steppes .. Burlington etc is the plains .

Lee Boatright
Lee Boatright(@lee-boatright)
5 years ago

I’m slowly restoring an A-Code 1966 Mustang GT Fastback. I envy anyone who is driving their classic… but someday… someday…

Thomas Donohue
Thomas Donohue(@td07003)
5 years ago

I drive my Boxster year round, though less often during winter in the Northeast. I usually put the winter tires on in late Oct or early Nov depending on how soon the temps drop. Top down with the heat on (and heated seats if necessary) makes for a great fall drive. As long as there isn’t a lot of snow and salt, I’ll usually drive it at least once or twice a week through the winter. I’ve got a Touareg for the bad weather, but the Boxster really is a car for all seasons.

5 years ago

I just switch my cruising schedule from warm summer nights to warm/cool afternoons. Like the song says, it never rains in California (well, it does sometimes, but I can usually count on both hands how many days a year it rains and still have fingers to spare)… Snow? What’s “snow”?

5 years ago

My toy goes into interim climate-controlled storage after one last drive and fill-up of ethanol-free fuel, an inspection of anything that will need to be fixed, replaced, or adjusted during the “winter break”, and a wash. The battery goes on a tender and the car, barring times ot will be worked on, is kept ready so that if there is a nice warm-ish day and the roads are snow and ice free and haven’t been salted recently, I can go for a winter drive.

Martin Philippo
Martin Philippo(@martin-philippo)
5 years ago

No ritual for me. Saab convertibles are excellent daily drivers, also in winter. So we just keep on driving it.

Sean Whelan
Sean Whelan(@marveh)
5 years ago

My ritual is the last drive to a get a full tank of ethanol-free gas at a station 25 miles from home. I also take the time to formulate the off-season repair and maintenance list. I also try to get to the last winter drive event and shop tour at Ragtops and Roadsters in Perkasie, Pa.
I like putting the car away for the winter; especially with small sports cars, using them as daily-drivers starts to tip the balance away from the joy of driving and more towards impatience with the compromises. Every car I have ever regretted selling was a specialty car I used every day, the maintenance, tight quarters, or impracticality became tiresome and I sold them for some transportation appliance that served the need but not the soul.
Now I look forward to spring and the anticipation of liberating my fun car from its slumber. It’s like getting a new car and meeting an old friend all in one.
The cold months also enable my other guilty pleasure; searching for the winter beater 4X4 and kitting it out for snow duty. A few times a year my area becomes a snow covered off-road park, big fun!

Paul Bilek
Paul Bilek(@pbindesign1)
5 years ago

A couple great drives while the leaves still have great color, wash her one last time and safe in the garage she goes till spring.

Paul Ipolito
Paul Ipolito(@leaf4evr)
5 years ago

A mid-week ride down to the Finger Lakes region with my co-pilot of the past 37 years (She prefers “First Officer”), lunch in Hammondsport or Watkins Glen followed by a slow drive home. Then I follow “jimmyjet’s” procedure. Corvettes don’t care much for salty roads either.

Michael Squeo
Michael Squeo(@enzobindo)
5 years ago

A heavy sweater, gloves and a wool cap for me. My wife wears as many layers as she can get on. We take the Alfa Spider out for one last drive with the top down as late in the year as possible before snow and salt hit the roads. We then park it in the garage and put the top up, then cover it until spring. This year should be quite a surprise for my wife….the heater stopped working, and knowing what I know about heaters in Alfa’s, it’s not something I am looking forward to.

5 years ago
Reply to  Michael Squeo

This made me smile. Your wife sounds like quite a sport. This year, surprise her with her favorite hot drink in hand before your last drive and it will be fine. I just bought my first convertible earlier this year so this fall/winter will be the start of a last drive ritual with my wife. I already stashed a small lap blanket in the trunk. Happy motoring.

5 years ago

I’m blessed to live in nasty, muggy heat all year around. ( the only time I get to be proud of our weather )

5 years ago

Yup. I put on a little music and keep the notepad open on my phone. I drive, I look, I listen and I make a punch list of things to do over the winter. Fix this, check that, replace or refurbish this worn out item. Sometimes I take it in for a wash and light detailing. Near the end, I stop at the gas station to fill the tank and add fuel preservative. Then I drive for another fifteen minutes or so and pull into my garage for hibernation. After that I call the insurance company to change the coverage to “comprehensive, no liability”.

I shut it down, disconnect the battery and put her on casters to tuck into the corner of the garage. It’s a little sad, but winters on Chicago’s salted roads are hell on older steel.

5 years ago

Sure, I keep driving it. Why not? As long as there is no snow on the ground, I drive. Cars run better in cold air anyway.