How To Drive On Snow And Ice

There’s an awful lot of bad information floating around about driving in winter weather. In fact, you’re probably doing it wrong. Yes, even if you’re from New England. Here’s how to drive on snow or ice without crashing your car or wasting money on unnecessary stuff.

Vehicle Technology, How It Works And How It Can Help You Drive In Winter

In my admittedly crackpot opinion, all-wheel drive is the greatest con ever perpetrated on the American people. It’s tires, not the driven wheels that matter in snow. If you want a car that drives well in the snow, go buy a set of steel wheels and winter tires, then mount those in November and pull them off around April or so. You can pay for them with the money you save by not paying the upcharge for an all-wheel drive vehicle, the subsequently inferior gas mileage that vehicle will achieve and, you know, not crashing.

All-Season tires are another con. Think of them as no-season tires. Your car’s performance will be better at everything if you run summer tires when it’s warm and winter tires when it’s cold. Given that BMW, for instance, will charge you $1,500 for AWD on a 3-series, you can afford to buy winter tires if you want to drive in winter conditions by simply buying the equivalent rear-wheel drive BMW — it’s the better car.

It doesn’t matter what kind of car you drive now; it will be a relatively capable snow performer if you fit it with winter tires. There’s ample evidence all over the Internet demonstrating this absolute truth. But for those of you who consider yourself True AWD Believers (TM), I’ll simply ask you this: how does AWD help when you brake?

In these pictures, the Land Rover is fitted with studded winter tires. There were many parts of Iceland where that vehicle would not have been able to travel otherwise. That is not a dig on its capability — the Discovery Sport is probably the most snow/off-road capable crossover out there — but a testament to the efficacy of winter tires.

Having said that, there are things a vehicle can have or do that will improve its winter drivability after you’ve fitted it with winter tires.

First amongst those is stability control. Probably the biggest advancement in car safety since the seatbelt, it helps you avoid crashing in the first place by individually and cleverly actuating each brake on all four of your wheels to keep the car from spinning or sliding uncontrollably. If you’ve bought a car made in the last decade, it likely has stability control and you probably don’t even know it’s stepping in and helping out a couple times a day. In winter, the biggest help it’ll give you is while driving in variable or unpredictable conditions. Let’s say you’re driving down the road at your normal speed and you hit a slippery patch of snow, ice, slush or whatever. It’s stability control that will correct the resulting slide and likely keep you from spinning off the road, flipping down an embankment and dying. It really is magic and, unless you’re a crazy classic car person like me, you should prioritize the presence of stability control over any other feature on any car you buy.

Differentials: When your car goes around a turn, the outer wheels follow a wider arc than the inner wheels, meaning they’re traveling a greater distance and therefor need to spin faster. So, your driven wheels are equipped with a differential that enables this difference in wheel speed. Most cars have open differentials which just allow a slipping wheel to continue to spin. Better cars will use a limited slip differential, which will recruit whichever wheel on an axle that has more traction to help out. A locking differential is operated by you, manually, and locks the speeds of both wheels on an axle together, greatly increasing traction in slippery conditions. Having said that, you should never use a locked differential when you have good grip as that wheel speed differential becomes crucial to safe cornering in those conditions. A locking differential may help you get out of a really slippery situation though; like if you get stuck.

Traction Control: A lot of people confuse traction control with stability control. They shouldn’t. Where SC actively takes control of your vehicle, helping to keep you on the straight and narrow, TC just kills power if the driven wheels spin up. This actually works against you in the snow, you need a certain degree of wheel spin while climbing slippery hills or similar.

Anti-Lock Brakes: You know what these are and what they do. There are some expert-mode scenarios when ABS can work against you in deep snow — locking wheels and building up a berm in front of them can facilitate good stopping power in very loose conditions — ABS is standard on all cars now and shouldn’t be disabled unless you really, really, really, really, really know what you’re doing. You don’t.

Adaptable Electronics: Take the new Land Rover Discovery Sport, pictured here, for instance. Its Terrain Response System includes a snow mode which directs stability and traction control to allow a little more wheel spin while accelerating, simulates some locking in the rear diff and adjusts the AWD system to bias power to the rear wheels, where the weight transfers under acceleration, enabling more effective traction. That enables the Land Rover to operate optimally in winter conditions without the driver having to adapt their approach to them.

Speaking of weight transfer, if you have a car that doesn’t put much weight over its driven wheels — a pickup truck — then adding weight to that area can improve traction. Be careful not to throw heavy things in your vehicle that may fly around in an accident. Strap down any sandbags or similar securely, or simply opt for a purpose-made solution such as a water bag for your truck bed. Or just buy a car with good weight distribution.

All-Wheel Drive: The general idea is that you’ve got four wheels, so they may as well all be looking for traction. That’s a good idea! But, more often, “AWD” is simply a bandaid added onto a Front-Wheel Drive car to partially make up for its compromised dynamics. Rear-Wheel Drive being a superior solution in almost all-circumstances, of course. Think about it: your car’s weight shifts rearwards when you hit the gas pedal and separating steering (accomplished by the front wheels) and motivation leads to less turniness in the driven wheels. Driven wheels work best when they’re pointed forward. So, most AWD systems are just marketing hullabaloo directed at our country’s largely ignorant car consumers. Sure, they can send 30 percent or whatever backwards, but it’s still a FWD car in the vast majority of circumstances. And the same goes off-road, where again you may get some marginal benefit, but it’s mostly just added weight, complication and cost combined with reduced fuel economy.

Conversely, this new Discovery Sport may operate in FWD under normal circumstances, but it’s a Land Rover, so it can send “almost all” of its torque to the rear wheels when required. That’s part of what makes it what’s probably the most-capable luxury crossover available right now. You’d never do the stuff pictured here in an Audi Q5 or BMW X3.

What To Take With You

Blanket: Go get a big, heavy wool army blanket from the surplus store. They’re like $20 and are just insanely warm and tough. Always keep it in your trunk and feel free to use it for picnics too, but if you get stuck somewhere on a really cold night, well, you know.

Food And Water: Throw a few high-calorie energy bars and a gallon or two of water in your trunk while you’re at it. You body burns calories for heat and needs hydration to regulate its temperature.

Boots: Tend to drive around in impractical footwear? You need decent boots to walk in deep snow or on slippery surfaces.

Shovel: Go ahead and pack a full-size shovel. Not a snow shovel, which tend to be quite fragile, but one of the big square-bladed heavy-duty ones. That’ll allow you to break through ice or solidly frozen snow, then scoop out large chunks of it. If you get stuck, digging the snow out from around your wheels and from your direction of travel is the way to get unstuck.

Kitty Litter: Throw it liberally on top of snow or ice in front of your driven wheels to give them traction if you’re stuck on hard snow or ice.

Warm Clothes: Keeping a few extra items in your car can be the difference between getting seriously cold while walking for help or digging yourself out and being comfortable. An old ski parka or similar would be ideal.

Preparing Your Car 

A little work before winter can avoid major problems in winter. Go ahead and get an oil change when you put your winter tires on. Check the antifreeze and the age of the battery and the windscreen washer fluid. Squirt some WD40 into all your door locks to prevent them from freezing shut. Repair or fill any windscreen chips or cracks to prevent water from getting in there, then freezing, expanding and destroying your windshield. Keep your tires at their recommended pressures; you should be checking that every month.


Make sure your exhaust pipe is clear of the snow so it can vent properly, then warm your car up while you clear any snow off its hood, trunk or roof as well as all the windows. Leaving snow on the car and lead to some major issues — like totally losing vision while you’re braking — or even damage your car. Take care not to use anything hard, sharp or scratchy around your paint.

1st gear applies the most torque through your tires, so is the most likely to induce wheelspin. Pulling away in 2nd gear can help there. If you’re a real man and drive a car with a manual transmission, you’ll just need to slip the clutch a little more as you do this. If you’re a wuss, just put your automatic into “2,” or push the snowflake button next to it, which does the same thing.

If you street park in the city, you may be fenced in by a berm of frozen snow left by a plow. If this is more than a couple inches high, you may not make it over or could damage low-hanging bodywork. Take the time to clear the berm completely before starting your drive.


Less traction equals longer braking distances. Bear that in mind and leave a bunch of extra room behind the car in front of you and look far ahead to identify potential hazards and create a plan to avoid them before you reach them.

When you do brake, try and feel for the point just before your brakes lock or your ABS engages (the pedal judders when it does). ABS works by “pulsing” the brakes on and off when you lock the wheels up with them so you’re not achieving full braking force when that happens. Practice feeling for that point so you can modulate pedal pressure to keep the brakes working as well as they can, just before that lock point.

Try and avoid coming to a complete stop whenever possible. If it’s safe to do so, roll through stop signs at low speed, particularly when headed up hill. Overcoming the inertia of a totally-still vehicle requires good traction, which you may not have in the snow.


Take turns slower. If you have good vision and there’s no other cars around, try and stay to the inside of the corner, giving your car room to slide outwards without leaving the road.

Look where you want to go, not at obstacles or off the side of the road. Steer where you want to go too. Catching slides really is that simple. You’ll read a lot about under and oversteer and counter steering and all sorts of stuff elsewhere, but if you’re not an enthusiast driver, just look where you want to be and steer there too; it’s effectively the same thing.

If your car begins to slide, don’t react by jerking the wheel or lifting off the throttle or hit the brakes. In the vast majority of situations, just looking where you want to go, steering where you want to go and not applying abrupt control inputs will see the slide fix itself.

Go to an empty parking lot on a snow day and practice all this stuff. Slides happen at much lower speeds in the snow, minimizing their consequences and maximizing your learning.

Getting Unstuck

As with off-road driving, the best way to get unstuck is to never get stuck in the first place. Try to avoid coming to a stop when headed up hill or through deep snow. If you feel your car starting to bog down, spin the steering wheel left and right to get yourself out of whatever rut you’re digging. And, if you do come to a complete stop, don’t needlessly spin your wheels; that just digs you in further.

But, you do get stuck when driving in the snow pretty regularly. Don’t worry, it’s not a huge problem. Just grab that shovel you packed and dig the snow out from under your wheels and give each one a bit of a runway to get going. In a pinch, you can pull out your floormats and shove them under your tires for some extra traction. You can pour out kitty litter too.

How much effort and time you spend digging depends on how deep the snow is and how all-season your tires are. Five or ten minutes isn’t a major headache, but digging out half a city block’s worth of deep snow will break your back. Don’t head out if you’re not going to be able to make it through and don’t attempt to drive through snow of unknown consistency or depth.

Not Dying

The most dangerous winter conditions are when the road surface is variable or the conditions unpredictable. Imagine driving along and taking a corner at your normal speed — you’re fine — then encountering unexpected ice or now in the corner the next time around. In which case you will very much be not fine.

If there is moisture on the ground or in the air and the temperature is below or around freezing, there can be black ice. That’s as slippery as regular ice, but is see-through, so you don’t see it sitting on top of the black road. If you believe conditions for it exist, slow down and look out for signs of it, such as a shiny patches of road or evidence of water running onto or across the road. Only drive as fast as you can see and leave lots of extra room for braking.

In short, the way to survive winter driving is to slow down. Seriously, just slow down. I know you’re super important and in a huge rush, but having a car crash is going to ruin your day.

Developing A Sense For Snow

Driving in the snow is fun and practicing it will make you a better driver not just in these conditions, but overall. Go find a big, empty parking lot and practice. Work on pulling away from a dead stop, panic braking and turning. Practice initiating slides — it’ll teach you how they occur — then controlling them. With a little snow, you’ll be doing this at low speed, so as long as you leave enough space around obstacles and curbs and whatnot, you’ll be practicing in relative safety.

Once you know what it feels like to slide and how to catch one and how to use your brakes to their maximum ability and not get stuck climbing hills, go out and find some real-world challenges. Start small — Sunday mornings, roads you know — and grow from there. Artificially implementing challenge is both fun and who you develop skill and confidence and test your vehicle, all beyond the circumstances you’ll likely encounter in day-to-day life. Then, when you actually need those skills or confidence or you learned you needed winter tires and actually put some one, you have them.

But seriously, winter tires.

What are your tips and tricks for winter driving?

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Cobra Barn Find Could be Next Million Dollar Shelby

A little dust, a little dirt – eh, it isn’t so bad, especially when it’s covering an object as holy as this. In 1974, a trade between friends brought this incredible 1964 Shelby Cobra 289 into the hands of Vermont resident Sy Allen. He soon placed the car delicately on stands and locked it up in his barn, where it has slept – out of sight – for 40 years.
Now, the Cobra is out of its cage and it’s going up for sale at Gooding & Company’s Scottsdale Auction, expected to bring a whole chunk of change. We could be looking at the world’s next million dollar Shelby.

And though we’ve all heard the Shelby story, it’s a tale worth retelling. With a desire to put his name on his own world-beating sports car, Carroll Shelby searched high and low for a potential donor – a sports car in which he could shoehorn a big, powerful, and reliable American V8. Given the strong racing performance of the little AC Ace, Shelby made the call, and thanks to a new compact Ford V8, Shelby had his sports car. He called it the ‘Cobra’, and we haven’t stopped talking about it since.

This particular 289 Cobra, numbered CSX 2436, is a later production example, and as such retains a whole host of upgrades that came with the breed’s evolution, including rack-and-pinion steering, a Ford alternator, dual-reservoir master cylinder, and Stewart-Warner gauges. The 289 shipped to Shelby in Los Angeles on May 26, 1964, then to Greenwich, Connecticut’s Town & Country Motors a few months later. Total cost with options included: $5,812.

CSX 2436 sold on December 9 and exchange hands a few times over the next decade, before ending up at the home of Sy Allen in 1974…now painted black instead of its original Rouge Iris coat. It’s a true time capsule on wheels, and is said to be in running condition. We’ll let you just daydream about that for a little while…

Click Here to Read the Original Article on BoldRide

Photo Credit: Mike Maez

Burt Reynolds’ Bandit 1977 Pontiac Trans Am sells for $480,000

Thirty-five years ago, no Hollywood star had the box-office power of Burt Reynolds — and there’s still a little of that magic left, based on an auction of Reynolds’ personal items this weekend that included a 1977 Pontiac Trans Am in “Smokey and the Bandit” style, which sold for a stunning $480,000.

The Trans Am was one of several hundred items Reynolds sold through the Julien’s Auction house at a sale in Las Vegas last weekend, from his awards and art collection to props from several of his movies. None drew quite the bidding that the Trans Am did — a car that was detailed as a promotional vehicle for the movie, then given to Reynolds after the movie wrapped. (It’s a different Trans Am than the one up for sale by the Wellborn collection in Florida.)

As classic cars go, there was precious little information available about this car, aside from that Reynolds had held onto it since the Bandit days. Photos released by Julien’s shows a Trans Am in need of some restoration, although the new owner will be wise to simply make sure the Screaming Chicken logo and “1977 Pontiac Trans Am Owned By Burt Reynolds” gold door tag are preserved rather than replaced.

Julien’s had expected the car to sell for $80,000.

That was a trend throughout the auction; many of Reynolds’ personal effects sold for far above their estimates, from trophies and artwork to movie memorabilia. A jacket left over from “Stroker Ace” expected to fetch $600 went for $9,375; his football helmet from “The Longest Yard” went for $20,000, and the canoe built for “Deliverance” sold at $17,500. That’s one movie vehicle we’d rather let someone else pilot.

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Show Car 1969 Camaro Destroyed by Fire During Transport in Trailer

As avid car enthusiasts, this video is quite difficult to watch without having that knotting feeling in our stomachs. We join in on this unfortunate situation as a 1969 Chevrolet Camaro show car is ablaze inside of a trailer.

Even though the owner’s criticism of the fire department at the beginning seems a bit harsh, we can feel their pain as all they’re able to do is stand by and watch their pride and joy burns away in a ball of fire.Check out the video below if you think you’re up to it! Hopefully this guy has full coverage on this show ride and is able to restore it back to a quality finish!

A witness driving behind the trailer said that the owner noticed possible smoke, but thought it was road dust at first, somewhere between Vail Avenue and Walnut/Ridge Avenue on westbound Northwest Highway. When the driver smelled smoke, he stopped and saw heavier white smoke coming out of the trailer. The back door of the trailer was open when firefighters arrived. The vehicle became fully-involved with flames as firefighters connected to the hydrant and charged the line. The fire was extinguished within about five minutes.

No injuries were reported. The Chevy Camaro was being transported home to Palatine after it was on display at the Maine East High School Charity Car Show Does your insurance cover your classic when being transported?

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A showroom dud in the 1980s, this intriguing Mustang has a small but loyal following today

All you SVO Mustang owners can now gloat that Ford was ahead of its time with that unique version of the pony car. Thirty years ago, Ford’s better idea was to make a special Mustang that was more road racer than drag racer, more Euro GT than main street tire burner.

The 1984-1986 SVO Mustang that “buff book” Car & Driver and Road & Track magazines liked so much unfortunately did not find the same reception in the showroom. Ford sold just 9,844 SVO Mustangs over three model years.

It was a brave step to put a turbo/intercooled 4-cylinder engine under the Mustang’s hood, especially when the model line’s main attraction was the V-8-powered GT that sold for much less.

Today, the SVO Mustang is a kind of cult classic. It’s also a bit of a history lesson, because that Ford is offering a turbocharged 4-cylinder in the 2015 Mustang, a 310-horsepower model called the EcoBoost.

But 30 years ago… what were they thinking? Ford was thinking that it was high time to broaden the Mustang’s appeal, that’s what. Its Fox-platform mechanicals were already underpinning the Lincoln Mk. VII, so why not tweak a Mustang to take on import sports cars?

Developed by Ford’s Special Vehicle Operations, the 1984 SVO Mustang was powered by a 2.3-liter turbo four with fuel injection and an intercooler. It was rated at 175 horsepower, which seemed tame in comparison to the 210 hp from the 302 cu. in. 4-barrel V-8 that came in the Mustang GT. In a drag race, it was no contest – the GT could run the quarter-mile in just under 15 seconds without power-shifting. The SVO was more than a second behind.

But the number that really hurt the SVO was its price – nearly $16,000 when the faster GT started at about 10 grand. Lots of love from Car & Driver and Road & Track magazines helped stoke initial interest in the newfangled Mustang. Both magazines had driven SVO prototypes in the 24-Hour Longest Day at Nelson Ledges race, a kind of development exercise for Ford. And both compared the SVO production model favorably to sports cars like the Porsche 944 and Nissan 280 ZX.

But the road race cred did not make the SVO a latter-day Boss 302.

The rest of the SVO package was top-notch, however. Ford borrowed four-wheel disc brakes and suspension bits from the Lincoln Mark VII parts bin and gave the SVO a Quadra-Shock rear suspension to tame axle hop. (The V-8 models got Quadra Shock starting in 1985.)

The SVO looked “foreign” compared to the Mustang GT. Its functional hood scoop was off-center, and its trunk lid carried a bi-plane spoiler. Alloy wheels had smooth, flush surfaces rather than more traditional spokes. Inside, the SVO also showed a European influence in its form-fitting bucket seats with lumbar support. One of the most interesting bits was a turbo boost-control switch on the dash. You could dial it back to run on regular gas.

Late in the second season, Ford introduced an upgraded SVO that became known as the “1985.5.” Turbo boost was hiked slightly to 15 psi, up from 14 psi, and there were other improvements. Horsepower jumped to 205, matching the V-8, and its 248 lb.-ft. torque ratting was just a bit lower than the V-8’s.

Just 439 of those mid-year models were made. The enhancements carried into the 1986 model year, though the engine was rated at 200 hp and 240 lb.-ft. of torque. The zero-to-60 fell to seven seconds flat – competitive with imported sports models. But it was still a no-sale to muscle car buyers, and sports car drivers weren’t exactly falling over themselves to buy an expensive Mustang.

Today, you don’t buy an SVO Mustang to drag race, but you’re pretty much assured a lot of attention at car shows, along with a fun ride.

As for the 2015 Mustang, maybe the time for a turbo-4 has finally come. On the other hand, if budget allows, get the 435-horsepower V-8.

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How To Winterize Your Classic Car

It’s Almost Hibernation Season for Classic Cars.

As the days get shorter and cooler air presses south, snow will soon begin to fall. And with the snow comes the plow trucks to cover the roads with corrosive salt. This is no place for your classic car, so letting it hibernate for a few months is the best option to preserve its condition.

Before you throw the cover on and close the garage door behind you for a few months, you should consider taking a few preventative measures to ensure you’ll have a trouble-free start up in the spring. Below are some basic steps you should take prior to winter storage. For long-term storage, check out this how-to video or talk things over with a trusted mechanic.

Fuel: Modern day gasoline contains ethanol, sometimes more than 10% ethanol. Ethanol absorbs water, and this can contribute to the gas and ethanol mix separating. For you fuel sniffers, the technical term is called “phase separation.” Since internal combustion engines don’t really like water, use a fuel stabilizer. Run the engine to ensure the stabilized fuel has made it to all fuel filters and the carburetor(s).

Oil Change: As a rule of thumb, oil should be changed at least once a year even if you’ve only put 100 miles on the engine. If by chance you have water or other contaminants in the used oil, it could sit in the engine for a few months. Clean oil means no contaminants. And be sure to change the oil filter as well.

Clean It: Give the car a good wash and wax, and polish the chrome. Washing, waxing and polishing removes anything that could tarnish the finish and helps prevent corrosion. Be sure to get into the interior, too. Keep your storage area dry, because mold loves to grow in damp places like the interior of your car. You can use a desiccant, or moisture-absorbing product, in the interior

Tires: Flat spots are no fun, and one of the best ways to create them is parking your car for an extended period of time. Inflate your tires 10-15 psi higher than usual to stiffen them up. For the best protection, elevate and store the car safely on jack-stands.

Battery: The cold air and a lack of use can kill a battery. In fact, in extreme cold, a battery can freeze, which creates a big problem if the plastic case cracks. Disconnect and remove the battery. Keep it warm and keep it charged. Read all manufacturer’s guidelines for storage and charging.

These are some of the basics of winter storage. This will likely be a hotly discussed topic among your fellow car enthusiasts, who will likely have their own ideas about storing cars for the winter. You may choose to adopt some of their ideas and also use some of ours. Ultimately you’ll develop a plan that works for you and help make sure your classic
car is ready when spring comes around.

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The 1948 Indian Chief

A look at the ins and outs of the 1948 Indian Chief.

If you wanted to buy a new Indian motorcycle in early 1948, you only had one choice: the 74ci Indian Chief. 1948 may have been a good year for the Cleveland Indians baseball team — they won the World Series — but it was not so good for the Indian Motocycle Company in Springfield, Mass. Harley-Davidson had just introduced its new Panhead, which featured hydraulically adjusted overhead valves, while Indian was making do with a flathead engine that had first seen the light of day back in the early 1920s.

Of course, if you liked sidevalve engines, still common in American cars following World War II, then Indian was your choice. The 42-degree V-twin had a bore of 3.25 inches and a stroke of 4.4375 inches, with a compression ratio around 6:1. A big Linkert carburetor fed the fuel.

Standard ignition was via a battery and an automotive-type distributor, with a manual spark retard/advance lever on the handlebar. Two separate pieces made up the gas tank, the left holding more than 2 gallons of gas, the right a further gallon of gas as well as the 2.5 quart oil reservoir for the dry sump engine. There are three caps on the tank, one on the left and two on the right, with the forward cap marked “OIL” — that’s where the oil goes. Stories from the era of Prohibition tell of riders carrying moonshine in the left tank and running on the right.

A four-row primary chain bathed in oil drove a wet multi-plate foot clutch. Here we should clarify the difference between a foot clutch and a “suicide” clutch. A foot clutch is not spring-loaded. Engagement takes place using the rider’s left foot to rotate the clutch pedal backward. If he disengaged the clutch and then put his foot on the ground, the clutch stayed disengaged. That’s different from a spring-loaded “suicide” clutch, which would leap into engagement with no foot to hold it. The Indian Chief used a 3-speed (or optional 3-speed and reverse), sliding-gear transmission, with a hand-shift mechanism on the side of the gas tank.

Indian offered the option of a left- or right-hand throttle, with appropriate gearshift placement. Legend has it that the police, a major market for Indians, liked the left-hand throttle so they could pull out their pistol and fire away at the likes of John Dillinger. Larry’s bike has the sensible right-hand throttle, as did mine.

Wheels were 16-inchers with 5-inch wide tires, with 18-inchers an option. Brakes were basic single-leading-shoe with narrow drums. A weight of 550 pounds, plus the rider(s), meant a little forethought was in order to pull the bike down from speed.

The front suspension used a hydraulically damped girder and coil fork. Plunger-style shock absorbers suspended the back of the “Double Action” Spring Frame. Each shock had two springs, the top cushioning the bumps and the lower providing a damping effect.

They had minimal travel, but considering Harley’s rigid frame and more basic girder fork, the Indian’s suspension was a cut above the Milwaukee product.

Styling was enhanced by the famous Indian skirted fenders, which worked extremely well in keeping road grime off the rider. Rider comfort was enhanced by the sprung post on the saddle, and if you had the Buddy seat, it came with an auxiliary pair of springs that could be used traveling two-up. A Stewart-Warner speedometer sat on the two gas tanks, marked to 120mph. Not that a stock Indian Chief would even see three figures, but optimism is always good. The dash also included the ignition/light switch and a “battery discharge light” that lit up when the generator was not generating.

Indian only built some 3,000 Chiefs in 1948, a quarter of the 12,000 that came out of the factory in 1947. Ralph Rogers, the head of Indian since 1945, was trying to introduce new models based on British-style motorcycles (think lighter and smaller), but setting up production lines was taking longer than anticipated.

In July of 1948, Rogers got his first new bike in the Indian showrooms. Called the Arrow, it was an English-looking 220cc overhead valve single and was soon followed by the 440cc vertical twin Scout. Unfortunately, the rush into production showed that these machines had not been properly tested, and were not very reliable. Compounding problems, in September of that year Britain devalued the Pound by 25 percent, and the cost of English motorcycles in the U.S. dropped by 25 percent. The writing was on the wall; production of American-made Indians would cease within five years.

Read about touring U.S. 101 on this classic bike:

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Sacramento Man Reunited With His 1964 T-Bird 33 Years After It Was Stolen

Sacramento Man Reunited With His 1964 T-Bird 33 Years After It Was Stolen

A Sacramento man says he feels like he has won the lottery, now that his beloved 1964 Ford Thunderbird is back at home in his driveway after it was stolen decades ago.

‘Wow. Thirty-three years, huh?” said Gary Chartrand, the owner. “Man, look how clean
that is. Wahoo!”

Sweaty palms, knotty stomach, and stuttering: all symptoms of being reunited with a long-lost love. Those were the symptoms Chartrand had Tuesday as he waited for his long-lost car to be delivered.

“Beautiful. Just a few bumps and bruises, but, boy, not much has changed,” said

The last time Chartrand saw his 1964 T-Bird was in 1981, about a year after he paid $1,600 for it as a gift to himself when his 10-year marriage ended in divorce.

“I don’t even remember how to get into the glove box,” he said.

On one of what he calls the worst nights of his life, his blue beauty was stolen from under his nose — possibly by another classics admirer — while he was bartending in Old Sacramento at Fanny Ann’s Saloon./

Fast forward 33 years, and Chartrand got a call recently he never thought would come.

“It’s just nice to have it back,” he said.

Sacramento police told him his missing Ford was found 750 miles north of Sacramento in Washington, and it was in surprisingly good condition.

“Considering it’s a 50-year-old car; it’s been gone for 33 years; you have no idea where
it’s been,” he said.

So where has his love been? Who stole it? What where they doing with it?

“Looks like somebody’s had it and was getting it registered or ready for the road,” he

Perhaps as the former lovers get reacquainted, clues from the last lonely decades will continue to unravel.

Since the case is so old, and it took police so long to track Chartrand down, they are still trying to locate the initial police report from when the vehicle was recovered.

As of now, there’s no word on any suspects or arrests in the case.

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London emissions rules could ban classic cars from city center

Did you know a London emissions rules could ban classic cars from city center?

The United Kingdom is a land of tradition, and that includes traditional classic cars.

There are 800,000 of them in the country — largely well-loved by owners and the public, and they are big business. Firms and events dealing in historic cars generate about $7.5 billion a year and employ 30,000 people nationwide.

Now there are fears these cars will be blocked from the roads of the UK’s capital city, London.

It’s all about a proposed ban on all but zero or ultra-low emission cars and vehicles. London’s Mayor Boris Johnson wants to put it in place by 2020 in order to bring down pollution levels in the city.

Mayor Johnson says, “vehicles will not be allowed in, or new ones will not be allowed in, unless they have, or confirm to very, very, very stringent environmental standards.”

The new restrictions would apply to many older cars, but especially classics built well before environmental controls were even dreamed of.

Vintage Car Dealer David Clark says, “customers come to London from all over the world to see classic cars, they won’t be able to drive them. Won’t be able to do anything.”

Car buffs say they’re willing to work with the Mayor on the new restrictions, as long as they don’t take all the air out of their historic cars’ tires.

According to Ben Cussons of the Royal Automobile Club, “it is going to be a question of finding balance, about usage, whether it is a full-time exemption, or whether, for example, older vehicles will pay an enhanced charge to enter the [London ultra low emissions] zone.”

In fact, Mayor Johnson’s office tells Fox News it thinks some sort of exemptions can be put in place to keep the classics on the road, but a deal still needs to be struck to clear the air — in more ways than one.

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Shop gives modern makeovers to classic cars

It’s hard to resist taking a close look at the cars parked around Scott Bonowski’s shop. Often, though, what he finds beneath the sheet metal isn’t as pretty. Check out this shop that gives modern makeovers to classic cars.

As beautiful as these classic cars are on the outside, their outdated braking systems, engines and suspensions and their lack of electronics can make them uncomfortable or downright unsafe to drive on a regular basis.

That’s where Bonowski comes in. At Hot Rods and Hobbies in this mostly industrial enclave south of Los Angeles, Bonowski takes old cars and restores them to perfection based on their owner’s preferences, usually incorporating modern components. The result is the best of both worlds: the nostalgia of the original classic car combined with the safety, comfort and reliability of modern parts — items such as power disc brakes and power steering, low-polluting fuel-injected engines, air conditioning and independent-rear suspension.

They are so-called restomods, cars restored with modern parts rather than taking them back to their original condition, like when they left the factory.

It’s a process that’s not without controversy. To some collectors, switching out original components for updated, improved ones is sacrilege. Not to Bonowski. “Some of these cars don’t have much value anyway,” he says. “Some (owners) didn’t like the old pile that could barely make it up the hill.”

With updated components, the restored cars are tough enough to withstand the daily grind of commuting, he says. And they’re less likely to break down.

Bonowski started off with a paint and detailing shop for finicky owners in 1989. Then, he says, owners would ask him to fix a dent before painting. The requests started to escalate. How about new chrome or glass? Or swapping out an engine? Before long, he says he found himself in the full restoration business.

In the early days, Bonowski says he dealt mainly with owners of exotic sports cars. “The hot-rod guys didn’t have the money back then,” he explains. Now, they do. His shop is crammed with old cars of all sorts. Recently, for instance, the array of cars ranged from a 1937 Ford to a 1964 Jaguar.

Pricing depends on what an owner wants done. “Sky’s the limit,” he says. Paint jobs start at $25,000 and up. A full restoration can cost $175,000 and take up to three years. The most expensive ever was a $560,000 for a 1948 Chrysler Town and Country.For owners who find themselves a little short on cash, they have plenty of time to save money: The waiting list to just get a car into hot Rods and Hobbies currently stands at about 18 months.

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