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Hot Rods Driving an old car cross country in the winter-how crazy am I?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by squirrel, Jan 25, 2016.

  1. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 50,906


    As some of you may know, I drive my old cars around quite a bit, but usually in the summer when the weather is nice. One of the other things I do for fun is help our local high school robotics team (not as off topic as you might think...the goal is to inspire them to look into careers in science/tech fields, and I end up teaching many how to use a hacksaw, wrenches, etc) and we signed up for a competition in New York City the second weekend in March.

    I could be smart and we could put the robot and stuff in a crate and ship it...or not quite so smart, and put it in the back of my wife's late model pickup and drive. But I'd rather be really stupid and use my 57 Suburban. It's kind of modernized, in a sort of traditional way...72 F body subframe and rear axle, 80s 350 engine with a carb, and TH400 plus GV overdrive. The body is in pretty good shape, but I did the bodywork and painted it, so it's far from perfect. It's also seen salt before, I took it to Bonneville in 2013, right after I finished building it.

    What do you think? I've never driven to the Northeast before, although I did travel there decades ago, and drove some rental cars around. I know it's pretty bad in the winter, but March is almost spring time, right? or am I dreaming?

  2. 40LUV
    Joined: Dec 30, 2003
    Posts: 1,846

    from Mid Jersey

    Make sure you have a really safe place to park it in NYC. Hopefully all the salt that got laid down the last few days will have been washed away by rain by the time you make the trip.
  3. Go for it. You'll look back and regret it if you don't. Have fun !
  4. 34toddster
    Joined: Mar 28, 2006
    Posts: 1,482

    from Missouri

    I'd install GPS tracking in the old girl before I started out, but it would be a good trip.

  5. There's really no choice, the 57 is cool, and as a die hard car guy, you can't take any modern OT shitter.
    And the kids would benefit from seeing how these old rides arnt junkers.
    loudbang and A Minus like this.
  6. RainierHooker
    Joined: Dec 20, 2011
    Posts: 2,018

    from Tacoma, WA

    I say do it. Growing up we spent more than a day's trek on snow and ice in Dad's '58 Apache. It was dad's only real reliable rig, and it went everywhere. Only one wintertime wreck, on the freeway when the damn thing decided the rear end should be the front and vice versa. Flattened a spot on the bumper, pushed a jersey barrier a smidge, and bounced Dad and I around the cab a bit, but no real damage.

    Keep it slow, keep the rubber side up, and make the journey as important as the destination...
    loudbang likes this.
  7. Jalopy Joker
    Joined: Sep 3, 2006
    Posts: 28,558

    Jalopy Joker

    yes, it can be done. just do future weather forecasts as far out as possible for areas that you will be traveling through to know what conditions to plan for. need to locate really good places to park anywhere along the trip.
    Hnstray likes this.
  8. pitman
    Joined: May 14, 2006
    Posts: 5,151


    That rig looks almost too subject to Winter's whims!
    Sounds like you'll have good amount of ballast on board Jim.
    If the roads get snow covered, tires w/ tread can help a lot.
    The rear tires look wide, as though they might float...worth checking out in the conditions
    when they arrive.
  9. J. A. Miller
    Joined: Dec 30, 2010
    Posts: 1,773

    J. A. Miller
    from Central NY

    I would think that NYC should be fine that time of year, I would be concerned about the weather you might have to go through to get to the city. It seems like a lot of places in the midwest have been getting hammered by the El Nino effect this year.
  10. Baumi
    Joined: Jan 28, 2003
    Posts: 2,869


    I´d do it,this trip will be awesome for the kids and you, but be sure to use a good new set of M+S tires... I had bias plys on my 55 until a few days ago, and although I don´t drive it in the snow and salt I found an icey spot in a curve and the rearend came loose pretty quick.... Now I have new radials M+S tires. Luckily nothing was hurt but my pride and my underpants

    21.12.2015 047.jpg , but it could have been worse... 21.12.2015 041.jpg
    Stogy, loudbang, volvobrynk and 2 others like this.
  11. TagMan
    Joined: Dec 12, 2002
    Posts: 6,198


    If you'll be going east on I-90 in NYS and need anything between Buffalo & Syracuse, PM me and I'll give you my phone number. I've got a lift, welder and most any tool you'd need, just in case.
    hipster, loudbang and squirrel like this.
  12. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 50,906


    Thanks! The rear tires are indeed kind of wide, but they're new so the tread is deep. Radials all around.

    I have to first check the hotel in the City and see if they have a parking garage.
  13. 2nd weekend of March should be starting to thaw, but you could still hit a winter storm. The roads and salt will not be much problem if any snow has had time to melt off. Good tread depth is helpful for snow or rain. radials are better than bias ply. have fun, you are a good driver and know the vehicle.
    micamountain likes this.
  14. Go for it Jim,you built that suburban to drive! HRP
    loudbang likes this.
  15. 40StudeDude
    Joined: Sep 19, 2002
    Posts: 9,474


    loudbang likes this.
  16. Flat Six Fix
    Joined: Feb 6, 2010
    Posts: 1,271

    Flat Six Fix

    Kool, and it will be literally "cool"in some places, heck Freiberger and Finnegan drove to Alaska through western Canada at the end of February, in a 68 Ranchero, this was from the offices in LA. Now I can tell you northern Alberta and BC and going up the Alaska highway in winter is not for the faint of will have plenty of help along the way if you need it...
    hipster likes this.
  17. Flat Six Fix
    Joined: Feb 6, 2010
    Posts: 1,271

    Flat Six Fix

    squirrel likes this.
  18. vintage6t
    Joined: Jul 30, 2007
    Posts: 351

    from CT

    The second week of March is just as likely to snow and any other week in the Northeast in the winter so I'd take that into consideration. I don't think driving in snow is a big deal in itself , but it could be very slow going if it does snow. Lots and lots of very slow traffic or very large traffic jams. Also you should scope out a parking garage ahead of time and make sure there will not be a problem with vehicle height wherever you do pick to park. I think you're typically talking about 7' to maybe 8' clearance in most garages. Also ask yourself if you care about vehicle damage, parking or otherwise, classic or not people won't give a shit about it and most parking in the city is valet.
    hipster and loudbang like this.
  19. seb fontana
    Joined: Sep 1, 2005
    Posts: 7,437

    seb fontana
    from ct

    Nuts...Had to say it before Beaner did..I think you gonna have to be open on the choice of travel until closer in time to the event..You could probably drive a steam roller in the snow but I worry most about all the other dingbats, wingnuts and asshats piloting vehicles..
    hipster and flatheadpete like this.
  20. Special Ed
    Joined: Nov 1, 2007
    Posts: 7,124

    Special Ed

    Are you taking I-40? I drove back east a few years ago in my Jet, but in the fall. If you've got the time, go for it, Jim. It's a blast to drive long-distances in an old vehicle. Seize the day ... ;)
  21. Raiman1959
    Joined: May 2, 2014
    Posts: 1,427


    Heck, I'd do it in a heartbeat!....let everyone on the highways see your 57' Suburban truckin' right down the road.....way too many ''same ole-same ole'' cars out there on the interstates as it is!!! Just make sure you have a safe place to park it;)....I'm thinkin' it would be a total blast!:D---- Ray
    volvobrynk likes this.
  22. Tim
    Joined: Mar 2, 2001
    Posts: 13,493

    from KCMO

    I'll echo what a few have said and at that it's just as likely to snow in March as January in many of the the places you pass threw, if that doesn't scare you off _ have you seen the videos of the 27 inches of smack down the east is getting?_ then feel free to give a hollar when you pass threw wether you need something or not.

    I assume it's just you and a robot in the truck? The release forms for letting kids go across the country in something let alone something old would be a nightmare to write up and get signed
  23. surfcaliforniasurf
    Joined: Sep 17, 2007
    Posts: 402


    Do it! Take a more southern route and you can probably avoid any crazy snow and ice. Have fun and post photos for us.
    Special Ed likes this.
  24. Dino 64
    Joined: Jul 13, 2012
    Posts: 2,255

    Dino 64
    from Virginia

    Grew up about 50 from NYC in Ct, and the drivers around that area are very aggressive and fast. Your driving skills are not in question. March, look out for suspension eating pot holes. The roads up there suck. Nothing like AZ. Hate to see the old girl beat up. Good luck
    loudbang and wheeldog57 like this.
  25. Texas57
    Joined: Oct 21, 2012
    Posts: 3,450

    1. 1952-59 Ford Social Group

    Take a trip up to Flagstaff area and find out if it handles in the white stuff. Get some chains and tires they'll fit on. Got a good heater in that ride?
  26. wheeldog57
    Joined: Dec 6, 2013
    Posts: 2,300


    "See the USA in your Chevrolet." If I could offer any advice, be aware of POTHOLES
    they are not your friend
    volvobrynk likes this.
  27. Bruce Lancaster
    Joined: Oct 9, 2001
    Posts: 21,682

    Bruce Lancaster
    Member Emeritus

    With an old car that has been intelligently shaken down for electrical problems and mechanical issues, a car/driver combination capable of using all four wheels for steering and braking, and general intelligent approach expected from the alleged perp, driving problems shouldn't be a big issue.
    But, SALT. SALT!!! Local customary usage insists on two inches of salt per inch of snow, with an inch as the acceptable minimum in preparing for an unlikely snow event. I have fairly often found myself driving though a highly visible and tasteable salt storm after minor snows have evaporated!
    I would as a minimum do some oiling of body pinchwelds and such, and be prepared for a thorough shakedown of everything with lots of soap and water when you return to your cactus infested desert!
    hipster and gas pumper like this.
  28. 327Eric
    Joined: May 9, 2008
    Posts: 1,664

    from Diablo Ca.

    I wouldn't think you would have any problem, but for the destination.
    loudbang likes this.
  29. woodiewagon46
    Joined: Mar 14, 2013
    Posts: 2,000

    from New York

    Sure,why not. The great thing about the HAMB is that if you need help, those of us that are close, (Long Island) can help. Where in NYC are you talking about? In some areas if you think you can just pull up and unload you could be mistaken. You might have to park in a lot and give your keys to an attendant. If it's a school you may have access to a parking area. Make sure you do not have any over heating issues, traffic can be tough. As far as snow, a few years ago they had to cancel a Yankee game because of it, so it can happen into early April. Keep us posted!

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