The year this picture was taken is unknown, but I’m guessing 1972 or 1973. What is the newest car you can see? Click on the picture for a bigger view.
As a youngun i’m curious to know, how did all the big rwd cars perform in the snow back then?. my 300c with snow tires has gone through everything with the exception of a hill after a watermain rupture. My guess is the heavy curbweights combined with the skinny tires would’ve made them pretty decent, but then again those big iron block and head engines must’ve put alot of weight on the front.
It was all about balance. My 67 Galaxie, my 63 Cadillac, my Mopar C bodies were all fine in the snow. With decent tires and a full tank of gas, life was fine in all but the very worst conditions. Ask someone who drove 60s Mustangs or 70s GM A bodies, and they will wail on about how awful rwd cars are in the snow. Really, the best snow car I have ever had was either my 63 Cadillac (with studded snow tires) that I owned in the late 70s, or my 94 Club Wagon with light truck radials and a limited slip diff. Maybe it is just what I grew up with, but I prefer rwd in the snow because you can steer the rear end with the throttle while you steer the front with the wheel.
I concur, my ’73 Galaxie was as secure in the snow as any FWD car I had in Montana. Just let the thing chug and idle through the worst spots without touching the gas pedal. For the worst conditions, I swapped out the rears with studded tires. All I had to do was buy two studded tires and keep one in the trunk as a spare, leaving one to put in the basement.
I paid extra to get my regular M+S rated normal tires siped and never got stuck under normal ice and snow. My ’98 Tracker got stuck a lot because it was so light in the rear.
I’m thinking about getting the tires siped on my current ride.
+1 on all of that. Balance and doing everything nice and easy, nice and smooth, and dare to be a bit slow in the snow.
The most important element when driving in the snow is of course actually the driver. All the fancy tech in the world will not keep you safe in the snow if you’re a dumbass.
I learned to drive in the winter of ’78-’79 in my dad’s ’79 AMC Spirit and my mom’s (and shortly afterward my) ’74 Pinto. They were a bit harder to drive in snow due to their relatively light weight, but we managed just fine. The winter of ’79-’80 I put studded snows on the Pinto and it was just about unstoppable.
The parked car behind the 1965 Plymouth Fury wagon on the left side of the photo looks like a 1973 or 1974 full-size Ford. That would be the newest car in the photo (if that car is, in fact, a 1973 or 1974 Ford).
If not, the Plymouth Fury on the right side of the photo is a 1972 model.
+1 on the ’73/’74 Ford. On the far left appears to be a ’70 – ’72 Cutlass Supreme 2 door that may be as new as the ’72 Fury.
I also agree with the many comments concerning the large, rwd cars in winter driving, with one addition. The depth of the snow made a big difference. With a foot of fresh snow on the ground, the small cars did not have the ground clearance to overcome. They tended to plow the snow, where the larger cars drove over it.
What’s interesting about the Cutlass Supreme is that it has the optional factory styled wheels, but lacks a vinyl roof.
In those days, it seemed as though virtually all Cutlass Supremes had the vinyl roof.
I’ll bet that this particular Cutlass was really handsome once it was properly cleaned and detailed.
Those were exactly what I thought I saw!
A heavy car (read station wagon) with a set of Firestone Town and Country snow tires always made for a very capable vehicle for winter driving in Minnesota .
Growing up i witnessed this first hand with Dad’s 57 Pontiac Wagon.
The ’72 Plymouth is the newest car I can make out. I’ve driven both front and rear drive cars in the snow and as long as you have decent tires you can get through most of it. Our ’78 Cutlass wasn’t bad with a set of all-season tires, and it helped that it didn’t have enough power to get you into much trouble anyway. I never had trouble with my ’81 Datsun 310 or ’84 Cavalier – both had good tires and a stick shift, so you always had good control starting out. My ’92 Nissan pickup gave me a scare once on the 401 when the rear end started to slide around at 80 km/h one snowy night. I corrected it quickly enough, but after that I ditched the crappy original tires and put on some all-season radials. It then drove much better in rain and snow, and, again, it was a manual and that helped as well.
With studded snow tires and a couple of sandbags in the trunk, my ’66 Impala convertible went like a tank through the snow. My wife’s (then fiancee) ’72 Monte Carlo, on the other hand, was unable to pull away from a stoplight on its own.
Oh yeah! I drove a 66 Parisienne 283 powerglide in 12 Southern Ontario winters. A good set of snows,and a gentle foot, no problem.
As a kid, I drove a 62 Strato Chief with a 261 and three on the tree. I once got stuck in my girlfriends driveway. Her dad give me a slightly used set of snows,on GM rims. Maybe he was worried about his daughter riding with me, on my bald tires?
Maybe he wanted to get rid of me? It didn’t work we have been married 41 years in April.
Understand on the Monte. My Mom traded a 64 Cutlass that had been fine in snow and got a 72 Cutlass. It was horrible in snow. Snow tires were absolutely necessary to get any forward motion out of the thing in an inch of snow. The 74 LeMans that followed was a little better, but not a lot. A buddy’s 68 Cougar was awful as well.
For a couple of years I drove a 1963 Plymouth Belvedere that the previous owner had ordered with the 361 V8. The combination of all that torque and a relatively light car, with most of the weight in the front, made for interesting winter driving. I finally put 10-12 concrete blocks in the trunk and that helped some but even then you had to be really, really careful with throttle applications on a slick surface. As someone said upthread the ideal RWD winter car is probably a station wagon, they tend to weigh more and more of the weight is over the rear wheels. I am amused by all of the people who think that four wheel drive is a complete panacea for driving in snow; as long as you have open differential(s) all it takes is for one wheel to lose traction for you to be hung up.
A lot of it depends where you live. I’m in the middle of a big city; snow is cleared quickly — even during big storms. You could probably survive with a RWD year-round.
Brrrrrrrr…that looks cold. I guess if you’re born to it you can do it, can’t imagine anyone moving to anywhere with a real winter without a very good reason.
Good effort polar people, but I’ll be content looking at the photos.
That 72 Fury parked on the right – what a dog. This is a low level Fury I or Fury II – could it be that the rear is actually uglier than the front? Have never considered this before. Could be.
This low-end Fury for ’72 has always boggled my mind. It’s almost like somebody at Chrysler thought people should suffer for their frugality by giving them something so god-awful.
By the way, when looking at the original 8.5″x11″ of this picture, the Fury has “Official Vehicle” plates on it, so it’s a fleet car.
Fury II’s were rare, either retail famliy car III’s or fleet queen I’s were seen commonly.
My aunt and uncle got a used ’69 Fury II, and was like seeing a ‘factory custom’ car! Not really, lol.
My grandmother’s next-door neighbors had a 1972 Plymouth Fury four-door sedan. It was dark green with a black vinyl roof, but didn’t have the hidden headlights. I’m guessing it was a Fury III?
At any rate, I thought it was an awkward looking car even then – not nearly as handsome as a contemporary Chevrolet Impala/Caprice or Ford Galaxie/LTD.
The saving grace for Plymouth was that the 1972 Dodge Polara and Monaco were, in my opinion, REALLY ugly.
It looks like it should just say “CAR” on the trunk lid, like you’d pick it up at Kresge’s.
I had thought the newest was the ’72(?) Cutlass Supreme notchback hard left.
They all look relatively “new” ’70, ’71, ’72. As I look out my window it looks like the picture, 10 degrees F ground covered in snow. The difference is instead of sliding around with a big RWD car, I feel much safer in my 4×4 SUV. Hate it if you want, but as long as I’m in the snowbelt, I will always have good tires and 4×4
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *
Notify me of follow-up comments by email.
Notify me of new posts by email.
This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.
Enter your email address to subscribe to CC and receive notifications of new posts by email.
About Arras WordPress Theme
Copyright 2011 - 2016 Curbside Classics. All Rights Reserved.