Chicago was hit with nineteen inches of snow last month, a number which was about ten more than the average for February. It has been a mild winter for the most part, and even if there was roughly a seven day period when temperatures were far below freezing, there hadn’t been that much accumulation of snowfall. The third week of February corrected that, dumping so much snow on the night of the fifteenth that most cars in the parking lot of the building across the alley from mine simply stayed put on what normally would have been a regular workday when many residents would have driven somewhere.
Even when there hasn’t been a lot of snow on the ground this season, I have often been awakened in the morning by the sound of spinning tires and a madly revving engine in a nearby alley, which I can also see from my kitchen windows. The driver of a late model Dodge Challenger revs, spins, and rocks the car back and forth with such frenzy that it makes me think what a nightmare owning a rear-wheel-drive car in a northern city like Chicago must be in the winter. It suddenly makes the one-time popularity of FWD performance cars like the Toyota Celica and Ford Probe make total sense to me. I had kept hoping that I wasn’t going to hear a loud “crunch” after all of that to-do, and thankfully, that hasn’t happened. At least, not yet.
I ask myself the following questions, qualifying that I do not own a vehicle: Would the performance benefits and dynamics of a RWD car during dry-weather months offset the daily torture the Challenger driver endures during the winter, and conversely, would the limitations of a front-wheel-drive car be worth its year-round usability? Generally speaking, acceleration is usually better in rear-drive cars. Most front-drive cars are more fuel efficient, but then you also sometimes deal with torque-steer. On the inside, the necessity for a driveshaft makes RWD cars less space efficient than their FWD counterparts. There are many other considerations to ponder, especially if the car you dream about owning will also be your daily driver.
I had written about this same 1993 Mustang GT before, back in 2015. I’m always happy to see it around the neighborhood, signifying to me that it’s still being used and enjoyed, even it is far being in the pristine condition it was in upon its arrival to the streets of my little corner of Edgewater in Chicago’s north side. I have never driven a rear-drive car in the snow before, despite my Michigan upbringing, though I do have fond, hilarious memories of being one of several passengers in my high school best friend Fred’s ’76 Chevy Nova as he did donuts in one of a few empty parking lots after a big snowfall.
At one point, I had owned an ’88 Mustang with the 2.3L four-cylinder engine and a five-speed manual, but that was after I had moved south to Florida. Driving in snow would probably have been one of the few ways I would have been able to spin the tires in that slow car, but it’s probably just as well that I never had to try to manage both its rear-drive configuration and a manual transmission in this kind of cold, inclement weather. As for the owner of this Mustang GT, I hope he was able to get around using other means while his steed was buried in inches of snow, without too much inconvenience.
Without trying to beat a dead horse (no pun intended, as this Mustang still seems very much “alive”), many of us are feeling the effects of cabin fever and not being able to go anywhere, not only due to the pandemic, but also with winter’s cold temperatures and snow in the northern hemisphere. (It actually snowed again in Chicago yesterday.) We may be feeling stuck indoors and in certain routines, but I’ll be glad to report that within maybe four days of having taken these pictures, all of the snow on and around this Mustang had melted. Spring 2021 will officially be here as of this coming Saturday, so many of us have that to look forward to. It is time to start getting your own Curbside Classics cleaned up, serviced, and ready for warm-weather cruising, because nice temps will be here in a jiffy. Fingers-crossed.
Edgewater, Chicago, Illinois.
Sunday, February 21, 2021.
Click here to read about a different snow-bound Mustang I had written about close to exactly five years ago.