Muscle cars are notorious for a number of things: straight line speed, massive engines, burnouts, Americana, and the list goes on. In fact, go ahead and ask all your buddies to rattle off what they love about muscle cars. Have your list ready? No matter what’s on it, we’re guessing “awesome in winter” didn’t get mentioned. Pretty good reason for that: they’re typically not. However, with three simple additions, you can make your pony car ready for the cold season ahead.
This one might seem blindingly obvious but isn’t always. Since a number of muscle cars are designed on a budget, all-season tires are fairly common. Thus, a large portion of buyers don’t bother with winter tires since the standard ones say “all-season.” But here’s the thing: all-season doesn’t, nor should, mean snow. Yours truly was with a friend recently who purchased a new Subaru WRX (highly regarded as a snow/off-road machine). The first thing the dealer said: just make sure you get winter tires.
Now, if a an AWD car legendary for off-tarmac performance needs snow tires, we absolutely promise you that your 400+ horsepower, RWD, hardcore muscle car does, too. Here’s the good news: a winter set is absolutely worth the money. The softer compound and increased grip yield dramatically more traction, control, safety and ultimately confidence. Plus, if you find an empty parking lot, hooning becomes way, way more fun.
For a well-rounded, highly recommended and nicely priced winter set, check out Bridgestone Blizzaks. As someone who drives a 2,700lb, RWD sports car in a northern climate (because racecar is life), I can attest to the benefits of Blizzaks. Steering feel (compared to summer tires) will decrease a little, but the increased grip in snow, slush and generally not-awesome conditions is easily worth the price of admission.
If you’re reading this, here’s an understatement: you love your car. Few times in life are more enjoyable then when you’re behind the wheel and keeping your car clean is part of the auto-fanatic lifestyle. Unfortunately, winter has other plans. Unless you hate your carpets and wish to see them die, swapping in floor mats is a big help. Beyond protecting your vehicle’s floor, they also help maintain a grippy surface when entering/exiting the vehicle.
Among the highest rated options on the market are WeatherTech FloorLiner mats. Though they’re pretty far from the cheapest available, it’s a case of getting what you pay for. WeatherTech FloorLiners are precisely fitted to perfectly match your footwells, with ruggedness and easy cleaning to match. As an additional perk, they’re designed and manufactured in the USA.
If you have multiple cars and don’t feel like subjecting your ride to winter’s brutal road conditions, keeping it tucked away in your garage is a great option. However, you’re more than likely going to need a long-term charger for your battery. Logic seems to suggest that simply running your car for a few minutes on occasion is enough to keep the charge up. Ironically, since you’re not running the vehicle for long, the drain of starting the engine isn’t compensated for quickly enough. Net result: you’re slowly killing your battery.
With a long-term charger, like those sold by Battery Tender, simply plug in and forget. These units will safely and accurately keep a steady battery level, even adjusting for ambient garage temperatures. Sweetening the deal is that Battery Tenders are highly cost effective and most come with a 10-year warranty.
Photo thanks: Hot Rod Magazine