SNOWED IN WITH FOUR WHEELS
Credit: LAT Images
There was an idea a few weeks ago amongst Sacha, myself and a few other members of the team to compile a list of cars we'd love to get stuck in the snow with. Granted, getting stuck anywhere usually isn't ideal, but if we could choose the car for the occasion, what would it be?
As readers of TRACKSIDE you tend to hear a lot from us, and so we decided to develop this one step further, asking several of our friends in the automotive community to answer this question instead. I'm sure most, if not all of the contributors below will be familiar to many of you, and we'd like to thank them for being a part of 8Js!
I’m a classic car lover by heart, but the thought of being stuck inside of one for hours in the snow would not be a particularly pleasant experience... In February this year, I had to sleep in my 2003 canvas roof Land Rover Defender and despite many blankets, the cold managed to creep in. It’s fair to say, I did not get any sleep. I imagine it would be a solid choice to try and get out of pesky snow! But no, I think for that instance there is only one choice - a Bentley Bentayga.
Being stuck inside a Bentayga would be more of a joy than an inconvenience. I would have the heated massaging seats switched on constantly, throw on some gorgeous music through the incredible speakers, and simply sit back, relax and enjoy that time as if I’d chosen it. Hopefully I’d have a book with me, too. It’s not half bad at driving over a number of different terrains, so I can’t imagine actually being stuck there for very long. Which is a bit of a shame really as in my mind, it sounds like a perfect lazy day.
- Amy Shore, Automotive Photographer and Nikon Ambassador
FIAT PANDA 4X4, VAL D'ISÈRE LIMITED EDITION
The idea of getting stuck in the snow with a car is not particularly thrilling per se. Cars are there to drive, or to look at, but not to get stuck in. Whereas, in a drive-in cinema, you're also kind of voluntarily stuck. So it's much more a matter of WHO you get stuck with, and what you have to eat and drink. Whether the car radio is still working is also pretty important, and subsequently so is music you can listen to. In short, with a Maria Grazia Cucinotta of the 90's, two Panini alla Mortadella and a bottle of Franciacorta it can be held out quite long for example. A music cassette from Baltimora with the 1985 hit "Tarzan Boy" would be helpful, after all, the rescue workers are supposed to hear you.
But back to the car; there can only be one, and that's the classic Fiat Panda 4x4 in the Val d'Isère limited edition special series. This Panda not only looks beguilingly good, it is probably the only car that never actually gets stuck - or at least not for too long. Seen in this light, you'd have to stage getting stuck with it if you ever had Maria Grazia in the car. The best four-wheel drive in the world, coupled with a compact weight of just 700 kilograms and thin wheels makes this car unstoppable. And if, contrary to expectations, everything should still go wrong and you get stuck, there's still the ultimate pro tip: strap on the Rossignol skis which you've put on the roof and head down the mountain in James Bond style to reach the next ski lodge with a roaring fire and deerskin carpet pad. Oh yes, don't forget to take Maria Grazia with you!
- Fabrizio D'Aloisio, Photographer and Author
CAMEL TROPHY RANGE ROVER
Generally speaking, being stuck in snow is a very unpleasant experience, but nevertheless it depends of the choice of car.
Seeing my pal @maxige78 driving his yellow RUF RCT on the snowy roads in the Dolomite mountains gives me shivers of sheer joy. For sure some of you would say that RUF creations are not the best choice of wheels to drive in such conditions but, I'd argue that's been proven wrong by looking at the photos of this yellow beast. But for me, I’d like to do a great tour with an original Camel Trophy Range Rover through the snowy slopes in some remote part of the world. Who would join in?
- J.P. Rathgen, CEO of Classic Driver
AUDI RS6 AVANT
When thinking of a car, one wishes to get sideways in the snow, to rip up a mountain pass and eventually spin out and be left stuck in the cold. I would initially think of something with a winch, heated seats and huge tires all to potentially avoid getting stuck. But, well, let’s say getting stuck is part of the deal, which it kind of is, right? What would I choose?
Firstly, here is some context: having lived in Switzerland most of my life, where every winter the mountain roads/empty parking lots are coated with a soft white powder that makes you turn left to go right and right to go left, I am no stranger to getting a little sideways on Sunday’s during the winter months.
Throughout the years I have had the chance to test “slide” many different vehicles from my mum’s old banger (a Honda CRV from 2012) to a Porsche 2.3L RS from 1962, with no traction control or power steering. As you can imagine, this has resulted on many occasions (with the exception of the Porsche) in minor crashes, dented panels and obviously getting very, very stuck.
The most fun I have ever had was with a manual A3, but that’s not much of a dream car. So, with this being said the car I would choose has to be the 2003 Audi RS6 Avant and here’s why; my love for this car was instigated by one of my favourite films, Layer Cake. This car blends into the crowd yet packs a big punch; to the average “non car person” it goes completely unnoticed, which gives it so much more appeal to me. It’s the perfect blend of understated, big horsepower and the legendary Quattro system. Yes, it’s long and heavy but it fits the skis, so I guess it works for me!
- Fred Lockhart, Marketing Manager, 8Js
SUBARU IMPREZA WRX
Not only do I have a car in mind that is perfect to get stuck in the snow with, but I actually have got it stuck in the snow, a lot of it.
Living in Switzerland – call it a national sport – but finding a (safe) place to get your car sideways on the first day of snow is part of the perks of our Alpine region. Though nothing extremely bad has ever happened, I’ve seen my fair share of scary moments and near-misses, and so I’m glad to be able to cautiously advise the younger generations to simply be careful.
The story goes like this…
It was back in early 2010, I was only 20 years-old and car-less. I had just started university in Montreux and was going up to the mountains with some friends almost every weekend.
My brother Nico was nice enough to have long-term lent me his Subaru Impreza WRX from 2005 - despite the photo, Nico's wasn't an STI, but taking photos in this situation was the last thing on all of our minds! It was all black, a little tweaked and simply perfect. At the time, I really didn’t mind the slightly oversized spoiler and the noise of the turbo on long shift whistling through the highway was a delight.
I’ve driven a lot of cars, and almost as many on snow. Expensive ones, cheap ones, fast ones, heavy ones, FWD, RWD, AWD. You will never beat a Subaru when it really matters. Sure, you can have better, but take the price point, and the straight out-of-the box capacity of the car.
I can already hear you guys, yes, I know nothing beats the 4x4 Panda. True for traction and utility, but where’s the fun?!
So anyways back to the story. We had a pretty rough night and woke up, well… hungry. After coming down from a friend’s chalet to indulge in some well-deserved greasy burgers we drove back up to gather our stuff and eventually head back down to school. This friend’s place is located right next to a ski slope, which was deserted by the time we got there. It was early, not high season, with no one in sight.
Let me tell you, the snow was so packed and cold I was just amazed how well the “sub” simply ate-up that slope. We’re sideways, doing donuts; my friends are in the back ready to pass out when suddenly for some reason and I remember perfectly, I just let the car take us a little bit “off-piste”. That is the moment I knew…. We were not getting this car out on our own.
We’re stuck in the snow on a public ski slope, phones hardly have coverage, it’s -8°C, I cannot stop laughing but simultaneously I’m getting a little anxious. A snowplow passes by ignoring us despite my two hands close together in praying motion. Looking back on it we really looked like a bunch of spoilt idiots, maybe it is a right of passage. After a solid 30 minutes we managed to reach a friend who came to our rescue with a Defender equipped with a front-end wrench.
We made it back for supper, case closed, car was fine.
Nico, if you’re only learning about this now, it wasn’t for nothing.
- Sacha Prost, Co-Founder and CEO, 8Js