Hooniverse Asks: What's your dream winter beater?


Let’s play this game with the caveat that money is no object. You can go wild here. You’re on the search for a winter beater, and you have the cash you need to make your snowy-weather dreams come true. My winter beater would wind up being a Land Rover Defender modified by Twisted, which means there’s some manner of LS engine mounted under the hood. I’d go full Bond baddie spec, and I’d run that thing through every snow mound that lay in my path.
I almost went with the Pro-2 Dodge Charger from the Furious franchise, but decided that I need a bit more weather insulation in my winter rig.
What are you going to pick? What’s your ideal winter beater, if the cost factor wasn’t …a factor?

64 Comments

  1. Even though I don’t venture out here in Fort Worth if it’s icy…I don’t own a Zamboni…for a couple of reasons, I already have my long-term winter beater.
    A 1998 Grand Cherokee 5.9L.
    Comfy, you’ve gotta work to get it stuck, it works perfectly in the CO mountains for trail exploration and pulling behind the motorcoach when we want to travel via the diesel-powered apartment.

    1. It has the oil filter from a 944, lots of rubber bits from a 914, a few bits from the Rabbit. From the Beetlebug I could only find some nuts, bolts, and a needle bearing inside the gearbox or diff.
      Did I mention that I like public parts catalogs and systematic parts numbers?

      1. So here I wonder: Where was this on the cool scale when you were in high school? Because today, it would be off the charts.

        1. They weren’t cool when they were new, at least not in the Pacific Northwest. I know a few people who had them. Primarily skiers who were willing to sacrifice a bit of comfort and style for 4WD function. Also, it was generally acknowledged that AMC was on its last legs and was a bargain brand. Several of the kids in my neighborhood had the brand as a first car, because they were cheap.

        2. We had several AMCs as I grew up, mainly because they were affordable, tough, and easy to work on. Definitely not considered cool, but my mom’s Eagle would go nearly anywhere a stock Jeep could. They are gaining some attention now as an early crossover, before the term was even coined.
          Fortunately my dad still has my mother’s Eagle, and I’d love to drop a later-model Cherokee 4.0L into it. Or, I have a 304 V8 lying around that needs some love. May be my next project…

    1. A guy here in Columbus built a C2 4×4 on a Navigator chassis because of the independent rear suspension. He called it the Forvette. I happened upon it on the way home from work one day:
      http://www.salguod.net/weblog/images/salguod.net_vette-4×4.jpg
      He found me after I wrote it up on my blog (http://www.salguod.net/weblog/archive/2009/07/four-wheel-drive-corvette.shtml). We were supposed to meet up at some point but never did. I used the information that I had and tracked down the guys address and even found it on street view sitting outside his house, sadly neglected.
      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/925cbc9aa25478d17bdf4824cebb64861215ba75e7c04e607c798e676a229d47.jpg

        1. You really needed to see all that polished diamond plate in person. It was just the right balance of awesome and ridiculous. Fiberglass mods could never have pulled that off.

    1. Having an ashtray is so much more French, n’est-ce pas?. The 10 and 11 are bereft of such an essentially French feature.

  2. I would marry the 6 door 1980s Sedan DeVille I found on CL a few weeks back with a Suburban chassis and drivetrain.

    1. In all honesty I loved driving my 733i in winter weather. There were times when it seemed only Jeeps and I were left on the road. It is so easy to slide and catch it is a hoot to drive. Limited traction left me driving up hills canted toward the oncoming lane as one rear tire spins away digging for pavement. I managed a perfect 180 into an icy parallel spot in an E23.

      1. My father had one of those when I was younger. I absolutely adored that car and it’s probably the reason I love wagons to this day.

  3. https://www.autocar.co.uk/sites/autocar.co.uk/files/styles/gallery_slide/public/jag_awd_xj_160812_6.jpg
    Our winters really aren’t that bad (the rest of the country still makes fun of us for calling in the military after a slightly heavy storm 20 years ago), so nothing particularly special is needed. But on the heavier days, it’d be nice to have a big AWD luxury sedan to get chauffeured around in, rather than deal with the traffic.
    I figure one at 10 years old qualifies for beater status, although I doubt the chauffeur comes with it.

    1. For all intents and purposes, you’d need to call it a Jensen FU, going all over the place on icy days.

    2. Only if there is no salt used in your area, Interceptors rust at an Olympic level and FF’s are rare!

        1. What always amazes me the most with these builds is how the engine bay doesn’t necessarily look terminally cramped when some hold-my-beer-hero puts a machine in there that’s twice the size of a stock engine.

        2. Thanks for the update – I was wondering “what awd Volvo 240?” and wondering if I was losing my marbles!

          1. Well this one’s been tweaked enough that I thought an AWD conversion was included as well–I don’t think there’s been a factory AWD Volvo road car prior to the Whiteblock era (disregarding the C303, Sugga, etc. as not really “road cars”)

          2. Not only no factory AWD but it appears just about no AWD conversions!
            There is a guy in Sydney who built his own AWD turbo Falcon sedan using a mix of parts including Ford/Holden/BMW, and another guy in Adelaide who did a wagon running at SUV ride height using all Ford parts (maybe a custom length tailshaft). A bit of ground clearance can often be handy!

  4. Ok, I’m in California, so winter is something I visit by going up to the mountains. Also, we don’t salt the roads, so it can be a vehicle I love.
    So. A yellow Jeep Wrangler TJ with a stick, an LSD in the rear pumpkin, a selectable locker in the front, really good A/T tires and the right final drive for the tire size. 4WD drive+torque and engine braking for good traction and short wheelbase for shenanigans.
    (For those following along at home: yes, I’m two diff upgrades away from having this in my driveway, and even with open pumpkins, it’s still a riot in the soft stuff.)

  5. a new Oshkosh MRAP would do nicely. money(and a lot of it) being no issue, that is. definitely not a Humvee. I like the bumpers on the MRAP and the HVAC is the bomb. plenty of ground clearance and good approach angles. air down the tires a bit and haul ass. SUVs no. Pickups? no.

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