HOWTO: Drive a convertible in a New England winter

Photo: Driving an MX-5 in a New England winter.

So we’ve had a bit of snow over the past week, especially last Thursday. I was out earlier shoveling snow for the second time, all in the aid of driving my MX-5 in convertible mode, in the middle of winter. Zoom Zoom Zoom!

The first thing you need to know about New England winter is that it’s nothing like ye olde England winter. Here, we have actual snow – not frozen drizzle – and it comes down a few feet at a time, when it feels like it. The roads are generally cleared reasonably quickly (although in MA, they like to wait until the storm is over, which is ridiculous), but remain somewhat slippery, and obviously outside parking is quickly swamped.

I had my first real “digging out” experience on Tuesday. The weather having been bad enough to keep me from going outside over the weekend, and the several feet of snow covering my car having frozen into thick layers of ice, meant that it took 4 hours to get the car out again. At one point, the wheels were turning but the car was absolutely stuck. And I went through 4 packets of ice melt in the process.

But I learned a lesson. If you’re going to dig out, you need to do an all or nothing. There was more snow. This undid a lot of Tuesday’s effort. So, last night, I went out at midnight and spent a few hours completely removing all of the snow and ice from my parking – including many buckets of warm water, and scraping away of every last bit of ice. I shall now endeavor to keep it like this, and clear immediately after snow, because that’s the only way to prevent it getting that bad in future.

Anyway. A car covered in snow isn’t very usable as a convertible. It takes me about 45 minutes to fully desnow and deice a snow covered vehicle, dry her, reassure her that she’s still loved, and things of this nature. By 2am this morning, my car was completely clean, dry, and the soft top was functional again. I worked all night, then drove into the office, continuing in my pledge that I’m going to have that top down unless it’s actually snowing on me, or I have a passenger not quite as insane as I.

My driving gear consists of multiple layers, a winter coat, hat (with side ear protection), scarf, heavy duty gloves, and sunglasses. I’m still debating getting some ye olde British racing goggles. So far, I can tolerate temperatures of down to -5C (23F) without too much hassle, adding a little wind chill at highway speed, for good measure. I’m probably quite insane, but I’m not letting New England get between me and my Californian wannabe lifestyle.



One Response to “HOWTO: Drive a convertible in a New England winter”

  1. Classic Flying Helmet & Goggles

    Scarf optional…

Leave a Reply