The Winter Beater

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Before this season, I’ve had vehicles that were perfectly capable winter cars. And honestly, the Boxster would have been fine with some different tires and maybe a hard top. But those are significant expenses, and if I’m going to spend money, I might as well get another car to play with, right? Yes, I realize how fuzzy my logic is here. OK fine, call it a rationalization.

I’ve always wanted a transaxle Porsche. The 944S2/951/968 were at the top of on my list when I bought the 986. I think the design has aged extremely well, and I’m a sucker for pop-up headlights. I actually don’t mind RWD in the winter, in fact I prefer it to FWD (hyper amplified torque steer freaks me out) so I kept my eyes out for one of these, along with the 924. Good tires, manual transmission, and good weight distribution were the key features I was looking for. The 924S I ended up buying also has the limited-slip differential option, which is probably bigger than I realize. Costco had a special a few weeks ago for $70 off a set of Bridgestone tires + free (ok actually $0.01) installation, so got a set of Blizzak WS80s mounted to my 15” phone dials.

Fast forward a bit to late December, and we finally have enough snow on the ground to try out my winter setup!

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In short, it was great. To get a feel for how the car responds to the conditions, my first stop was a big empty parking lot. I tried to drive as crazy as possible to make the car lose control, but even that was difficult. Any time I felt like I was starting to slip, the car found grip within seconds. I spent the afternoon driving around the city, the highway, and the back roads.

I never really ran into any trouble. It was predictable, and while I’d get some wobble here and there, the car always straightened itself out. My front sway bar is still off of the car, but I feel like that will help, as the loose feeling of driving without it is even greater on slippery roads.

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So far, so good. Granted it wasn’t a huge amount of snow, but sometimes these lighter accumulation storms lead to the trickiest driving conditions. Anxious to see how it does in the deep stuff.

Colin Baker Written by:

Colin is a network engineer, amateur/wannabe Porsche mechanic, and elite hobbyjogger in Madison, WI.