Q. Is a front- or rear-drive
in the snow? I live in a town some 40 miles west of Chicago and its
side streets are a mess for several days after it snows. A rear-drive
1983 Mercury Marquis was almost undriveable on them. I’m
looking at a rear-drive Hyundai Genesis or a front-drive Hyundai Azera.
— A.F. Batavia, Illinois
A. I’d suggest the Azera because front-drive generally provides better traction on snowy roads. However, it’s easy to get stuck when two drive wheels are spinning, no matter what end of a car they’re on. Special winter tires that get ‘stickier” the colder it becomes are a great help in winter. But they generally cost a lot and aren’t for summer driving, which prematurely wears them out. Check with the experts at the Tire Rack (1-888-378-8473) for the special winter tires needed for the car you’re considering. Perhaps you’re best off with an all-wheel-drive (AWD) car or an AWD or four-wheel-drive crossover or reasonably sized SUV. You might look at the Hyundai Santa Fe or Hyundai Tucson, which have front or AWD.
Q. I’m restoring a 1965 turbocharged Chevrolet Corvair with a four-speed manual transmission. How many 1965 Corvairs came with the turbocharger? — A.B., Decatur, Alabama
A. You’ve got the “second generation” Corvair, with really slick styling and excellent handling, thanks to its Corvette-style independent rear suspension. As for the number of turbo versions, check with the country’s top Corvair expert, Larry Claypool, who runs the ‘Vair Shop in Frankfort, Illinois (815-469-2936). I prefer the four-carburetor setup for the Corvair engine. The turbo provides more power, but it doesn’t work nearly as well as modern turbochargers.
Q. My mechanic recommends that I put oil with a higher viscosity in my car’s engine. Your thoughts? — T.S., Kansas City
A. Check your owner’s manual. Higher viscosity oils are thicker and create greater resistance to moving engine parts, which is something you don’t want—especially in winter.
Q. I once tried to sell a car
air conditioning in South Florida, but car dealers refused to buy the
car because they said most people won’t purchase a car in
Florida without “air.” Air conditioning now is
standard on most vehicles, despite the emphasis on higher fuel economy,
although I hear it lowers economy. Why does it hurt gas mileage?
— E.N., Arlington, Virginia
A. Because it puts a greater load on the engine.
Q. What are a few of the most trailblazing cars? — A.B., Phoenix
A. Ford Model T (put the country on wheels). Mini (showed how to best use space in a small car). Audi Quattro (first four-wheel-drive for a fast, technically advanced mass-produced car). Jaguar E-Type or “XKE” (Sunning, mass-produced version of a famous Le Mans-winning race car).