When Wired.com's Autopia recently chose a list of ten perfect snowpocalypse vehicles, the site's readers howled in protest. After enduring a pummeling over their choices, the staff invited those readers to come up with their own list. Here it is.
A few of [their choices] were completely impractical — ironic, given the hell rained down for the Porsche 911 Carrera 4S — and a couple of them don't, you know, exist. But that doesn't make them any less awesome.
And so, with no further ado, here are the 10 perfect "snowicane cars" as selected by the readers of Wired.com.
Check out some other Wired.com stories:
- A Flying-Car Auction?
- Ford's First EV Isn't Sexy, But It's Smart
- The 2011 Mustang V-6
- Great Lotus Cars
- Audi's Premium Compact EV
- The Volvo 780 at the Geneva Motor Show
Photo of a caravan in Mongolia on Aug. 16, 2009: neurmadic aesthetic/Flickr
What's not to like about Ken Block's Subaru WRX STI Trax? It takes the already impressive all-weather capabilities of the super Soobie and adds frickin' tank treads. The result is something that looks like it was made for Mad Max on Ice. Oh, and it's got 400 horsepower. A blizzard? Pfft. You could run down a yeti in this thing.
Photo: Subaru. Yes, we know there are many shots of Block hooning this beast in the snow. But they're all copyrighted, and our photo editor doesn't want lawyers for Subaru and DC Shoes calling him.
The AT-AT, or the Imperial All-Terrain Armored Transport, looks imposing and it can go damn near anywhere. But this Imperial Walker is not perfect. Its armor is weak at the neck and the hip joints, you can bring it down with some stout cable and there's that easy-open hatch on the belly. Other than that, it would take some serious snowdrifts to stop one of these guys.
Photo: Associated Press. We're not sure what's going on here because the caption was in German, but we think the Empire is invading Leipzig.
When the boys at Top Gear aren't driving the wheels off exotic hardware, fudging the results of their Tesla test or grappling with bad haircuts and substandard dental care, they come up with some really cool customized rides and stunts in which to use them. Check out the Autopia reader-approved Top Gear Polar Special Hilux.
Jeremy Clarkson's crew ditched the Toyo's wheels and tires in favor of Arctic Trucks wheels with 38-inch studded snow tires. They raised and extended the wheel arches to make the oversize rubber fit, then modified the diesel engine to handle sub-zero temps and added a bunch of heaters to keep the fluid flowing. Top it off with an extra heavy-duty battery, a 90-liter diesel tank and a final drive lowered to 1.4:88 and you've got a machine capable of trekking to the North Pole.
What? Seriously? You chose the Hyanide? Sure, the hybrid motorbike vehicle designed and created by German designers Tilmann Schlootz and Oliver Keller might just work. The Hyanide seats two and its 500cc liquid-cooled single-cylinder engine puts out 60 horsepower, enough to propel it to a top speed estimated at 75 to 85 mph. But the Hyanide is only a one-fifth scale model prototype.
And you gave us hell for the Porsche.
Image: Michelin Design Challenge
We've got to have a die-hard contingent of Anglophiles here at Autopia because the Land Rover Defender garnered a whole heap of votes. We'll overlook the fact it has a Brit heater, so you'd probably freeze to death. That said, the Defender has a lot going for it. Lightweight body riding on a super-robust frame. Stout suspension and four-wheel drive. And if it breaks down, most repairs can be made with a rock and a pair of Vicegrips. If a Land Rover was good enough for Marlin Perkins, it's good enough for you.
Photo: Project 404/Flickr
Good choice. Sure, they're rudimentary and spartan, but that's part of the appeal. The CJ series are well-nigh unstoppable. The father of one Autopian served in World War II and gleefully tells the story of a Jeep that ran over an antipersonnel mine in North Africa. All that ordnance did was blow the one of the back wheels off. The GIs welded a skid in its place and that Jeep "worked just fine." It'll take more than snow to stop a CJ.
Photo: Cold Press Publishing/Flickr
Bonus points for such a creative answer dear readers, but really? A personal hovercraft? In a snowicane? You'd just be hanging out there in the chilly breeze like Todd Palin on his snow machine and showing just a much sense. Sure, you do have great all terrain capabilities, but a roof over your head and a heater that can fry an egg on a dashboard makes a lot more sense to us.
Photo: Michel;n/Flickr. Yeah, we know. It's on grass. You try finding a cool Creative Commons photo of a personal hovercraft on snow.
Yes, it looks like a prop from a Terry Gilliam movie, but it would take a nuclear winter to stop an ARKTOS in its tracks. The company says potential applications for the ARKTOS include geophysical survey, evacuation, exploration, adventure tours, firefighting and rough-terrain transportation. It forgot to include wooly mammoth hunting.
Photo: ARKTOS. Why yes, we are aware this monstrous amphibious craft is on the beach. The photo of it in snow was about the size of a postage stamp. This photo still conveys how supremely awesome the ARKTOS is.
Ah, the Unimog. It's like a factory monster truck and twice as badass. Daimler makes variants of these things to fight fires, carry troops, haul cargo and plow snow. You could probably drive one of these things pole to pole while wearing an oxford shirt and listening to your iPod then rescue the Top Gear crew. Hell - you can even get one tweaked and tuned by Brabus.
The Unimog: When you absolutely, positively have to make it from point A to point B come, or through, hell or high water.