Question never asked :
what tiny convertible for a run on snow?
I can’t define myself as being open-minded in terms of automobile. To be honest I only really appreciate those you can at least use for a trackday between friends. Even worst, I tend to be a little bit racist when comes the time to speak about their nationality. I only drive English (like Jaguar XK120 or Mini), French (like Megane RS or Alpine A110) a and some Italians (like Fiat 500 or Alfa Romeo Giulia); but that’s it!
I’m what is called an extremist, which explains why I cannot interest anyone with my articles only focusing on exotic classic racing cars and events. As you may have understood, I’ve got some troubles which have annoying repercussions on my family life and friendly relations.
Knowing that I will start soon to write for RoadRugCars, I recently spoke with my doctor and decided to make some efforts in order to softer my points of views which will help me to enlarge my scope of potential readers.
I needed to find a topic talking to everyone, useful for everyone. Considering the time of the year and upcoming skiing holidays I found interesting to determine which is the best convertible car to reach the skiing station with style. To be clear, the fact I am discussing about cars, excludes trucks or tractors, and set automatically aside strange 4-wheels drive such as Bentleys or Porsches (bwaaah).
After few propositions rejected, probably because people have serious jobs and are not available during week days, or just because they are not true friends, I finally found David and his Fiat Nuova 500, who deals classic Ferraris (not having a serious job, and who I hope to be a true friend).
Legendary British grip on the snow : the Austin Mini
Here we go: the match will oppose his Fiat 500 versus my good old Austin Mini. Both convertibles. Why? Well, if you ask this question, this is because you never tried to carry skis inside a compact car.
Cold start but easy start!
Let’s talk about ignition key time: both the Fiat and Mini impressed us, starting in half of a second despite the negative temperature: – 3° C. Outside. And inside. To be honest isolation is not the best of the two cars. But provided you have big scarf and gloves, they are ready to be driven during winter time, which is a strong point.
We all know the qualities and defaults of the protagonists on a dry asphalt and we found not necessary to test these again as it seemed to be a bite boring considering the slippery environment offered to us.
I have to say the results of our first experience on the snow has been pretty amazing: while I had some difficulties to go across the yard of the farm with my modern company car, a gasoil Renault Clio (In fact, I may not be such a purist, even though it remains a double seaters), the Mini suffered any loss of grip thanks to its low weight. As Colin Chapman said it few decades ago: light is right, even if I’m not sure he was thinking about grip on the snow.
Amazing Italian agility : the Fiat 500
Despite its rear wheels drive, the Fiat 500 shown a similar attitude, and even if David did nothing to help it, trying to make “burns” at each start. Why not?
And now it’s time to dance.
Ten minutes of small amusement later, engines being hot, or deemed to be hot in this polar context, we decided that it was time to dance.
In the Ice Skating category, two cars were nominated, but the Fiat 500 won, far funnier to drive than the Mini. At least until before I have realised that a front wheel drive going backward equals a rear wheel drive. However, it tends to give headaches.
We wanted more
That was only the starter. Then we eventually decided to race across the fields. I was quite confident on the fact the Mini would take the lead and be more at ease due to its Rallye heritage. I was wrong.
Too heavy and rigid in its suspensions, it had some difficulties to run upon the jammed track, while the Fiat was like flying above the clouds (Rolls Royce tribute).
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We were near to join a wood along a little river when we met people in orange jackets. Funnily, they were even more surprised to see our little coloured bolides, than us seeing them in their coloured clothes. No chance that they were yellow vests in middle of nowhere and in fact we understood that we made our test drive in the middle of an hunting party… Motorsport can be very dangerous!
What a day! At the end of the session, coming back to the farm, I smelled like hot water. The Mini had plenty of snow in his engine compartment. This is all the interest of having a rear engine, like the Fiat 500, when you go skiing. Fiat Club should be proud. Ps : and it’s probably funnier than a Fiat 500X.
My doctor advised me to compliment people’s car and act as a gentleman. I would go for the Fiat.