Winter Blues

Posted January 30, 2017

By Dean Larson

Being a car enthusiast from Wisconsin has its challenges. With unpredictable weather and up to six months of snow on the ground, it can sometimes be difficult to justify that open-top roadster in the garage for half the year. While most replicas get banished to a garage for the winter months, there are some owners who, either for sport or by necessity, have braved the winter weather in their cars, and why not? It was 3 degrees above zero this morning in Wisconsin so we thought it was an appropriate time to share some winter stories from Randall Thomas of the Superformance Owners Association.

As a native of Hartford, Wisconsin, Randall can’t stand to see his replicas sit for half the year. He admits he doesn’t drive his cars everyday in the winter, but there are days he can’t resist. On this particular day, Randall must have felt like testing the limits of roadster weather, because 15 degrees below zero stops a lot of snowmobilers I know. Randall explained that he almost made it out of the driveway in one shot, but ended up having to pull his Superformance Cobra out with the lawn tractor. 

On another sub-zero January day, Randall took his Superformance GT40 to work. He cited that the car handled surprisingly well and had more traction than expected, but was a little light in the steering and a handful with 700 horsepower.

The last story Randall told us was about another owner’s group member who happens to be a pastor with a Cobra, yea you read that right. The pastor could only afford one car and wanted a Cobra, so that’s what he bought. After equipping his car with a hardtop, the pastor is able to drive his car everyday. “In New York where he’s from, they use some sort of liquefied salt to coat the roads … we use his car as a budget wind tunnel to test new parts because you can see airflow lines left by the salt,” Randall joked. After 15 years of driving the car, the pastor’s car was disassembled and rebuilt. Randall explained that rust had affected normal stuff like nuts and bolts but that the frame only needed to be sandblasted and recoated. 

Randall knows parts. He owns a performance parts website, with its own Cobra parts division-Cobra Valley. So we believe him when he says that these Cobras can handle the winter weather. “I got all kinds of hate mail and negative comments for driving my cars in the winter, but they’re my cars and they can take it,” said Randall. One last tip we thought we should pass on is how Randall cleans the undersides of his cars after such an outing; a home-built underbody washer (a garden hose with holes punched in it.)

If you'd like to see other photos of Cobras in water, snow and mud, check out the Superformance Owners Association's Extreme photo galleries.

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