APRIL 18, 2014: FREE AT LAST–IT IS TIME TO SAY HELLO TO THE OPEN ROAD-WITH CAUTION

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To say it was a long winter is a massive understatement of facts.

 

Last winter sucked in a Hall of Fame way for every part of North America where we usually have four distinct seasons, but mostly just had excessive amounts of Polar Vortex for the past several months.

 

Now will be the time to see what all of those car guys’ winter at hard labor in a garage has unleashed on the streets.

 

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However there is one nagging hangover from winter that will need a little more time to conquer: the gravel left on the streets before the street cleaners do their duty.

 

We get plenty of sand, gravel and salt mix to compensate for a lack of actual snowplows on the streets in our city during winter months.

 

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It is essentially a lipstick-on-a-pig approach to the problem and does little to make our winter roads safe or even passable during a winter like this past one in our town, located just slightly south of where hell freezes over on the map.

 

The net result is a generous paint-chipping and windshield-busting layer of loose gravel on our streets.

 

Better yet, the residual waste gravel is liberally blended with corrosive ice-melter chemicals that work poorly in extreme cold (a trademark of the past winter in our area) and yet work pretty well as a metal destroyer on cars.

 

Car guys in our area need to see a lot of street cleaner action and rainstorms to wash away the effects of winter so they take to the streets this spring.

 

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We hear plenty of stories about rocks meeting windshields during the spring season and most car guys do not want their vintage rides to suffer these kinds of indignities.

 

Imagine if you will; a scenario where a vintage survivor car still has its original un-cracked or un-chipped windshield after decades on the road. Perhaps the windshield even has a vintage national park or safety inspection windshield sticker from its first year on the road to verify its originality.

 

The stickers are a powerful reminder of its history on the road, along with an amazing amount of incredible luck thrown into the equation.

 

The odds of an original windshield with no damage in an antique vehicle from the past are not good, even in long shot world.

 

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The tragedy of a broken original windshield on a survivor car is worthy of open weeping by car guys and nobody would blame them. However, even a new replacement windshield in an old ride that gets broken is sufficient cause for car guy crocodile tears.

 

Replacement windshields on old cars can be expensive in that arm, leg, first-born child and favorite dog kind of way. An errant chunk of rock from winter streets can be an instant spring nightmare for car guys.

 

We have heard nightmarish accounts of expensive new windshields that did not even last a month on the road.

 

Bear in mind that supply and demand on replacement windshields means they can cost a lot of money for car guys, if they are even lucky enough to track them down somewhere in the world.

 

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There are plenty of reasons for car guys to be careful on the roads with their classic rides in the spring after a bad winter, not the least of which is the windshield.

 

We don’t even want to think about rock chips in the paint job.

 

Jim Sutherland

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