Love it or hate it, winter happens every year. Here in Northern Ohio, the season means snow, salt, and face-hurting temperatures. As a result of the conditions, most of us are forced indoors and our car projects take on an excruciatingly slow pace. Despite the weather and its demotivational characteristics, some of our team have decided to say ‘F@$K IT’ and do the unthinkable (and uncomfortable.) Five brave souls have devised a series of winter-themed challenges centered around German cars that sensible folks store in a garage during the cold months. We are (proud?) to introduce the ECS Winter Beater Challenge, a series of demanding tests for some ill-equipped cars with overly determined drivers to find the ‘best’ winter beater.
Rocky, Kevin, Will, Mike, and Zach have all purchased their cars and begun to outfit them for the grueling conditions they will endure throughout the winter. If you haven’t already, check out their individual articles to read more about the cars they chose. Today, we would like to formally introduce you to the competitors and the series.
With a budget of $1,500, all five challengers had to find and purchase the car that would be their only method of transportation for the winter and would need to compete in several events. The ultimate winter beater will be determined at the end of the season based on some arbitrary, vague, and probably heavily biased judging.
Let’s meet the crew:
Rocky: Mercedes-Benz W124 300D.
The car is low, slow, and gorgeous. Will it hold up to winter conditions at its pavement-kissing ride height on stancey wheels and all-season tires? Rocky, ever the optimist, seems to think so. Either way, an RWD Benz and tons of camber will look good whether it is driving down snow-covered roads or being pulled from a ditch after an overzealous corner entry.
Kevin: Audi 200 Quattro Avant.
When it starts, this AWD dad wagon has the potential to be a dominant competitor for the slippery conditions these challenges will include. However, with a hit-or-miss electrical system and myriad other issues hidden behind all the rust, it may leave its driver stuck out in the cold.
Will: BMW E39 540i Touring.
The newest car in the challenge, and possibly the most practical, this beater has a future as bright as its highlighter-yellow wheels. With a hearty M62 V8, rear wheel drive, and a long wheelbase, it stands to reason this touring (wagon) will be entertaining at the very least as it tank slaps its way down Northern Ohio roads.
Mike: Porsche 944.
While you may question the logic behind choosing a Porsche 944, a car that has been described as faster going in reverse, Mike has high hopes for his dollar store Porsche. With homemade custom control arms and long travel suspension, the 944 has been lifted and fitted with A/T tires to provide an unorthodox element to Porsche ownership. This car might have beefy tires, but will that be enough to make it a reliable winter daily?
Zach: BMW E32 740i.
The businessman’s dream commuter back in the 90s is now a Radwood icon. This E32 has all the comfort and convenience it did back then, with an added feature: the transmission tends to puke its fluids all over the headers and fumigate the cabin with ATF. With a new transmission on the way, we hope Zach still has enough brain function left to install it after living with a BMW fog machine straight out of a Cheech and Chong movie.
Over the next few months, all the participants will be required to drive their beaters every day and take part in several challenges, starting with the Hangover Nationals at Dragway 42 on the 1st of January, 2019. Until then, they will have to rely on their cars to stay in working order, otherwise, they risk losing points before the games even actually begin. Check out their first installment here, and look forward to more craziness as winter sets in and these cars face some snow-capped obstacles. Hopefully, no one ends up with hypothermia.