Snow | My Black Brick

My Black Brick

Keeping a '92 Volvo 240 Wagon on the Road & Other Automotive & DIY Musings

April Foolish


It looks like the April Fool is thinking that it’s April when we’re actually still stuck in February.

I didn’t understand this tweet when I woke up this morning:

But then I walked outside and saw people scraping snow off their cars. Huh? My brick had a glaze of ice across the windshield from a brief snow shower last night. And to think, I was walking around in a t-shirt on Sunday.

Speaking of t-shirts, I posted a t-shirt design the other day that wound up being pulled by Zazzle. It seems that using the word “Volvo” in the title of the product triggered their intellectual property alarm and they removed the shirt from their site. I apologize for any confusion. I’ve posted the shirt again under the name “Turtle Engine” and Zazzle has approved it for sale. You can purchase from the link below and it’s available on many different shirt styles and colors for men, women and kids.

Turtle Engine Tee Shirt
Turtle Engine Tee Shirt by strippednuts
Create a unique custom t-shirt design online at Zazzle.

Frosty & Frozen

We had a little bit of snow last week in Jersey City. Luckily it wasn’t nearly as bad as 2010 or 2011. I guess we’ll see what January brings.


Cold Brick

Made in Sweden” is a flickr set by Penzance.


Drifty Brick

With my lower ground clearance I’m finding that little patches of snow between ruts on the road are scraping the underside of my brick. Parallel parking is a particular challenge, as I just jam it into reverse and plow over snow drifts until I can’t move anymore. The snow I drove into last night had been deep enough to slightly elevate the chassis and gave the rear wheels even worse traction than usual. I had to rock back and forth about 5 minutes before breaking free.

Driving around town is fun tho. Not as exhilarating as the rubber-burning brick seen above, but as much fun as you can have w/ RWD, no traction control, tight streets and vast sheets of ice.


Next Year: Snow tires

The Brick’s anti-lock brakes have engaged twice as much this winter season than in the 6 years I’ve owned it, combined. The past few years have had low snow fall and good plowing. This year, not so much. I used to be able to just let the car hibernate in the winter, but now that my kids go to school further away and we have to drive to gymnastics every weekend it’s become more of a bother. I just fishtailed around Hoboken and there’s barely any accumulation.

I hate the feeling when the ABS engages. It feels like someone threw a bunch of rusty ball bearings into my rotors, and swapped the pads with sandpaper. I thought they might be screwed up but a mechanic tested them and me they were fine, that’s just the way they feel.


Snow Block Brick

This is how I found my car on Wednesday morning. It had snowed overnight and the wind up the street had formed an almost perfect rectangular cube on the roof, about 4-5″ thick. More, larger images, after the jump…



Watch out for that Moose

Amazing shot of a moose diving for cover from a loose XC.

Via Jalopnik


Fast & Furious: Swedish Drift

It took a moment of contemplation before diving into this little snow drift.

One week after a major snowstorm and 15-20% of the street parking in Hoboken remains under sooty iceburgs. Plowing was haphazard and there’s huge drifts next to driveways and pedestrian crossings. It makes it next to impossible to see around intersections at stop signs.

I witnessed a hit and run on Thursday. The driver of a big, red dump truck was so pissed at the slow traffic flow along Washington St. that he backed his truck into a passenger van parked in front of the local Elks lodge. The rear of the van was sticking out a bit into the lane and a Miller Lite truck was double parked across the street. This caused a pinch-point that slowed down traffic for 4-5 blocks. The guy in the dump truck kept blaring his horn, to no avail. When he finally squeezed through he stopped, hit reverse, and slowly backed into the senior-center van that was partially blocking the lane. He pushed it enough to move it, and luckily there was no one inside. He then took off, only to get stuck in the next traffic tie up. Cops drove to the scene about 10 minutes later, but I was already on a slow moving bus to downtown.

Below is a spot I managed to parallel park into in front of my place. I’d just driven 2.5 hours and was determined to fit, so I just plowed back and hoped not to clog the tail pipe with an icicle.


Snowed In and Dug Out


The Great Thunder Snow Storm of Dec 2010 has covered our street with at least a foot of snow. As of Monday night our street hasn’t been plowed, 18 hours after the snow stopped. This has resulted in a 1/2 dozen idiots in CUVs thinking they can use our block as a cross-street, only to find their compact-car-based, tall,  AWD with fat street tires ain’t gonna make it through the mush. A guy in a BMW X3 caused a minor traffic jam when he got stuck with 3 cars behind him. 15 minutes of spinning and pushing and he finally started moving. 10 yards later and he was stuck again, requiring another 15 minutes of spinning and pushing. The cars behind couldn’t go backward so they sat there. A food delivery guy in an old Nissan gave up on his delivery and was chowing down on some lo mein. Once the beemer got out the Nissan was able to skate across the snow, benefiting from low weight and skinny tires.

I don’t need to drive anywhere til Wednesday but figured I’d shovel out so things don’t freeze. Above my daughters stand on a snow-drift next to my car. I had shoveled a bit the night before but there was plenty more overnight. Below is a couple hours later, with salt under the tires, a snow-berm to protect against fishtailers, and a tunnel near the front of the car so the kids can crawl through to the sidewalk.



In the Eye of the Storm

After the last snow storm my black brick was speckled with so much salt it had turned white. I’m hoping this snow bank will protect from all the splatter on this high-traffic road. A fresh coat of wax makes the snow just slip off.