Supercars in the snow. It’s not all child’s play

By Simon Kidston
Jan 18 2017, 1:39 pm
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Supercars in the snow. It’s not all child’s play

The notion of taking a massively powerful, possibly unwieldy and almost certainly extremely expensive piece of automobile art out onto the snow is utterly ludicrous at face value. So what is it about seeing a supercar driven in the snow that always seems to raise a smile?

There’s something perversely satisfying about seeing a low-slung ‘bolide’ sliding its way to the Cresta or the Dracula Club…

While those of a disdainful nature might tut-tut at a supercar or exotic being used injudiciously to show off around Knightsbridge, doing similar things half way up an Alp or elsewhere on the white stuff somehow marks a chap out as made of ‘the right stuff’.

It’s partly the carefree insouciance of the act that appeals, perhaps encouraged by a sense learned from childhood that careering into a snow bank is a bit like leaping into a safety blanket… but then kids sometimes forget about the buried rocks and fence posts too.

The classically insouciant approach is typified by Roger Moore as 007, when he drove Q Branch’s Lotus Esprit S3 Turbo – complete with ski racks – to the Italian resort of Cortina in the movie For Your Eyes Only. These publicity shots tell you everything you need to know about the sort of man who’s unfazed by the challenges of mastering a high performance supercar when the going gets tough, at least if you can see past the early 1980s tailoring…

A little more authentic, but again with a big screen connection, is the fabulous image of director Roberto Rossellini with the Ferrari 375 ‘Bergmann’ outside an albergo on the snow covered Great Saint Bernard pass around the mid-1950s.

He’s looking very suave with a 400bhp monster you’d be respected for mastering on the lowlands. It’s an excessively overpowered vehicle designed for ultimate performance on billiard smooth surfaces, and you can’t avoid a certain admiration for its owner when you see a machine like that in an environment where a person can barely stand up.

In a world where many collectors have morphed into investors rather than drivers, there’s something perversely satisfying about seeing a low-slung ‘bolide’ sliding its way to the Cresta or the Dracula Club with the nonchalant panache that only an Old School, Jet-Set playboy can pull off. You just know he’s unlikely to be bragging about low mileage or books and tools when clinking glasses and puffing cigars with friends past midnight!

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  • Richard Sutton 5th February 2017 Reply

    It’s a brilliant leveller, isn’t it? Really sorts the men out from the boys. But always somehow reminiscent of another age. Years ago I had occasion to deliver a 1967 Shelby Mustang GT350 to Switzerland and took the high roads and the long way round to do it – all the sensations made for epic scrap-book stuff. When you drive a powerful classic sports car on a snow-clad Alpine pass life suddenly becomes a movie, even before the inevitable incident. Sixties Mustangs driven be errant Countesses with ski racks on the back (or even big-block Mercury Cougar convertibles…) was foundational stuff for school boy aspirants of a certain generation. So wow was the vision, I’m amazed every young blade out there doesn’t have one.