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I think my brother and I have too much love for the GVR4

An adventure to save a cheap beat up 200k mile GVR4.

Okay, with people struggling lately a lot of cars have been popping up for sale all over the place at amazing deals. Colorado has a lot of GVR4 owners. A couple of months ago my brother bought a 92 GVR4, we picked up another 91 last weekend for $1500 that has a beautiful body and tonight we got yet another 92 for $750! My brother has a collection of every color GVR4 made except for white, but he's working on that one. Earlier today right after we found the ad we loaded up the Van (86 Ford F350 1ton- it's soooo badass for long trips and the best towing vehicle I have ever owned) and attached the trailer and off we went to Silverthorne, CO. We had no clue of the adventure soon to come.

It is a long trip requiring us to go up I70 and through the Eisenhower Tunnel. If any of you have watched the History channel or have driven through there, you know how the weather is up through that area. It can get pretty insane. The last time I drove I70 the worst hail storm I had ever seen went through and the hail on the ground was so deep it almost completely buried cars! It had to have been the scariest thing I had ever seen! Lucky for me, I stopped in a small tunnel at that time which saved my car.

So we have our rear wheel drive open diff Ford 350 Econoline van with a trailer going up the pass to Silverthorne. When we got to the top we almost didn't make it. It started to snow pretty badly and the road got pretty icy real fast. We thought that before we leave Silverthorne that we better get some chains for the tires as it looked like it was going to be a nasty trip back.

We look at the GVR4 and I bought it. Shoot, I was going to buy it anyway, no use in looking at it for $750 and going all that way. We find that the issue it had was the trans had a broken 3-4 shift fork, so leaving it in N allowed us to drive it in 3rd gear up the trailer. Strapped it down and it was all cake so far. The owner was shocked that the car he thought was stuck could be driven onto a trailer.

It was starting to get very windy and snowing pretty bad in Silverthorne, so we started looking for chains. We went all over the place and nobody had snow chains!! What the hell? A town that is in the mountains and under snow 90% of the year didn't have freaking snow chains! By luck we find a Wal-Mart 5 minutes before they closed and got some tire cables. They work like chains but are cables instead...

We start heading back up the pass on I70 and had issues with the cables requiring us to stop several times until they finally stayed in place on the tires. We then hit the 7% grade to the tunnel. About 1/4 of the way there we get hit with what looked like a nasty blizzard. Trucks were pulled off the side of the road all over the place and we seemed to be the only ones stupid enough to try to attempt to make it up the pass. The wind was unbelievable and the ice and snow was just insane! While going up the pass, we slowed down due to tire spin (even with the cables) to about 2 MPH just barely able to keep the van moving enough to not get stuck, and the trailer was trying to pull us off the side of the mountain. The only way I could move and keep the vehicle on the road was to go up sideways. IOW, the van was in the far left lane and the trailer was in the far right. The trailer was sliding and pulling us so hard to the side that it looked like we were doing a serious drift at around 2-5 MPH up the pass. My brother who was with me was freaking out! I had never seen him in such a panic. He thought we were going to die out there. He was stressing out so bad I thought he was going to have a heart attack! I knew that even though we were going slow I was able to keep the van moving and control it on the road very well, so we were okay as long as the cables didn't break. About 3/4 of the way up we hit more terrible winds that blew the snow so violently that we could not see anything. We couldn't see behind us, the road in front, nothing and it was pretty freaky! The strong winds were literally blowing the van off the road too. There were no other vehicles on the road, so I just made a good guess as to where the road was and it worked pretty good. A couple of miles later (guessing where the road was the whole time while going up sideways) it clears up and we see the lights for the tunnel. Man, that was such a relief, but the worst of the grade was just before the tunnel and it was nothing but ice, so we did a long 2 MPH run up that section thinking we were going to get stuck, but the cables held!

We finally start going through the tunnel and got a break from the snow. The cables on the passenger side rear started to fall apart but held enough to still work. We hit the wind, snow and ice again on the descent after the tunnel going about 5-10 MPH with no issues, but the ice made things a little scary a few times even at those slow speeds. The cables were trashed after we got through the ice, but they definitely paid for themselves as we would have been stuck without them. $40 was a lot less than spending a night or two in a small town.

The van was awesome with no issues as usual; the car made it on the trailer perfectly and we made it back alive! There must be something wrong with us as for two brothers to risk their lives to save a $750 car just seems insane, but we believe it was well worth it!

Here are a couple of pics after we got back to the shop:

link

link

Jack
 

toybreaker

iconoclast
Joined
Apr 30, 2006
Messages
3,581
There's this thing called teh weather channel...

/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/poke.gif You could have taken the Nissan, and missed the weather altogether...
 
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NYC86ZC

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 5, 2005
Messages
1,002
Location
Long Island, NY
That's an awesome write-up.

I've had situations like that when tow dollying cars home in our now deceased 94 astro van EXT 4.3L with a jabillion miles on it. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/bawling.gif

Good luck with the car.
 

ktmrider

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 10, 2007
Messages
3,128
Location
Tempe, AZ
Quoting toybreaker:
There's this thing called the weather channel...

LOL Jon, like you probably already know the weather at/near the tunnel can change so fast....
My wife used to hit a teacher's retreat every year in Vail around mid October. Sunny skies and 70 degrees in both CS and Denver. Got on the other side of the tunnel and BAM 6" of snow on the ground. Made it down the slope where it was back to 60 degrees and sunny! Crazy weird climate in and around the Front Range.
Great collection going there Jack, you gonna be around Turkey Day weekend? Heading to the Springs ( and maybe Denver ) for the holiday and would love to stop by the shop and show off my Summit White GVR4 plus scope your rides.
 
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G

Staff member
Joined
Feb 24, 2004
Messages
8,896
Location
zompton
I've driven through that Eisenhower tunnel a few times, it rocks! If only i was in the vr4 & wasn't so much traffic. Must be a blast @ 2 or 3 in the a.m. when their is no traffic.
 

Well, my brother gets pretty good info on the weather on his iphone, and it did a good job in Silverthorne, but up the pass it didn't say anything. We knew it was going to be slick up there but had no idea it was that bad or we would have tried to go home a different way.

Not sure what we are doing on Turkey Day. Usually my brother and I will drive out somewhere to get away from it all here and do something different to forget about the shop for a day...

Jack
 
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