For the last 35 years or so, most major car companies have been moving away from offering cars with rear-wheel drive. And though the speedsters that usually dot the covers of major car magazines typically feature cars with rear or all-wheel drive, the overwhelming majority of vehicles on the road are front-driven affordable cars that think handling-first and burnouts-second.
Terrence Ross, like most of us, probably grew up working his way through front-wheel drive cars; and it’s likely that the Toronto Raptors rookie never had to deal with the sort of snow drifts he consistently sees in Toronto while growing up in Portland. Upon moving to Toronto, though, Ross decided to cash in on a whopper of a muscle car, a Dodge Challenger. A wonderful Mopar beast to appreciate in a straight line, but not much to bank on in terms of handling and those sometimes salted Ontario streets.
From an interview with Sportsnet’s Holly MacKenzie, via The Basketball Jones, Ross details one scary encounter with 470 horsepower hunk of metal, and a large chunk of snow on a Canadian highway. From Holly’s feature:
Sportsnet.ca: How have you been dealing with driving in the snow in Toronto?
Ross: The first car I had up here was a Challenger. I was trying to get home quick. They were like, ‘Just get on the highway. The highway is clear, you can drive as much as you want, you’ll be fine.’ It’s just getting out of the parking lot. My car hit like a massive snow clump. It was like nine or 10 cars behind me all honking their horns. Quincy had to come and put basically like a blanket under my tires so I could get traction.
It was at the airport. Everybody trying to get home and I’m holding up the line. It was crazy. On the way home, Kyle, we’re on a overpass going over a bridge and it kind of leans a little bit and Kyle was trying to drive like there wasn’t any snow and you hit a wet spot and you start sliding down so his car got stuck. We’re all on the highway trying to push him. This is late at night. Early in the morning, two o’clock in the morning. Everybody here is just like this is normal. Man, me and Kyle had to basically push our cars into the garage there was so much snow. I’m not used to that at all.
The images of rookies Quincy Acy and Terrence Ross stuffing a blanket under Ross’ giant rear tires in order to help his massive Challenger get out from a hunk of snow … I’ve seen a lot of Raptor games this year, but this mental highlight tops most of the actual Toronto highlights.
In calling the Challenger his “first car,” it’s probable that Terrence has either traded in his muscle car for something more Toronto-appropriate, or found a way to ship it back to Portland where he grew up, or Washington where he went to college for a year. And before you rip on what a waste of money more than one car would be for an NBA rookie, understand that the Dodge Challenger is about as reasonably-priced as high-performance cars come.
It’s just not as great at handling the snowier spots, especially for 22-year old drivers ill at ease with the unfamiliar conditions, driving (after his first paycheck) a just-as-unfamiliar rear-drive, high-horsepower cars. Ross' misstep behind the wheel is totally understandable, and we're just happy the 2013 Slam Dunk Champion made it out without a scrape.
Credit Acy and Ross’ inventiveness with the blanket, though, and those oh-so-polite Canadians for sloughing Ross’ highway troubles off as “normal.”
And if the good folks at Dodge want to send me a Challenger in order to give the rookie guard a tutorial on how to run a Scandinavian Flick through a snow bank … actually, that’s probably not a good idea.