Winter is rapidly approaching. And where we live that means, as it does in many other parts of the country, freezing cold weather, filthy slush pools, snowy drifts, and layers of cumbersome and unattractive outerwear. But there is a relatively affordable way to counteract all aspects of this cruelest season: Buy yourself a vintage four-wheel-drive vehicle. Not only will it protect you from the elements, keep you warm, and get you through the worst of the weather (particularly if you shod it with snow tires and take a winter driving class), it will also make you look incredibly stylish and knowledgeable.
Click through the slideshow to see our dozen top picks. Decent examples of every one of them can be had for under $15,000 – less than the cost of the cheapest new car.
1986-1991 VW Vanagon Syncro
Some vehicles develop a cult around them because they are impossibly sexy and rare (think Lamborghini Miura). Others because they are orphaned and hideous (think AMC Pacer). The VW Bus is none of those things. Yet the all wheel-drive version of the world's original minivan, available here in the States in regular or pop-top camper form, has swirling around it a dervish of dedicated fans. So vehement is their love for this vehicle that they get together in the desert every May 5 for an outrageous, off-roading, outdoor convention known as Syncro de Mayo. The festival name is enough to make us want one.