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First Air Conditioning in any auto ?

Guest Silverghost

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Guest Silverghost

When was the first Air Conditioning installed in any auto?

In the 1950s at a PA area car show Dad & I saw a late 1920s Pierce~Arrow Town-car that had a compressed/condensed gas Air Conditioning system !

This system was original to the late 1920s period ~~~

It was not a factory installed system; but a system that the very wealthy original owner had installed !

It did not use Dupont Freon but instead used another early refrigerant gas~~~ Possibly Ammonia or Sulphur Dioxide ?

I believe this Pierce~Arrow still sits in a carriage house in Bryn Athen PA five min. from my home. I believe it was once owned by Harold Pitcairn & Family owners of Pittsburg Plate Glass & Pittsburg Paint Co. It has not seen the outside of that carriage house since the early 1960s !

Are there any other known autos extant today with such a very early original Air Conditioning system installed in that time period? (Non-Factory)

The Packard Co I believe installed the very first factory Air Conditioning in a car in 1939 or 1940 ?

The cars were shipped by the Packard Corp factory to an outside contractor for AC systems installation I believe ?

Can anyone confirm this ?

Has anyone here seen or heard of a similar early AC system installed in an auto in the late 1920s or 1930s ?

Do any exist today ?

Are there any early photos or advertising of such early auto AC systems ?

Edited by Silverghost (see edit history)
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I can partly answer your Packard portion of your question. Packard offered the first factory-installed a/c in the fall of 1939 on the 1940 models. I believe you are correct in that the cars were sent half-assembled to the Bishop & Blalock factory in Cleveland for the a/c installation. I think part of the a/c system was installed at the Packard plant, such as the condenser (since it was part of the front clip) and compressor. On the inside of my un-restored front clip, this writing is scribed in some sort of marker: "Sup 8 Air"

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One memory of my visit to Harrahs collection in Reno in 1978 (coincidentally I think it was only a week or so after William Harrah's death) was a large black 1941 (?) Packard with side mounted spares and air conditioning which I thought was an appropriate symbol of the last of the old and the first of the new. The 'air-conditioned' badge was actually on the side-mount cover. I presume someone still has the car.

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Guest De Soto Frank

1940-'41 were the first years for "factory" air-conditioning, available from Packard, Chrysler, and Cadillac.

I'm curious about that all-electric refrigeration unit installed in the mid-20's Packard - article says it ran off the car's generator ? That's a mighty beefy motor driving the compressor... wonder if there was a second generator to provide different power for the A/C ?

Pretty cool stuff ! :D

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1940-'41 were the first years for "factory" air-conditioning, available from Packard, Chrysler, and Cadillac. :D

Not so. Packard only for 1940. Cadillac offered it in 1941, then I believed discontinued for 1942. Chrysler was also a one-year only deal, but I don't remember if it was 1941 or '42. I do not believe that there are ANY Chryslers existing with factory air.

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