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Early factory air-conditioning article

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Benefits of AACA Membership.

Very interesting article. Thanks for posting it.... :)

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My 1957 Lincoln Premiere had a very similar factory trunk mounted A/C system with the plexglas ducts and roof mounted vents. It was complete but non-operative, I always wondered how effective it would have been. 

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Yes GM used a long A6 compressor, Ford used 2 cyl Yorks that looked more like an air compressor.

Let's not mention the disastrous GM DA6.

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My dad talked about a 41 packard limousine with factory air in thetrunk

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when I was working in southern Illinois for Cars & Parts magazine in the early 1970s ( it was still located in Sesser, Illinois then) a friend in St Louis had a 1952 Packard sedan that had the air conditioning unit just like the one shown here with the 1957 Lincoln. It had similar or the same type plastic tubes coming up out of the rear package shelf from the A/C uni9t that was in the trunk area underneath.

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For the 1954 model year starting in 1953,  Pontiac and Harrison radiator division of G.M. pioneered the first all inclusive A/C system where all the components were located in the engine compartment and under the dash. Older G.M. units going back to 1940 had the evaporator located in the trunk. 

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The early AC units in the trunk with the plastic tubes going into roof vents could not have been very efficient when there was any sort of real sun load on the car.

Very neat to see the earliest attempts at AC, though.

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I remember movies advertising "15 degrees cooler inside" so in the 50s any AC was novel.

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West Peterson's air conditioned 1940 Packard restoration blog is a very interesting read.

 

http://packardinfo.com/xoops/html/modules/newbb/viewtopic.php?topic_id=4307&forum=10

 

The 1955 Studebaker President was available with A/C,  at least one has shown up at SDC International meet over the years.

 

Cadillac advertised an available A/C unit in 1941.

 

Its a little disappointing the article ignores the independents early air conditioning availability. Not too surprising, though.

 

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In 1978 I bought an add-on AC from a company in Dallas for my SBC Sunbird that was NA from the factory with AC (C60 N/A). Included a Sanden Compressor,  evaporator, hoses, and an under dash all-in -one. Worked very well. Only diffulgeldy was where it said "drill two holes in the firewall" for the coolant lines.  Holes were located behind the head which was an inch from the firewall. Finally used a hole punch.

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The Ford car line had optional air-conditioning starting in 1955. It was an under the hood setup. Dealers also offered a dealer installed option called PolarAir. I read somewhere that this version actually worked better than the factory version. I have even seen one of these PolarAir units installed in a 1956 T-Bird (the early T-Birds did not offer air conditioning as an option). Thank goodness the new units work so much better!

Lew Bachman

1957 T-Bird (no AC but still fun to drive)

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In '60s  Florida the Mark IV AC was a common add-on.

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1 hour ago, padgett said:

In '60s  Florida the Mark IV AC was a common add-on.

Back in the 60s my Dad installed a Mark IV underdash unit in his 1960 Ford, We lived in Illinois and had only recently added a large window A/c unit in our living room, so having it in the car was pretty amazing. I recall it worked pretty good on long summer trips but made the car overheat in stop and go traffic, he had no HD cooling items like big radiator, clutch fan or fan shroud. I also remember it froze up and stopped working fairly often.

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This photo shows an early 50s Oldsmobile factory air underhood setup, I'm thinking 53-54 but not sure. It shows the gigantic A-5 Frigidaire compressor and a real bag of snakes piping layout due to the evaporator being on the driver's side. Also, look at the size of that radiator and condenser.

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That's why even when going to school in Michigan I always looked for AC cars. They had heavy duty everything. Vega even got a real radiator.

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23 hours ago, padgett said:

In 1978 I bought an add-on AC from a company in Dallas for my SBC Sunbird that was NA from the factory with AC (C60 N/A). Included a Sanden Compressor,  evaporator, hoses, and an under dash all-in -one. Worked very well. Only diffulgeldy was where it said "drill two holes in the firewall" for the coolant lines.  Holes were located behind the head which was an inch from the firewall. Finally used a hole punch.

Frigiking air conditioning?

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I don't think so, would need to dig in my archives, probably have the receipt in the filing cabinet I think I saw recently...

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, TexRiv_63 said:

This photo shows an early 50s Oldsmobile factory air underhood setup, I'm thinking 53-54 but not sure. It shows the gigantic A-5 Frigidaire compressor and a real bag of snakes piping layout due to the evaporator being on the driver's side. Also, look at the size of that radiator and condenser.

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I'm pretty sure 99%, the car above is a 58. Engine bay is similar to 57's but 58's have that style air cleaner 

Edited by Pfeil (see edit history)
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15 minutes ago, Pfeil said:

Frigiking air conditioning?

Only reason I say Frigiking was because they were out of Texas, also they were the factory approved A/C for Datsun/Nissan before Nissan started building their own factory air which started on the 1974 Datsun 260Z.

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1 hour ago, TexRiv_63 said:

This photo shows an early 50s Oldsmobile factory air underhood setup, I'm thinking 53-54 but not sure. It shows the gigantic A-5 Frigidaire compressor and a real bag of snakes piping layout due to the evaporator being on the driver's side. Also, look at the size of that radiator and condenser.

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Oldsmobile didn't switch to up front in dash a/c until 1955, your picture shows what appears to be a 1957 olds with a/c.

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5 minutes ago, pontiac1953 said:

Oldsmobile didn't switch to up front in dash a/c until 1955, your picture shows what appears to be a 1957 olds with a/c.

Charles, The air cleaner for a 57 is different than the 58 above

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2 minutes ago, pontiac1953 said:

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this is my 1953 Pontiac Chieftain Custom Catalina that i'm restoring and modifying, these pictures show my 53 dash with the 54 Pontiac factory a/c outlets and the controls above the heater/defroster controls, and shows the 1955 Pontiac 287 V8 with it's factory A5 compressor, and shows the 1955 Buick Roadmaster factory trunk a/c unit that has a under dash controls and will also be run with the same A5 compressor. so i will be able to run either the front or rear a/c system, or run both at the same time.

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7 minutes ago, Pfeil said:

Charles, The air cleaner for a 57 is different than the 58 above

well i think you're correct, because both of my 57 olds 88 and 98 that i used to own were J-2 powered.

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