Settle into the driver’s seat of a modern Lexus and the term “antiseptic” might come to mind. Modern cars are isolated, they hardly feel metal anymore, which is why we appreciate the communicative, mechanical nature of a classic muscle car.
But old technology can be a bit of a double-edged sword. The visceral driving experience you get from a classic Mustang or Camaro demands you to make sacrifices, and often times one of those is air conditioning. If you live in a warm climate, that’s a serious sacrifice.
A Change for the Better
As with most muscle car situations, to fix this problem you’ve got to take matters into your own hands. Chances are your car didn’t come with A/C, if it did, chances are it doesn’t work anymore, or works poorly.
Aftermarket vendors like Vintage Air specialize in equipping older cars with cold air conditioning. There are kits available to add A/C to just about any popular classic muscle car out there. If you’ve got something really obscure, you may need to do a small amount of custom work, but the basic components remain the same.
What’s in a Kit?
Speaking of basic components, every modern R134 air condition system uses pretty much the same parts. At the heart of the system are four components. The evaporator, compressor, condenser, and expansion valve.
When you turn on your A/C, hot air inside the car is pulled past evaporator coils, which contain refrigerant. This cools the air, which can then be blown into the cabin. The fluid from the coils then passes through a compressor and expels heat from the in-cabin air to the environment through the condenser. Last, it travels through an expansion valve and becomes gas again, ready to cool the coils and in-cabin air.
The entire system is driven using a pulley that connects to your motor. Your existing cabin fans provide vents through which the cool air is introduced, and a new or existing thermostat in your dash controls the whole operation.
Add Convenience and Value
You wouldn’t dream of buying a modern car without A/C, and adding to your classic is a great upgrade. Not only will it provide you with many hours of reliable cooling, which you’ll appreciate on a hot day, but it will significantly increase the salability of your classic car.