When building a truck like our Project F-1, it's nice to have creature comfort without losing the hot rod flavor we all like. Air conditioning for vintage vehicles is often difficult to install and make operational while keeping the installation as clean as possible. These units can easily look like an afterthought. However, this is not the case any longer, thanks to companies like Classic Auto Air in Tampa, Florida.
While discussing our project with owner Al Sedita we mentioned that we liked his standard under-dash unit for Classic F-1 Fords, but we really wanted a more custom approach. He suggested using a Street Rod Series components and mixing and matching components to come up with exactly what we wanted.
With over 20 years of experience in the vintage automobile A/C business, he had all the right pieces necessary to complement our Project F-1. As part of the company's Hi-Performance Perfect Fit Series, Classic Auto Air offers a system that's ideal for a stock truck or a mild custom with the original dash. Although ours had been modified, we found a combination of equipment that fit our needs perfectly.
We selected an evaporator/heater/blower unit called the Power Pack that would easily fit under the original dash of the F-1 and combined it with Classic Auto Air's new rotary billet electronic control panel and a couple of custom round vents that we recessed into the dash panel. Even though the Power Pack is small enough to fit under our dash, it contains separate heating and cooling coils unlike many of the competitors. This makes for a more effective operation down the road.
Classic Auto Air also provided the proper mount for our Smeding Performance Ford small-block with an attractive fully polished Sanden Compressor. The Sanden Compressor is a state-of-the-art high-efficiency unit that draws an insignificant amount of power; it allows us to take full advantage of that stroked 347ci engine.
With all the parts in hand, the crew at Altered Engineering in Orange, California, proceeded to install the system and make for a very comfortable cab environment. The quality of the parts and the completeness of the instructions made for a problem-free installation.
Our first step was to locate...
Our first step was to locate a place on the firewall for the inline bulkhead fitting that we chose. Most bulkhead fittings that you see for street rods and trucks have the four fittings in a square pattern, and Classic Auto Air also offers those, But for this application, Don felt the inline would look better.
It was agreed that the system...
It was agreed that the system hoses would look best following the shape of the inner fender. After marking the holes, Peter drilled through the firewall. Two of the holes are for A/C lines and the other two are for heater hoses. It's important to check both sides of the firewall for obstructions and hose routing before drilling any holes.