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  • 1940 Air Conditioning?

    Was this a misprint or did they mean a Climatizer?

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/1940-Studeba...wAAOSwIaFZGzGA
    64 GT Hawk (K7)
    1970 Avanti (R3)

  • #2
    Many years ago, I was befriended by a well connected antique car broker (RIP). Occasionally, I would stop by his shop to see what valuable and rare Pebble Beach quality vehicles were passing through. Sometimes, when time permitted, he would give me a ride in one. You never knew what to expect. There were Packards, Pierce-Arrows, supercharged Graham, RR, and even an occasional Bugatti. I recall two particular cars that I may be conflating, the "Air-Conditioner" feature, in my memory? One was a DeSoto Business Coupe, and the other was a Pontiac Sports Coupe. Both cars were either late '30's or early '40's. On one of them, the air vent controls were identified as "Air Conditioner." Of course, there was no heat exchanger involved like our modern air-conditioning systems. However, it could have incorporated an actual electrical fan to supply air, through the duct-work, in addition to the flow-through vent opening as common with most vehicles of the day. I'm thinking it was the Pontiac.
    John Clary
    Greer, SC

    SDC member since 1975

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    • #3
      The first factory air conditioning (a device which actually chilled air via a compressor) was Packard 1939. Cadillac, Buick and Oldsmobile followed in 1953.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by jclary View Post
        Both cars were either late '30's or early '40's. On one of them, the air vent controls were identified as "Air Conditioner." Of course, there was no heat exchanger involved like our modern air-conditioning systems. However, it could have incorporated an actual electrical fan to supply air, through the duct-work, in addition to the flow-through vent opening as common with most vehicles of the day.
        As I recall, the FTC defined the term 'Air Conditioning' to mean refrigerated air, not just 'air movement' in the mid-fifties. Since that time, car manufacturers could only use the word 'air conditioned' if it had cooling capabilities via a compressor and evaporator setup.

        The British also used the term 'air conditioning' to mean heated and recirculated air in vehicles, and used it until sometime in the 1960's.

        Craig

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        • #5
          Originally posted by jnormanh View Post
          The first factory air conditioning (a device which actually chilled air via a compressor) was Packard 1939. Cadillac, Buick and Oldsmobile followed in 1953.
          There was a beautiful all original '39 Packard Twelve with the factory AC in the South Pasadena area a few years ago. Massive thing. (AC and the Twelve.) But it was much more widely available in Packards in '40. Seems to have taken a LOA in postwar Packards until model year '54. '54 also year for introduction on Lincolns. System in the '56 Packard Patrician my wife and I once owned worked fairly well. Sometimes would produce "snow flurries," showers of tiny ice crystals from the dash top outlets!

          For many years a local friend has owned a nice '53 Chrysler Imperial. Another rather massive factory AC unit. There is no clutch on the compressor. The belt is removed for the cool season.

          Interesting those liberties taken with the term before the war. But the concept wasn't widely known. Our house had a central AC system installed in 1940, one of the first residential Carrier units in this hot region. (Excessive Heat Warning posted for today, as a matter of fact.)

          Trying to recall.... Studebaker first offered AC around '55? Dealer-installed? I'm more confident of the '56 availability.
          Last edited by riversidevw; 07-07-2017, 11:18 AM.
          Gil Zimmerman
          Riverside, CA

          1955 Speedster
          1956 Golden Hawk
          1958 Packard Hawk
          1958 President
          1963 Avanti R2

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          • #6
            Just found a reference to Air Temp, an air conditioning division of Chrysler for many years. Gives a little more history of auto applications, a fair amount I didn't know before.

            And John's reference to that DeSoto? There are known examples of '42 DeSotos with factory Air Temp AC!

            https://www.allpar.com/corporate/airtemp.php

            Gil
            Last edited by riversidevw; 07-07-2017, 11:07 AM.
            Gil Zimmerman
            Riverside, CA

            1955 Speedster
            1956 Golden Hawk
            1958 Packard Hawk
            1958 President
            1963 Avanti R2

            Comment


            • #7
              Nash called their deluxe heater "Conditioned Air" probably to get around the law and to dupe folks into believing they had air conditioning. They finally put real air conditioning in the Rambler in 54 or 55.
              RadioRoy, specializing in AM/FM conversions with auxiliary inputs for iPod/satellite/CD player. In the old car radio business since 1985.

              17A-S2 - 50 Commander convertible
              10G-C1 - 51 Champion starlight coupe
              10G-Q4 - 51 Champion business coupe
              4H-K5 - 53 Commander starliner hardtop
              5H-D5 - 54 Commander Conestoga wagon
              56B-D4 - 56 Commander station wagon
              60V-L6 - 60 Lark convertible

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              • #8
                Found an abandoned '49-52?? ('50 I think) Imperial in South Dakota a number of years ago. It was huge and needed to be with all the apparatus in the trunk.
                Bill

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by riversidevw View Post
                  Trying to recall.... Studebaker first offered AC around '55? Dealer-installed? I'm more confident of the '56 availability.
                  Mid-1955 is correct.

                  http://forum.studebakerdriversclub.c...ir-Conditioner

                  http://forum.studebakerdriversclub.c...r-conditioning

                  http://forum.studebakerdriversclub.c...r-conditioning

                  Craig

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                  • #10
                    A friend of mine had a 1940 Packard with factory air conditioning. When I first saw the car I didn't realize air conditioning began that long ago.
                    Joe Roberts
                    '61 R1 Champ
                    '65 Cruiser
                    Eastern North Carolina Chapter

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                    • #11
                      Thanks for the helpful links. Just saw in one of them that the suggested 1955 uninstalled price for a dealer-supplied AC unit for a '53, '54 or '55 sedan was $547. Sizable hunk of change back then. Equivalent to $4,995 in today's dollars.

                      Gil Zimmerman
                      Riverside, CA

                      1955 Speedster
                      1956 Golden Hawk
                      1958 Packard Hawk
                      1958 President
                      1963 Avanti R2

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        As a aside Packard offered an option in 1941 called the "Cellarette" it was a gizmo that worked with the factory mechanical air conditioner. Was like a back seat wooden bar which also made ice cubes as you drove. Served six!
                        sigpic1957 Packard Clipper Country Sedan

                        "There's nothing stronger than the heart of a volunteer"
                        Lt. Col. Jimmy Doolittle
                        "I have a great memory for forgetting things" Number 1 son, Lee Chan

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                        • #13
                          Wikipedia says this

                          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Automo...r_conditioning
                          RadioRoy, specializing in AM/FM conversions with auxiliary inputs for iPod/satellite/CD player. In the old car radio business since 1985.

                          17A-S2 - 50 Commander convertible
                          10G-C1 - 51 Champion starlight coupe
                          10G-Q4 - 51 Champion business coupe
                          4H-K5 - 53 Commander starliner hardtop
                          5H-D5 - 54 Commander Conestoga wagon
                          56B-D4 - 56 Commander station wagon
                          60V-L6 - 60 Lark convertible

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Roy: Was just getting ready to post that the first units were aftermarket. Not that I am old enough to remember. But I did work with mechanics who WERE old enough to remember.

                            Seems I remember one guy talking about the first units having the compressor driven by something on the rear axle. Obviously it would only work with the car moving. Early on, the compressor would drag the engine down so much, it would normally kill the engine. So, unit was installed to be driven off the rear axle. That may be a total line of BS, but that is what I remember hearing almost 50 years ago. Of course, Yogi Berra said: "I can't believe all the memories I forgot".

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                            • #15
                              We once had a new '75 Volvo 245 station wagon in which the anemic engine could either operate the AC compressor or gradually propel the car merging onto a freeway on-ramp. Just not at the same time!

                              I'm leaning toward the rear axle driving the compressor being a total line of that other stuff. The horsepower draw would be the same...

                              Beginning with aftermarket? Guess it depends on what you mean by aftermarket. Roy's link describes how Packard contracted with an outside supplier for those first units in '39. But they were factory installed and serviced as Packard components. Other early examples of factory AC were companies with their own refrigeration experience: Chrysler (Airtemp), GM (Frigidaire), Nash (Kelvinator).

                              I'm surely no expert on aftermarket units; I seem to recall their becoming popular about the time that many postwar factory units were also coming on the market, in the mid-fifties. Decent units that could be retrofitted to a bunch of car models at a lower cost than most factory setups. Had a '56 Lincoln Capri hardtop with a Mark IV under-dash installation, quite good. No rear window tubes, no drafty overhead outlets, no lost trunk space like the fancy factory system.
                              Last edited by riversidevw; 07-08-2017, 09:45 PM.
                              Gil Zimmerman
                              Riverside, CA

                              1955 Speedster
                              1956 Golden Hawk
                              1958 Packard Hawk
                              1958 President
                              1963 Avanti R2

                              Comment

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