I just went through this via a shop nearby in West Palm where the proprietor (older fart like me) has evolved to doing a lot of restoration type work as well. I have the skills and shop, just now happy to pay someone capable to do the hard work instead.
I bought the Vintage Air out of Texas https://www.vintageair.com/ primarily because this shop owner had used them. I’d recommend that whenever you do this you consider checking out your cowl and if it needs to be done in the future - do it at the same time. Neither job are going to be cheap (AC parts pricey, labor not too bad - Cowl parts affordable, but labor high).
If you’re nearby, swing on over and see. Recognize with no window tinting, on these very hot summer days after the car has been outside the AC cooling is not tremendous - I’d call it adequate. Mine is garaged, so leaving the house and driving around it does fine. It’s just if I leave it baking then come back, you notice it’s not a modern car AC system.
A local guy installed Old Air kit in his '67. He’s not happy with the AC performance on hot days. The heat only blows on the passenger side so he’s not happy with that either. There is no provision for allowing fresh in in from outside, it is recirc only.
He is planning to install a stock AC system with a rotary compressor. He is going to use R134 in it.
Alternative Auto - ask for Butch - 561 640-4644. I’m in Palm Beach Gardens if you wish to see the car and system. As a point of interest, I have a 302 '94 roller short block I picked up used with my ported '88 Mustang heads from the day. As such, I chose to go with the late 80s brackets and serpentine belt. Since I had to buy a new compressor, I chose to use the modern Sanden compressor. Vintage air can sell the compressor as well as a bracket that adapts that compressor to the late 80s bracket.
To my knowledge, no aftermarket ac has provisions for outside air circulation ,causing them to build moisture and freeze up.
Keeoing the vent open may help some.
My 67 is basicly a stoock system with a sanden compressor
Had to make some hard and soft lines but it works great.
I believe most factory ac cars came with tinted glass. If you dont want the dark tint look , 3M has a basicly clear uv film that stops over 90 percent of the uv from the sun
I have used it on several cars I put ac in with great sucess…even do the windshield . But sit down , id guess 6hundred to a grand for the film and install.
If your having someone install your ac you kinda need to go with their recommendations. If you are doing it yourself id go with Classc Auto Air. Nice workmanship and super customer service. Vintage can be difficult to run the hoses and Hurricane worked good in my coupe ,i understand Royces consern.
Many places used to sell under dash air conditioning units including the car dealers. Many of these were sold including by Sears, JC Penney and Wards. Ford and Mercury had their own units of course. Many of those are known as “dealer add on” air conditioning units. In general they bolt under the dash and preclude the installation of a console.
Im installing vintage air currently in my non ac car and so far been happy with it. I did alot of research into all the other systems out there and ended up landing on vintage. I can not comment on cooling just yet as Im still installing but its a well put together kit for the most part and all the parts seem to be of good quality. If I originally had an AC car I might have gone a different route with updating or rebuilding the stock setup but not having any of those parts it did not make too much sense. The only difference I would have made is getting the kit for an AC car vs a NON AC car. this would have given me the parts needed to hook up the factory vents. I had to buy a couple more things to properly connect to the factory vents Im installing. The vintage kit also keeps the driver side vent installed so you can still create a fresh air in the cabin when desired. The install has been pretty easy so far with no real road blocks.
Keep in mind if your adding AC to a car without it make sure you address the coolant system, fan and clutch etc. you may need to update those too for proper cooling.
I do also suggest window tint, this will make a big difference on interior temps and ac cooling. If your in a state that does not allow darker tint or you dont like the look you can get ceramic clear tint that works the same just much more expensive.
I think I was one of if not the first guy to put Vintage Air in an early Cougar. I went with a universal unit that uses electronic servos to direct the doors for airflow. No vacuum needed. At that time there was not a Sure-Fit kit available for mine. This was a factory air car and I plumbed the VA through the factory vents. Since it was a universal system, there was a little more fabrication involved. But the whole car is that way anyway. I had never done any kind of AC work before taking this on. I installed it in stages as I was building the car. The car has been completed since 2003 when I had the system professionally evacuated and then charged with 134a.
Here we are 20 years later and I haven’t touched the system other than to turn it on or off in that entire time. It still blows 39* air out of the vents. I do have tinted glass and I also insulated the car thoroughly for heat and sound. To this day, I still feel like it was one of the best mods done to my car.
Thanks for the detailed reply. You mentioned that you insulated the car. What did that involve? I heard of this, and possibly upgrading the alternator and fan (in a car that did not previously have AC).
I agree on the upgraded radiator and alternator. While I run a small block, I’m running a three-row radiator. I also upgraded to a 100 amp alternator since I also have an electric fuel pump, MSD ignition, the AC, and an overkill stereo with two amps.
As for the insulation, I used products from a company that I fear is no longer in business. It was called Insulshield Technology. I used one of their foil-backed firewall blankets from the base of the windshield all the way to the front seat risers. For the floor I used their closed cell foam carpet underlayment. I also have dynamat behind the door panels, in the trunk, and on top of the steel firewall I made for behind the back seat. All of this was done as part of the build and remains unchanged 20 years later.
To quote: ‘To my knowledge, no aftermarket ac has provisions for outside air circulation ,causing them to build moisture and freeze up.’
We don’t have that problem in humidity laden South Florida. In reality, you waste a tremendous amount of energy trying to dehumidify outside air - instead of cooling the air charge you’re simply making more water drip to the ground out of the condensate tube.
In fact, one of the engineers I worked with did his graduate studies on auto HVAC. I asked him why the idiots in Detroit still have an outside air option with all the focus on Green and energy conservation. The answer was the fear of the ignorant public thinking they took something away.
Recirc mode ALWAYS cools much more effectively.