If you're like Mike McComas, you've thought about adding air conditioning to your classic Corvette. McComas drove Vettes in the 1960s, and he doesn't remember being too upset about the lack of A/C on his '67 big-block coupe. Then, he was just a teenager. Today, he says the Texas summers are just too hot to drive his current ride, a '66 coupe.
Times sure do change. Corvette didn't even offer A/C until 1963, but today, this critical comfort feature is standard equipment.
When McComas learned about Vintage Air's new Gen IV Surefit air-conditioning system, he wanted to know more. How hard was it to install? Did it look stock? How cool did it get the cabin? We were similarly curious, so we obtained a system to install on his car for evaluation purposes.
The big news is that the system is fully electronic. Switches eliminate pull cables and vacuum connections. Rotating an electric switch blends air between defroster and dash, similar to a late-model. Turning another switch regulates fan speed. A third switch regulates temperature, from hot to max air. The system comes complete with a 14x24-inch condenser; an "evaporator sub case," which contains both the evaporator and the heater core; a Sanden compressor with brackets; coolant and heater hoses; left and right console panels; ducts; a glovebox liner; "louver" assemblies to direct air; and various wires and switches. In addition to a Gen IV universal control harness, the kit includes a pair of rotary pot assemblies to replace the stems on the control knobs on the stock dash; a rotary temperature knob is fitted to the left console panel. Installed, the system looks very much like factory issue.
We took photos and notes while McComas installed the system on his '66. What follows are the major portions of the job.