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September 6, 2015

I’m sweating bullets….turn on the air

by Paul Daniel

Drivers and passengers roasted for decades

air conditioning, auto air conditioning, ac, car acNow cars come with air conditioning where the temperature can set by the driver and the passenger and have a different temp. This image is from our 2008 Chrysler Pacifica where the driver and passenger can set the exact temp they want. It’s old technology now because the new cars can do so much more.

Speaking of old

chasing classic cars, classic cars, collector cars, buickvintage cars, collector cars, buickAnd what inspired me for this blog entry? My head’s always on a swivel when I’m driving or riding and while I was in a northern suburb of Milwaukee I spotted an old large green car. Not wanting to go past, I turned around because, well I’m a car guy. I think this is a ’53 because my uncle Walter had one. To ride in that car was like putting your living room on wheels. It cost him what was a ton of money then, something like 5,400 bucks. Yup, you were somebody if you were seen in one of these. This one was in mint condition. And of course what really caught my eye was the crazy thing hanging out the passenger window. Now it was all coming back because my uncle had one on his Buick. This is the precursor, to what we now
take for granted, cool air in our car, called an air cooler it came as an add-on.

Green before Green

air-cooler, vintage car air conditioningTime to put the research hat on. According to Oldeskool.org, inside the big gray tube is a blanket with a string attached that hangs in the passenger window. You fill the tube up with water before leaving on a trip, then every so often you pull the cord. It rotates the blanket inside and dips it in the water. Then air comes through the tube and becomes cool by going through the wet blanket into your car. But there were drawbacks. You had to be moving for it to work really well. It doesn’t work in places with high humidity like here in Wisconsin. It worked great in places like California, Arizona, New Mexico and Nevada.

The perfect finishing touch for a classic car

Even though the original manufacturers, Thermador and Sears Roebuck, have long stopped making air coolers they still can be found. I poked around eBay and found one guy still making them for the retro group for $175, otherwise used ones can run up to $350. So the next time you turn on the a/c, which runs in any kind of humidity, and at stop lights, you should be glad you don’t have this item hanging from your passenger window which looks like a vacuum cleaner.

 

 

 

 

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