Vintage ponies are hot, sometimes too hot. Cruising during the fall, winter and spring are not a problem, but where I am from, the summer means 3 months of solid upper 90 and 100 degree temperatures, with a minimum of 45-60 percent humidity. Not the best weather to be without A\C. Vintage Air has the solution to this chronic problem.
The Vintage Air Sure-Fit A\C system for 1964 1\2-1966 ‘Stangs uses the original deluxe controls, so the dash remains original and only 2 holes have to drilled (in the core support) in order to install the system. That being said, there are a few caveats; depending on which engine you are running, the brackets vary. Be sure to have all the details when placing an order. Along with the engine, whether or not the car has a console makes a difference for mounting the vents.
With these minor details squared away, the system is quite simple to install and operate. The kit comes with all the essentials, including a brand new Sanborn compressor and bracket. All the hoses and fittings are pre-assembled, which eliminates the guesswork, and assures everything will fit perfectly.
With the entire system installed, the benefits are dramatic. Not only does the Vintage Air Sure Fit kit deliver air so cold it’ll freeze your brain, the system also has a superior heating system that includes dehumidified defrost to the windshield. A dehumidified defroster heats up the glass much faster, like a new car, clearing it sooner. All this allows you more time in your beloved Mustang and it doesn’t have to sit in that lonely garage all winter.
We installed one of these kits in our ’66 GT coupe to see just how easy it was. All told, the installation took about 2 days. The Vintage Air Sure Fit complete system kit cost about $1200, which is a small price to pay, especially for an Oklahoma car, where the mercury was pegged over 100 degrees for over 2 months the summer we installed this. Read along, then go get yours.
1. The project begins by first mounting the compressor bracket. The kit comes with the correct bolts for each application.
2. The new Sanden compressor mounts to the bracket using 4 bolts and a couple of spacers on the front.
3. The drier and condenser coils are mounted in front of the radiator using the supplied brackets. The hoses are threaded onto the drier and condenser at this time.
4. The feed and return lines require 2 1\2” holes be drilled through the bottom of the core support. Using the supplied grommets, the hoses are pushed through. A little silicone lubricant spray really helps.
5. Moving to the firewall, the original fan was removed and the supplied cup was bolted in using the 4 supplied bolts and washers.
6. The coolant lines from the drier and compressor run to the evaporator unit (inside unit) via the cup cover. The supplied grommets need to be installed before the hoses. Again, silicone spray helps make this a lot easier.
7. We wrapped the fittings with some hose wrap. This stuff assures the system to be leak-free.
8. The cup cover slides over the firewall cup. A good bead of silicone will seal this cover from any air leaks.
9. The wire holes in the cover Vintage Air supplied were a little small for the large gauge wires supplied in the kit, so we drilled them out.
10. The new heater hose valve is cable-actuated, so using the template provided by Vintage Air, the firewall was marked and drilled.
11. The heater valve cable was then run through the firewall and attached to the valve.
12. Once all the underhood pieces were installed, the hoses were routed and everything was put back together.
13. Inside the car, the new fan switch was mounted to the original control fascia. The old switch simply unscrews and the new switch mounts in the exact same place.
14. Then the new knob was locked in place with a small set screw.
15. The cables supplied with the kit are a tad larger than the originals, so we drilled the holes with a slightly larger drill bit.
16. The cables need to be fully extended when mounting to the switch panel.
17. Then the cables are adjusted at the evaporator box.
18. The original fresh air vent is capped off with the supplied plug, sealed with silicone.
19. The evaporator box passenger side mount didn’t quite reach where it was supposed to, so we made a small extension bracket as shown here. The other brackets were perfect.
20. The coolant lines require an O-ring for sealing. Every coolant line received one.
21. The defrost duct hose runs up the supplied dash defrost ducts. The new ducts drop in the original dash vents, and are screwed in place. All of this is easiest with the glovebox out.
22. The center duct screws were marked then drilled with a 1\8” drill bit.
23. The duct box was then screwed in place using #8 panhead screws.
24. The vents are then assembled. Placement of the center ducts depends on whether or not the car has a console. Our GT did not, so the ducts were mounted side-by-side.
25. The side vents were mounted with 3M double-side tape. The driver side vent might interfere with access to the fuse panel, so a couple of screws may be a better bet.
26. The duct hose needs to be attached to the vent BEFORE mounting the vent, once installed, access to the vent is limited.
27. The coolant lines to the compressor are attached and the system is evacuated with a vacuum for 30 minutes, and then filled with R134A coolant (approximately 2 lbs).
28. Once the assembly and testing was completed, we finished off the install by wrapping all the coolant lines in purple wire loom, which really sets off the engine bay.
29. Once the system is charged, the car is fired up and the A\C cranked on. The small thermostat knob located on the evaporator unit serves as a control for the compressor. If the system ices up, turn the knob down.
A life-long gearhead, Street Tech Magazine founder and editor Jefferson Bryant spends more time in the shop than anywhere else. His career began in the car audio industry as a shop manager, eventually working his way into a position at Rockford Fosgate as a product designer. In 2003, he began writing tech articles for magazines, and has been working as an automotive journalist ever since. His work has been featured in Car Craft, Hot Rod, Rod & Custom, Truckin’, Mopar Muscle, and many more. Jefferson has also written 5 books and produced countless videos. Jefferson operates Red Dirt Rodz, his personal garage studio, where all of his magazine articles and tech videos are produced. You can follow Jefferson on Facebook (Jefferson Bryant), Twitter (71Buickfreak), and YouTube (RedDirtRodz).