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Reader Ride - 1964 Chevrolet Corvair Monza Convertible

This car was originally owned by astronaut John H Glenn, Jr., while still living in Houston Texas area.  After changing ownership 4 times, I acquired it in 2001 (I'm the 5th owner).  I have copies of all titles dating back to John Glenn.  The car was essentially a beater when I purchased it, but it still had most of the original parts, including the engine and factory AC components.  It took me some time to get around to it, but I finally fully restored it to Factory Stock condition in early 2021.  I did all of the mechanical work, including disassembly and reassembly, interior work, etc.  The body work and paint were done by a restoration shop.  After completing the restoration, I presented the car at a Corvair Society of America concours in Springfield, IL May 2021 in which it won Best of Show scoring 97.69 (out of 99).  On July 17th, 2021, the car was part of John Glenn's 100th birthday celebration in New Concord, OH.

Original Air restored the Evaporator core, Expansion Valve, Receiver/Dryer, and Compressor - all of them the original components.  I restored the remaining parts of the AC system.  The AC system is charged with R12, as it was delivered from the factory.

1964 Chevrolet Corvair Monza Convertible

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Fun Facts About the Pick-Up Truck

It would be difficult to argue that there is any vehicle more uniquely American than the pickup truck. What started out as the most basic form of transportation for farmers and tradespeople has become one of the most popular forms of personal transportation for millions of individuals and families. Pickup trucks today are loaded with nearly every creature-comfort available and are often loaded with no more than the family groceries and the occasional bicycle or two.

As the popularity of the pickup truck has increased over the decades, so has the variety of models and available options. This has ushered in a whole new generation of buyers, enabling them to choose anything from the basic work truck to the rugged off-roader, to the family-friendly truck loaded with all the features you could ask for. The Dodge Ram alone offers 12 different trim levels, and every major manufacturer offers at least 3 different cab sizes, several bed lengths along with two and four-wheel drivetrain options.

The shift in truck-buying can be further proved in that only 15% of truck owners use their pickups for work, but that’s the beauty of the pickup truck. They’ve become so versatile that they can easily switch between the comfortable daily commuter to weekend workhorse. And let’s not forget – TAILGATE PARTIES!

In one form or another, Americans have been enjoying pickup trucks ever since Henry Ford’s vision of converting the military truck into a vehicle for domestic use was realized with the Model TT in 1917 – that’s over 100 years! That one-ton truck cost the consumer $600 at that time which would equate to around $13,500 today. In its first year the Model TT sold 209 units. A year later Chevrolet released their Model 490; a light delivery vehicle with a half-ton chassis. Both trucks were chassis-only and required the new owner to build (or have built) and install their own truck bed. Still, even with the increasing competition from so many manufacturers, the F-150 remains the most popular pickup truck every year.

Classic Pickup Trucks

Below are a few more fun facts about the pickup truck:

21% of all vehicles sold in the US are pickup trucks1:

“Pickup trucks accounted for 20.57 percent of all vehicles in operation and SUVs 11.42 percent, according to analysis by Experian Automotive.” -Aftermarketnews.com

The Ford F-Series has been the number one selling vehicle in America since 19822:

Since 1977, the F-Series has remained the best-selling pickup truck line in the United States; it has been the highest-selling vehicle overall since 1981. The F-Series is the best-selling vehicle in Canada for over fifty years. -Wikipedia

Nascar added a Truck Series in 19953:

The series was previously called the NASCAR SuperTruck Series in 1995, the Craftsman Truck Series from 1996 through 2008, the Camping World Truck Series from 2009 through 2018, the Gander Outdoors Truck Series in 2019, and the Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series in 2020. The series' name reverted to Camping World Truck Series starting in 2021. - Wikipedia

July 20 is National Ugly Truck Day4:

Each year several states hold “ugly truck” competitions. While varying in their rules, each is a showcase for the contestants’ well-used pick-ups, vans, and sport utility vehicles. Entries can range from ancient, hobbling wrecks to ornately adorned art trucks. – uglytruckday.com

Have you owned a pickup truck? If you could buy a classic pickup truck, which one would you get?


1 https://www.aftermarketnews.com/number-of-suvs-pickup-trucks-on-the-road-holds-strong-according-to-experian-automotive/

2 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ford_F-Series

3 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NASCAR_Camping_World_Truck_Series

4 http://www.uglytruckday.com/about/

Insulation Can Affect How Cool Your Car Can Get

You have taken the time and effort to restore your car to top condition. With summer coming, you have been tweaking and tuning your AC system for optimal performance and to keep you cool while cruising. Your AC system is blowing cold air, your windows are tinted (or clear UV protected) and your weather stripping is keeping all the gaps closed tight.

But is there something else you could do?

Keeping cool means also keeping the heat out of the vehicle cabin. Your engine generates a lot of extra heat that can transfer to the firewall, heating the metal of the firewall itself which then increases the heat inside cabin. You sometimes feel that heat directly at your feet and legs, but that heat is also rising behind the dash and entering the cabin; defeating all your efforts to keep cool.

To prevent heat transfer, you need insulation.

Now, you may have put some foil on the firewall facing the engine, but you need something more significant for the interior side of the firewall. Carpet can help a bit, but carpet is not purpose-built as an insulator or barrier to effectively prevent heat transfer. You need insulation that is specific to automotive applications that can be applied directly to the vehicle or layered within the vehicle. In addition to materials added to the bottom of carpeted flooring, modern vehicles have insulation that is also applied directly to the vehicle's body to prevent heat intrusion into the cabin.

Classic Car Insulation

So, what are your options for insulation for your classic car? If you are in the middle of a restoration, a spray-on or directly applied insulator may be an effective solution. Products such as Lizard Skin have gained popularity over the past several years as a solution to blocking heat and are applied similar to paint, providing full coverage in difficult to reach places or complex shapes, where a laid-matting type solution may not be as effective. Another option is going the mat-applied route using materials such as Membrane to cover floorpans, firewalls and doors. The insulation mat can be cut in various shapes, usually peel and stick, and then can be rolled and massaged into place on the vehicle. The mat solution also allows you to do a section at a time so you don't miss out on any car shows.

Beyond insulating the cabin from heat and cold, insulation can serve as a sound deadener. This provides your vehicle with a quieter cabin by reducing road and suspension noise. So, when you are seeking to keep your car cooler than when it came from the factory, look at adding or replacing the insulation in your classic car, especially at the firewall.

Have you upgraded your insulation to keep your classic car cooler?

March's Cool Ride Chuck's 1969 Shelby GT350

Thank you to Chuck for sharing his beautiful Mustang with us:

I bought the car in 1978 from the original owner when it had 101K miles. It was in bad shape but the owner never fixed anything which was good news. It even had the original Shelby rear shocks. I restored the car in '78. It was the first car I ever painted and then I restored it again in 2012. I did everything myself except the paint. This Shelby was 1 of 150 cars that year that went to Hertz as a rental for a year and then bought back by Ford to be resold.

1969 Shelby Front view

1969 shelby rear view

1969 shelby engine under the hood view

Thanks again Chuck! Got a cool ride? Be sure to share it with us at the link below to be featured with thousands of our readers!

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The Importance of Weather Stripping

With summer approaching, the spring-like moderate days will warm up to the point you are going to depend on your classic car's air conditioning system to keep you cool. You have already upgraded or tuned-up your AC system and possibly tinted your windows. What else can you do to insure you are getting the most efficiency out of your factory AC system?

One area that gets neglected is weather stripping. On modern cars, there may be two layers of weather stripping that help insulate the interior and provide a nice solid seal when closing the door. Most classic and muscle cars typically came with one layer of weatherstipping. When your car came from the factory, the doors and windows were lined with weather stripping made from rubber. Over the years, the rubber will deteriorate from conditions such as rain, snow, ice, UV rays, heat cycles and dirt. The rubber can get hard and lose its ability to seal effectively, or it will start to break apart leaving gaps and making it difficult to insulate the cabin. Additionally, this may lead to extra moisture getting into the cabin that can lead to a musty or moldy smell that can damage the interior.

Classic Car Door Weatherstripping

Weatherstripping is an insulator - it helps keep the cold A/C air in while keeping the heat and humidity out of the cabin. There are several aftermarket companies that make replacement weather stripping for classic cars and worth the investment. So put this on your to do list and be sure the check your weather stripping in the door jams, and get down low and check under the doors as that is wear typically most of the damage to weather stripping occurs.

Upper Weather Stripping

Some tips to consider for weather stripping repair and replacement:

  • Use only the recommended amount of weatherstripping that is designed and made for your vehicle’s specific application. Too much and you may encounter issues closing doors and windows.
  • The old weatherstripping may still be usable. If the rubber is still pliable, it may be reworked with some extra adhesive filler. Also, it may be best as the OEM part may not be available.
  • Make sure the new matches the old. Check all mount points, width, length to insure a perfect fit.
  • Plan for some shrinkage. Plan to leave a 1/4 to 1/2 inch of weather stripping to allow for shrinkage after installation and weather acclimation.
  • Begin the installation and gluing process in the center of the lowest portion of each seal, as this is where water typically gathers.

Have you had your weather stripping replaced on your car? Was it difficult to find weather stripping for your classic car?

New Window Tint Options For Classic Muscle Cars

Classic Car Window Tinting

A topic that commonly appears among classic and muscle car forums are how to further improve on cooling interiors while cruising during the hot summer months. Beyond having a fully-functional factory air conditioning system, many users argue over whether to tint the windows on their ride. Now if you own a murdered out resto-mod, it can make sense to go with dark tinted windows to deflect the heat and UV rays, not to mention add to the cool look of the car. However, most automotive purists prefer not to put window tint on their vehicles as they feel it takes away from the factory look, seems out of place for the era, or assume it may devalue the car overall. But what if there was a solution that provided all the benefits of tinted windows, without the tint? Fortunately several companies have developed a great tint solution for your classic car.

The newest automotive window films are currently produced by 3M and LLumar. Their products consist of multi-layer clear film solutions that can block 99% of UV rays while providing a 50 percent reduction in solar heat. Once the tint is applied, it is nearly impossible to see as it still uses the same nano-ceramic construction in regular window tint, minus the window-darkening color. Another advantage to it's transparency is that it can be installed on the windshield, further enhancing the UV and heat protection for the entire interior of the car. A great solution to prevent dash fading and cracking after you just spent quite a bit of time and money to restore it!

So, do you think you would tint the windows on your classic now knowing these options? If you already have window tint, would you consider removing to try the clear tint option?

February's Cool Ride: Paul's 1971 Ford Falcon 351

This 1971 Ford XY Falcon GT 351 was built in May 71. I bought the car in August 71 after it was repossessed. The car had air conditioning from new and I bought a conversion bracket to fit the latest compressor from Original Air around 2016.

front view blue 1971 XY Ford Falcon GT 351

Close up view blue 1971 Ford XY Falcon GT 351

AC View 1971 Ford XY Falcon GT 351

blue 1971 ford falcon

AC Upgrade Kits for Falcon

January's Cool Ride: Mark's 1971 Plymouth Barracuda 318

I bought the car in 1980 from the original owner near Kansas City. I was visiting relatives there and saw the car in an ad in the local newspaper. I already owned a 74 Barracuda but couldn't pass up this rarecar. I was working as a mechanic at a Chrysler / Plymouth dealership in Sioux Falls, SD at the time so I was able to go through the car and make sure it was good mechanically. The car was original with all part numbers matching. I drove the car over the next 40 years using it in parades and enjoying driving around with the top down. After 40 years everything was getting tired, so I started a complete restoration. It took about 2 years, but the car now looks like it came off the showroom floor. I've already had it in one parade and have driven it about 400 miles. It's really fun driving the car and getting all the smiles and "thumbs up" from all the car fans.

1971 Plymouth Barracuda

1971 Plymouth Barracuda

1971 Plymouth Barracuda AC

AC Upgrade Kits for Barracuda

Increasing the Value of Your Car with Functional AC

We all know that when your factory AC is working on a hot summer day, you simply enjoy the pleasures of your car more. It's a great feeling when you just spent several hours hanging out by your car during a get together, rally or car show and can literally chill driving back home. You know that having working air conditioning is valuable to you, but can having a functional AC system also increase your car's monetary value?

AC not functional  
This car was recently spotted at Mecum for sale. Think it would have sold for more with working AC?

The Reasons For Restoring Factory AC

Recently while attending the 2022 Mecum Kissimmee auction, we noticed quite a few cars that had factory AC systems still installed, but several of them were non-working. When you are getting a car ready for sale, typically you would go through the entire vehicle and make sure that leaks are addressed, interior is clean, exterior is washed and waxed, etc. You know...doing what you can to get the most value out of the vehicle. But why would you skip taking care of the AC?

The factory air-conditioning systems on cars from the 60s-early 90s were typically an option that had to be specified by the dealer or optioned by the customer when ordering. We have seen many of the early cars go for exponentially more money when optioned with AC versus not having the factory AC. When reviewing the cars and trucks at Mecum, it is usually documented on the spec sheet so buyers are aware that the vehicle has factory AC.

So back to the AC question - is it worth restoring back to fully functioning? YES! Unless it is a track car, you should always repair it and make it operational again. Remember, the AC system has a compressor, condenser, hoses, and an evaporator. Each of these are components that have a potential to fail, making the whole system inoperable. This is not like a radio not working. There are a lot of parts under the hood that require engine operation to make it all work, including the AC. But, it's an investment that provides a return as it is a selling point for most buyers. Just think how much complete aftermarket systems cost when factory AC was not included on the vehicle!

Here are a couple of other things to consider. If you are buying a classic car and the factory AC isn't working, could that possibly be an indicator of how well the owner maintained the vehicle? Could there be other issues not immediately present that may influence whether you want to buy the vehicle. Consider where the majority of classic and collectible cars are found...typically in states like California, Florida, Texas and Arizona. These states can be warm year-round and having functional AC is a definite MUST.

So, if your AC is not working or you have a buddy that has a car he/she takes to shows and shows off an engine with the AC disconnected, address the issue and get to fixing it by restoring it or upgrading to a factory system that usea 134a. It's easy and affordable to do, will increase the value of the vehicle, elevate the comfort of your ride.

A History of the Three Point Seatbelt

A History of the Three Point Seatbelt

60 years ago, the world became much safer with the invention of the three-point seatbelt. It’s still recognized today as the world’s most important traffic safety invention, saving an estimate of over one million lives in total.

Choosing to use your seatbelt can also be choosing between life and death. Reports indicate that you double your chance of surviving an accident if you take the time to buckle up. Although the history of seatbelts seems rather obvious, there was a point in time where they did more harm than good.

Here’s a little seatbelt history on how the three-point seatbelt became the modern car’s seatbelt of choice.

Fasten Your Seatbelt

Cars Pre-1959

Before 1959, the two-point seatbelt was the safety norm even though they weren’t often used. The only ones who typically buckled up were racecar drivers. When people would strap in, they’d buckle the two-point belt across their lower abdomen causing serious internal injuries in high-speed crashes.

Volvo’s Safety Standards

After the Volvo CEO Gunnar Engelau lost a relative in a car accident, the company committed to improving their safety standards. They hired Swedish engineer and inventor Nihls Bohlin, who for much of the 1950s, worked on ejector seats for Saab fighter airplanes.

Bohlin was not unfamiliar to seatbelt engineering. He worked on the more elaborate four-point harness found in fighter jets. However, he knew airplane safety measures would be unrealistic in automobiles, still having the potential to cause more harm than good.

The new safety design needed to provide an effective way to protect the driver during a crash while also staying easy to get in and out of.

A Three-Point Solution

Within one year, Bohlin created a three-point seatbelt for Volvo in 1959. The belts anchored both the upper and lower middle of the body. This caused less force to be exerted on the lower middle causing injury as the case with the two-point.

According to Bohlin, “It was just a matter of finding a solution that was simple, effective and could be put on conveniently with one hand.”

Volvo offered the design for free to car companies around the globe. In less than 10 years, the United States started requiring all new vehicles to feature the design.

A Lesson on Seatbelt History

A study of vehicle technologies between 1960 and 2012 found that seatbelts saved 329,715 lives in the USA alone – more than any other technology. Furthermore, seatbelts save approximately 11,000 American lives each year.