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Is a G-Body A Good Investment?

As classic muscle cars continue to increase in price, motor heads are looking for other opportunities to jump into the hobby at an affordable price. One of those desired cars are the GM G-body cars from the mid-80s. These cars were very popular and were marketed as the Buick Regal, Chevrolet Monte Carlo, Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme and the Pontiac Grand Prix.

1987 Buick Regal Air Conditioning

If you didn’t know, the G-body designation was actually previously used for the 69-72 Pontiac Grand Prix and 70-72 Chevy Monte Carlo before they were rolled back into the A-body. There were some variations before the official G-body roll out in 1982, with the familiar body lines and style lasting until approximately 1987 (the Monte Carlo carried it until 1988).

Of all the G-bodies, the most revolutionary and sought-after model is the Buick GNX. The Buick Grand National came out in 1982 and were originally painted charcoal gray. In 1984, the Grand National came in black and was 200hp of turbocharged V6 performance with sequential fuel injection. By 1986, the Grand National was making 235hp, and with some modifications could easily outperform V8 cars of the day. All of this led to the limited production GNX for 1987 with close to 300hp and over 400 lb ft of torque. Today, it’s not unusual for Buick Grand National GNX’s to go for more than 200K at auction.

Buick Grand National AC System

Back to affordable G-bodies, there are many variations from the base models for consideration. The Monte Carlo SS with extra body cladding or the one with the unusual back window, the Regal T-Type from 1983, the Chevy El Camino SS from 82-87, or the Hurst Olds from 83-84. The difficult part is finding one that hasn’t spent years under a tree or has been extremely neglected.

Pricing for G-bodies use to be under 10K just five years ago. Prices in 2022 are reaching 20K for fair to good cars, with nicer cars going for over 20K USD. Additionally, the number of cars to shop from continue to decline as many end up either parted out or junked.

Monte Carlo AC System

If you plan on getting a G-body, and you do find one and the air conditioning is not working, then just hit us up. We carry all the AC parts needed to get the factory AC working on it again and give your G-body a second chance to cruise in comfort.

Reader Ride - 1978 Ford Bronco

Pieter shares with us his 1978 Ford Bronco with upgraded AC:

Purchased my 1978 Ford Bronco from a Kansas farmer about 15 years ago. I always wanted this Bronco when in high school. I finally got one! I restored it over many years and finally got my AC working with Original Air's Factory kit. The  kit that fit perfectly and so well designed. Easy install and now blowing nice and cold here in Tennessee.

1978 Bronco AC System Parts

1978 Bronco AC System Parts

1978 Bronco AC System Parts

1978 Bronco AC System Parts

Do you have a classic Ford Bronco that you are working on? If so, check out our parts here: FORD BRONCO AC PARTS

Why You Should Replace Your Factory AC Drier

Owning a classic car requires dedication to maintenance simply due to the aging of various parts on the vehicle. When it comes to the maintenance of your factory AC system, questions regarding AC part replacement on daily driven classics versus stored classics arises often. One part that you may, or may not have considered is the replacement of your AC drier.

An AC drier’s function is to act as a temporary storage area for refrigerant and oil in the AC system during periods of low need, such as when the car has reached the correct temperature and the vent fans are running on low. Inside the AC drier there is desiccant material. The desiccant material functions to absorb moisture that may be in the AC system, usually introduced during servicing. Additionally, moisture in the air, such as in high humidity regions can seep into the system. Once the drier reaches it’s maximum ability to absorb moisture, it is no longer effective and will need replacement.

Anytime you are opening the entire system, as during a restoration or just to replace a hose, it is highly recommended to replace the AC drier. When the air conditioning system components are exposed directly to air, the drier desiccant immediately begins to absorb moisture. If your AC drier is an original component, 30+ years of function may be heavily degraded which can lead to corrosion in the system and degrade the compressor’s lubricating oil performance.

So if you plan to do work on your factory AC system that involves replacing a part that exposes the system to air, plan to purchase a new AC drier. Some companies require that the AC drier is replaced when changing or upgrading the compressor to have a valid warranty.

Have you changed your AC drier on your ride? Is your drier the original one from the factory?

Electric AC Compressors - Worth the Upgrade?

If you have ever ridden in a hybrid or electric vehicle, you probably never noticed that the air conditioning system was fully electric. Just like the changes to power steering, belt-driven components in vehicles have been replaced by fully electric components. One of the questions that come up often is can you replace your existing air conditioner compressor with an electric one?

Electric AC Compressor

Let’s start with the electric AC compressor. For almost 20 years, electric AC compressors have been used in hybrids, fully electric and some gas-powered cars. When the start-stop function became an option, there had to be an ability to keep the air conditioning system operating. It would be miserable pulling up to a stop light on a hot summer day and have the cooling suddenly stop to save fuel. Removing the dependency on engine power to drive the compressor with a belt led to development of the electric air conditioning compressor, which could possibly lead to reducing load on the engine and improving horsepower and efficiency.

If an electric AC compressor is efficient and can promote more horsepower, why can’t I switch my existing compressor in my factory air equipped classic car from belt driven to electric? Well, it’s a bit more complicated and the primary factor has to do with the power requirements. An electric AC system has traditional components such as the evaporator, condenser, etc., with an AC compressor operating off 3-phase power. To manage the electric AC compressor function, a dedicated controller is required and a larger power system is required beyond the stock 12V battery in the vehicle.

Yes, you could convert to an electric AC system, but the costs may be prohibitive. The extra weight of the larger battery and the integration of a dedicated controller system negates the efficiency and horsepower benefits of converting to a fully electric AC system. A Sanden compressor for comparison is just as efficient and more effective as it can be mounted in the factory location with very few adjustments.

Do you currently have a vehicle with an electric AC compressor? Would you attempt to do a conversion on your classic vehicle?

Reader Ride - Thomas' 1978 Pontiac Trans Am 400

Thomas shares his 1978 Pontiac Trans Am equipped with factory air with us this month:

Car has been in the family since day one. I recently became the custodian of the bird. I ran through the car mechanically and have it running real reliable. Visually I just tidied up all the rough bits on it. Car has 52k original miles on it.

It received an original air stage 1 kit to get the factory a/c running cool.

1978 Pontiac Trans Am Air Conditioning

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

Submit Your Reader Ride Today!

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

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

Submit Your Reader Ride Today!

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?

Source:

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!

Submit Your Reader Ride Today!

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?