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Will You Survive the Storm? Prepping for Hurricane Season

Original Air is located on the Gulf Coast of Tampa, FL, so we know a thing or two about hurricanes. We’ve experienced more than a few close calls with Irma, Dorian, Laura; you name it, we’ve dodged it. However, luck can’t last forever. And many weren’t so fortunate. In 2017, hurricane Harvey and Irma wrecked nearly 1.4 million cars. If you own a classic and put countless hours into it, always be prepared.

Collector Insurance

The best piece of advice we can offer you when it comes to your classic and hurricanes is protecting yourself with the right insurance. Make sure you have the right plan to cover all your collector car needs. Most standard auto insurances will only pay the cash value of the classic. This may land you thousands of dollars below the actual market value.

Years ago, after losing about a thousand classics post-Katrina and Rita, the collector car business for insurance changed. Some insurance companies wrote about 75% of their claims were a total loss.

To qualify as a classic, in general, the car must be:

  • At least 25-30 years old
  • A modified car or hotrod
  • Classic trucks
  • Muscle cars
  • Exotic or luxury
  • In limited use
  • Secured in storage
  • Attend car shows and meetings
  • For the owner to hold a clean driving record

Classic Car Policies

Each classic is unique, so there is no standard value for specific types. You and your insurer will have to agree on the value of the vehicle. If you already got insurance and have taken care of your classic over the years, know your value might have increased. Remember to speak about adjusting the amount as time goes on. Depending on the state, some types of insurances can also cover a portion of expenses needed to evacuate.

Evacuating with a Classic

If your classic is your daily ride or you think it’s best to bring it with you, make sure it’s ready for the distance. Read our tips on the proper classic maintenance before taking it out on the road. More than likely, you’ll hit evacuation traffic, so be sure you have everything you need including a functioning AC.

In addition to maintenance, you want to bring a handful of items with you on the road. Bring a roadside emergency kit that includes tire sealant in case of a flat. Add a can of gas as gas stations are notorious for running out of gas during hurricane evacuations. Plus, bring a cigarette lighter-to-USB charger for vintage cars for phone charging. Many classics don’t have an option for phones to connect, so consider getting a Bluetooth speaker.

Cars with a garage

If you have a garage but live in a nasty flood zone, you might be better off with your friend or office garage. If the garage’s structure is weak, it may not last the hurricane and damage your classic even more. Furthermore, many modern houses install flimsy garage doors that break in high winds. Consider finding storm braces.

Even if your neighbor has lived in the area for 20 some years and swears it’s never flooded, there’s a first for everything. You can look into car capsules but depending on your budget, you might want to stick with jacks.

Cars without a garage

Simply put, you need some shelter. Check-in with friends, family, and neighbors to see if they’re willing to help you out. If you work at a larger office building with a concrete garage, use that. If you know similar places in the area that won’t tow, use that instead if you don’t have access to a private one. Furthermore, make sure you park above the first floor toward the middle near the walls.

If you don’t have access to any garages, find a tall, strong structure away from trees, water, and powerlines. Make sure the area is clean and ideally vacant. You don’t want any projectiles flying into your classic.

Once the car is parked, disconnect the battery. Raise it on jack stands if you’re not parked in an upper-level garage. Put on a protective cover and an additional tarp.

Be Cool and Help Out

Lastly, if you see someone in need, lend a hand. Hurricane season can be challenging but coming together as a community can make the difference. This guy saved a stranger’s Mazda RX-7 from tropical storm Cristobal’s floodwaters. The water would’ve ruined it entirely if not for the heroism of someone with good taste in cars. Be more like him.

Read the full story here.

September's Cool Ride: Mark's 1967 Oldsmobile Toronado 495

I bought the car five years ago. It was a heat-only car but here in Florida, an A/C is essential. The car is now a resto-mod. The front discs are from a 70 Toronado. The parts and pieces are from three Toronados in order to make one new A/C system. We also rebuilt a 425 transmission with a switch pitch converter. The engine was bored and stroked to a 495 cc (8.11 liters) with a 12:1 compression.

The Original Air parts are the condenser, drier, and evaporator.

Are You Holding on to These Parts? Don't

If you’re like us, you’ve worked on several restored and modified car projects. Chances are you’ve collected your fair share of car parts, and they aren’t cheap. While you hate to throw away something you may need or at the very least costs an arm and a leg, space is an issue. It may be so much of a problem that space has become just as valuable as a garage filled with old parts.

In other words, if you or your family are suffering from a parts hoard, you have options. Your first impulse might be to sell it all but face it; that could take months. Maybe even years. On the other hand, your significant other might want to rent a dumpster and get rid of it all. However, that’s not going to work either. The idea that someone somewhere might be willing to pay for that old muffler is just too good to pass up. All in all, the best approach we can recommend is coming out of a hoard with a clean space and make a pretty penny or two.

Easier said than done. Ten to 20 percent of car parts may be possible to sell, while the other 80 to 90 aren’t. You’ve got to factor in the time to sort, clean, take photos, describe the part, find a way to advertise it, pack it up and ship it out. Of course, you can always give parts away or donate them, but that’s still a lot of work without the pretty penny. Concentrate on parts that you know has monetary value while considering their condition and how easy it is to clean them up and ship them out.

Here’s Original Air’s list to help out your hoard:

Sell (if it is a rebuildable core or not in reproduction):

  • POA valves - sell us your old POA valves here
  • STV Valves
  • VIR units
  • Compressors
  • Some expansion valves
  • Hose/manifold assemblies (in not in reproduction)
  • Evaporators (if not in reproduction)
  • Condensers (If not in reproduction)
  • Evaporator housings
  • Compressor brackets & mounts
  • Pulleys & Idlers

Throw Away or Recycle (if in reproduction or not rebuildable):

  • Condensers
  • Evaporators
  • Compressors
  • Valves
  • Hoses/Manifolds
August's Cool Ride: Abimael's 1987 Chevy Monte Carlo 350

I'm the original owner having bought it in 1987. The off frame restoration was completed in 2012. It's got a ZZ4 crate motor, hooker full-length headers, and blazer front spindles with the disk. It's also got Camaro rear disks, 1/2 inch dual exhaust with flowmasters, cowl induction hood with an air cleaner, dual electric fans, and a full Original Air system.

The Original Air components on it are the condenser, hoses, compressor, and evaporator.

July's Cool Ride: Tom's 1969 Chevrolet Chevelle 396

This car has been in my family since 1983. I drove it through high school, took it to prom twice, and raced at the High School Drags at the local drag strip. I drove it through college and on our honeymoon. I drove it more than 100,000 miles with a Maaco paint job and the wrong powertrain.

The frame-off restoration took over 20 years. The powertrain includes a 396 producing 400 horsepower, an M-20 wide ratio 4-speed, and a 3.55 12 bolt positraction rear axle. My brother completed the body and paint, I did upholstery and wiring, my dad fabricated many parts, and we all, including my wife and 2 sons worked on the assembly.

We have a number of air conditioned classic Chevys in our family that have utilized Original Air components in our restoration/134a conversions including a '68 CST K20 PU, '65 Chevelle, 2 '70 Chevelles, and a '72 Chevelle. I knew I wanted to keep the look as original as possible on my '69, so I utilized the Original Air High Efficiency Condenser, Receiver/Drier, half of a barrier hose set (I wanted to keep the factory muffler on the compressor), and a recalibrated POA valve. My brother and I assembled and charged the system and it has provided dependable and comfortable cruising passenger temperatures since completed.

The car has earned trophies at many shows and been photographed for commercial projects as well. The car has been with me for 36 plus years and there are no plans for the car to ever leave the family! Thank you for providing quality parts to the classic car restoration community!

All Original Air Components:

Condenser, hoses, drier, expansion valve, and recalibrated POA valve.

Working With Graveyard Carz

Graveyard Carz sublets all of their A/C rebuilds with Classic Auto Air. Any rusty, old products in dire straits are sent our way. Everything from the firewall insulation pad to other complicated parts with multiple components are sent back marked, inventoried and in tip-top condition. Check out one of our features on the TV show Graveyard Carz:

Our Favorite Ford Series Features

Original Air receives several reader ride submissions every month. Unfortunately, we can't pick all of them to feature. So this month, we're consolidating some of our submitted rides that were close to winning. Here are some of our favorite ford series reader rides.

Daniels' 1974 Ford F100, 390

Featuring Orginal Air's compressor and control.

Arnie's 1984 Ford F 150, 460

Featuring Original Air condenser, hoses, compressor, drier, accumulator, expansion valve, suction valve, and evaporator.

"Well, at my age it's more about comfort than style. I spent over a year looking for something to complete I could put some of my touches on. It needed to be a pro street, big block, and just a little different. Then I found it. The first thing I did was to look into putting A/C in it. So the call to Original Air, and was set up with a kit that was perfect for my truck. Pulled motor out changed cam, heads, and transmission. Added a gear vendors o d. Rear-end gear. And 6 years later, we take it everywhere. It almost gets more miles than our daily."

1978 Ford John Wayne Supercab Lariat

One of fewer than 500 produced that year, this historic heavy hauler was offered in highly original, unrestored condition. A copy of the original registration issued to the Roland Harper catering company of which John Wayne was a business partner was included. It has no less than the largest available engine, and the Super Cab packs a 460 CI V-8 backed by an automatic transmission. Power steering and power disc brakes work together with forged twin I-beam suspension for confident road control even on the longest day. Oh, and it included a factory installed Ford AC system.

We are always hearing about cool restoration and modified car projects from our customers, and would love to see and share those factory-equipped A/C cars. Fill out our Reader Ride form so that you can describe and upload pictures of your ride so that we may share it with our customers worldwide. So get your car cleaned up, grab a camera, and send us your best shots!

June's Cool Ride: Jay's 1966 Ford Mustang V8

I purchased my Candy Apple Red, Parchment interior 1966 Mustang from a 94-year-old lady in Tennessee. She and her husband purchased the car and had it restored in 1995. The Mustang was a trophy-winning car at local car shows from 1995 through 2000.

However, the mustang was only driven about 4,000 miles in the past 25 years and spend most of the time parked in a block garage after the restoration. It was starting to show its age when I purchased it. Being an A Code, highly optioned car, my goal is to keep it fairly original. I have spent the past year on renovation work to bring it back up to driving condition, in addition to a complete overhaul of the car, I have added an aftermarket power steering system and rebuilt the factory air conditioning with Original Air components, including the evaporator coil, expansion valve, Sanden compressor, hoses, dryer, and condenser.

Which Original Air components do you have in your car? · Condenser · Hoses · Compressor · Drier · Expansion Valve

8 Facts on the History of Ford F-Series

Classic car debates can get heated, but this one is for sure: The Ford F-series is the heavyweight champion of American roads. Both incredibly essential and undisputedly popular, the F-150 has topped the sales charts for over 35 years. Here are some interesting facts about the series American classics.

The Ford F-1 Debuted in 1948

Almost instantly, the F-150’s grandfather, the Ford F-1 became an American hit among farmers and small business owners. Many of those farmers use it for hauling and transportation purposes. The first F-Series introduced eight levels of trucks: F-1 for the half-ton, F-2 for the three-quarter-ton, and up to the F-7 and F-8 for heavy-duty.

Ford Manufactured Versions in Brazil

In 1962, Ford and Sulamericana teamed up to produce trucks in Brazilian factories. These were built on the Ford F-series frame but looked very different than the trucks we’re used to seeing. Some of these versions included the Monaco and GB Fly which were combinations of Brazilian car designs with the functionality of Ford trucks.

The F-150 Moniker Debuted in 1975

In 1975, the name F-150 was coined when Ford named their intermediate model. The lighter F-100 and the heavier F-250 were also introduced that same year, but the intermediate F-150 is what stuck. Since 1975, the F-150 has become the best-selling truck in history.

The Ford Bumper Lasted for 20 Years

The Ford bumper remains a statement part of the classic truck. First produced in 1959, they were so much of a hit that Ford kept producing the same version for the next 20 years. It was easy to find replacements for trucks coming in either chrome or painted to match the body.

The Unibody was the Worst

Sometimes taking risks work, and other times they don’t. The unibody is a prime example of when they don’t. In 1961, Ford decided to try something new by making the truck’s cab and bed into a single piece. Ford aimed for a win-win situation; they introduced a clean, new design while cutting down the costs of production time.

Ford trucks built a reputation for resilience. So when people started using trucks for their main purpose like putting heavy items in the back, there were some issues. The doors began popping open all on their own. Sometimes they would never shut due to the bed’s irreversible damage. Needless to say, that was the end of the unibody.

Ford Offered a Harley-Davidson Edition

Harley-Davidson and Ford teamed up in the later 1990s to earlier 2000s to offer a motorcycle edition of the Ford F-150. Decorated in chrome trim and black leather, it’s difficult to name two better American vehicle brands. In fact, most recently, Harley-Davidson and Tuscany Motor Co. collaborated to build an all-new custom Ford F-150 Harley-Davidson edition pickup truck for the 2019 model year.

Hennessey Motorsports' F-150 is the Most Expensive

Starting at $349,000, the most expensive F-150 is the Hennessey Motorsports' F-150 VelociRaptor 6x6. It includes the base 2017 – 2020 Raptor 4-door truck, 6X6 locking rear axles, upgraded Fox suspension, upgraded 20-inch wheels and off-road tires, special front and rear bumpers, rollbar and LED lights. The 600+ HP upgrade includes upgraded twin turbochargers, stainless steel exhaust modifications, upgraded front mounted air to air intercooler and plumbing and re-tuned factory computer. There are only about 100 of these made.

Watch Hennessey Motosports’ F150 race a GT350:

It was Walmart’s Owner’s Car of Choice

In 1979, Walmart founder Sam Walton purchased a brand new sixth-generation F-150. Since then, he drove it almost every day until his death in 1992. For a period of time, Walton was the richest man in the United States. Walton was once asked why the truck was his car of choice after he made his first billions. Walton famously responded saying, “What am I supposed to haul my dogs around in, a Rolls-Royce?” His truck is currently on display in a Walmart museum in Bentonville, Arkansas.

No matter who you are, the world over agrees that the F-150 is one of the most legendary American cars out there. If you’re looking to be cool and stay cool when the heat is on, Original Air has you covered for your original AC kits. Shop some of our most popular Ford Upgrade Kits

May's Cool Ride: Steven's 1980 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 350

In the spring of 1980, I was 4-years-old and already had a love for cars. One sunny day, I was waiting for my dad in his truck across the street from Big Horn Chevrolet in my hometown of Worland, Wyoming. Parked on the street in front of the dealership was a car transport trailer on which I spotted a brand-new white 1980 Camaro Z28. It had T-tops and three-tone charcoal striping. It looked fast, just sitting there.

When my dad got back in the truck, I vividly recall saying, "Look at that car, Dad! Isn't that cool?!" He agreed and walked across the street to check it out.

What I didn't know at the time was that he and my mom had ordered it new from the factory. Beginning on July 1, 1980, that Z28 became our family car. For the next eight and a half years, we took it to school and the grocery store, as well as on family trips. It was always garaged, and it stayed in remarkable condition. But in November 1988, my parents decided it was time to trade it in on something more practical. I was extremely disappointed as I watched my dad drive away in it for the last time, taking it to the dealership.

It only took one day before the car was sold to a new owner. A local farmer bought it for his son, who drove it for a couple of years in high school. When he left for college, he kept it garaged at home and seldom drove it. In the spring of 2010, I contacted him and told him the story of me seeing it that first day, sharing some of my other memories of that car. To my amazement and joy, he agreed to sell the car to me. On July 10, 2010–almost exactly 30 years to the day from when my parents took ownership–I became the Z28's third owner.

The car just turned 40 years old and is still in amazing condition. It has 80,998 miles on it and has never been wrecked. The paint and decals are all original and shine like new. Except for the restored gauges and a ShiftWorks kit, the black cloth interior is all original and doesn't have a single crack or tear anywhere. I have the original warranty paperwork with my dad's information on it, as well as a copy of the dealer invoice and window sticker and build sheet. While the second owner had this car, he replaced the engine with a new GM 350 V-8. Since it is no longer numbers-matching, I decided to rebuild the engine to give it more power to go with its great looks, which I did with help from my then-6-year old son and a friend. It is still a 350, but now makes 330 hp and 365-lbs.ft. of torque at the rear wheels. It contains Original Air hoses and compressor.

The car is, and will remain, "Dad's Z28." My son loves to work on it with me, go for rides, as well as take it to drive nights and car shows.  The car from my childhood is once again part of the family, making memories that will last a lifetime!

Original Air components on this car are hoses and compressor. See Original Air's Update Kit for a 77-81 Camaro here.