Apr 10, 2012 update to the Shelby GT 350 project car

Beating the Heat

The crew at Orlando Mustang set up the gauges to evacuate and recharge the Shelby’s air-conditioning system.
The a/c compressor is original to the car. The rest of the components have been replaced with new concours-correct pieces from NPD.

We live in Florida, where air conditioning is pretty much required if you want to use your classic car in the summer.

During our Shelby GT 350 restoration, we’ve carefully refurbished or replaced all of the factory air-conditioning pieces. Supposedly, only about a dozen small-block, four-speed, factory air-conditioned Shelbys were built, so we had preserve this rare combination by getting the air working again. Besides, we live in Florida, where air conditioning is pretty much required if you want to use your classic car in the summer.

We don’t do much air-conditioning work and don’t have the right equipment, so we asked the guys at Orlando Mustang to help us. The first thing they suggested: Since we had the HVAC system out from under the dash, we should use a new high-efficiency evaporator—apparently air-conditioning technology has progressed in the last half-century. NPD had this part, along with a new drier, condenser, expansion valve and lines all in stock. It still amazes us how great the parts availability is for this car.

Our compressor still turned freely, and since it was reputedly a Shelby-specific part and was date-coded to the car, we decided to try and reuse it.

After installing new compressor valve assemblies, the guys at Orlando Mustang evacuated the old system and filled it with R134. Amazingly, the system worked and blew ice-cold air. A month has passed since then, and it hasn’t sprung any leaks.

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