Tech: Vintage Heat for your Vintage Car

This is for our new category: Tech Archives. If you want to read just tech articles you can go to the right side column and click on desired category.

I like to fix, repair and refurbish old things when possible as opposed to buy new stuff.
Old American products are usually of very high quality and all they may need is a cosmetic restoration and some inside updates. Some items look great with original patina and some lend themselves to refurbishing. Only YOU decide what direction to go…not your buddies, not the current trend, just use common sense.

This article is about how to stay warm in your vintage car or truck while still looking old-timey.

Washington state offer some great summers for vintage car cruising but we do get a fair amount of lousy and wet weather as well. While some hardy folks can drive an open roadster in the middle of the winter…I am NOT one of them. I like to be comfortable so a heater is high on the list. You can hide a modern heater unit under the dash or seat but I think a good looking vintage heater is the coolest. (No pun there…) I find these at swap meet and sometimes at garage sales. Up to the late fifties new cars and trucks did not come with heaters but there were many manufacturers that stepped up to produce add-on heathers. Allstate, Firestone, Southwind, HaDees and others made aftermarket heaters and many of them had beautiful designs.

1937 Ford HaDees Heater

This Hadees Junior is sporting some serious art-deco design and it will look great restored.

 

1937 Ford Cabriolet heater grille installed This one is part of a larger assembly out of a Ford and I like the crest and simple design. I just kept this rectangle box and it will contain the element and fan. I am debating what color it will be. In the 40’s brown or black wrinkle finish was used. Another favorite coating is the hammer paint. I found the stainless grid at an elevator interior company of all places. It looks like an old radio cloth. Love it! There will be a tech article on this unit down the road.

Today we are going to restore a Tropic-Aire heater:

1930 Ford Model A heater 1

 

Let’s go to work: 1930 Ford Model A hot rod heater 2 First order of business: Dissasemble.  Most firewall heaters are rather deep because they have the fan assembly behind it and also the tubing usually designed to go straight thru the firewall. I usually eliminate that by installing a compact brushless fan or small cooling fan similar to the ones you see on small transmission coolers.

1930 Ford Model A hot rod heater 3 This heater contains a round element with the fan motor in the center. This makes for a compact unit and I will duplicate this set up.

1930 Ford Model A hot rod heater 4 I want the heater core as deep as possible in to the unit so I removed this ridge.

 

1930 Ford Model A hot rod heater 5 I also flattened out the louvers on the side and welded them up.

 

1930 Ford Model A hot rod heater 7

I welded a stud to the outside louver to keep it in place..

1930 Ford Model A hot rod heater 8

Test fit…looks good.

1930 Ford Model A hot rod heater 6

After some bodywork and hammer coat paint we got ourselves a nice looking heater body.

1930 Ford Model A hot rod heater 9

A good coat of a maroon color and some polishing yielded a nice looking louver.
1930 Ford Model A hot rod heater Tropic-Aire

I polished the stainless trim piece and painted the letters in gloss black.

1930 Ford Model A hot rod heater Tropic-Aire 2

Hubba-Hubba !! (technical term) That looks pretty snazzy. Let’s attend to the inside components now.

1930 Ford Model A hot rod heater Tropic-Aire 10

This is a 12V clip on fan from that big box store. It set me back a whopping ten bucks.

 

1930 Ford Model A hot rod heater Tropic-Aire fan

I removed anything that did not look like a fan from the clip-on fan and I made a back shroud based on the diameter of the fan blade.

1930 Ford Model A hot rod heater Tropic-Aire11

This is the mesh from the fan I bough. I welded it to the back shroud to protect any toes that may find themselves behind the heater.

1930 Ford Model A hot rod heater Tropic-Aire 12 Here it is, all ready to go together. The fan motor squeezed in very nicely inside the core. I used some silicone glue to keep it in place.

1937 Ford Cabriolet heather valve

I use a stand alone heater valve from any parts house. I like this kind with the cable bracket in the same unit. That way you can attach a remote cable without having to secure the heater valve to anything. It can just be in line with the hoses and cable operated without tugging on anything.

 

1930 Ford hot rod heater

…and here it is. Installed in our latest project build, a 1930 Ford Model A Hot Rod.

Note 1956 Chrysler gauges, custom sub dash and vintage style Euro square weave carpeting. Look for this car at the NSRA event in Ridgefield, Washington, June 28-29th.

 

Harry’s “back in the day” Hot Rod Pictures

I bought a vintage Volvo from Harry and his wife a few years ago. I learned that he has been a car guy and hot rodder all his life and here are some pictures to prove it.

Gotta love this stuff:

A Mopar 413 Ramcharger powered this red hot rod. The stick figure in the front is Harry himself.

With a ride like this it was not a problem to atract the ladies.

Just love the stance and look of old hot rods.

The hot rod started life with a different color. Check out the two color top insert.

 

More evidence that the ladies dig guys with hot rods…

A completey restored 1937 Dodge truck was the ride of choice for a while.

One of the earlier cars Harry owned was this 1926 Ford Model T. Bought it for $150.00 and sold it for $300.00. They only car he made money on!

Thanks Harry for sharing your time machine with us.

Let’s go to the swap meet…

Swap meets are great. Parts and vehicles for sale with something for everyone.

 

Here is a very manly 4X4. All of the truck was powder coated. Very nice. Displayed by a powder coat company.

 

1948 Chevrolet sedan delivery. Total restoration and for sale for $16,500.00. You could not restore one for that.
Model A truck project
Another manly truck.
There is that word again. I wonder if it’s a complex issue?? I may have to talk to my psychiatrist…or bartender…they do the same thing.
1973 Fart…ahem, Fiat convertible
Super clean model  A roadster
Street Rod thingie
Very clean 60’s Chevrolet truck
Straight and complete model A roadster pick up. You can haul stuff and get a tan at the same time!
.
This swap is one of my favorites. Here are some two wheeled reasons:
1907…something-something. Forgot the brand. Cool bike, though…
Cool Indian project
How about a Harley Davidson for $500.00? Pretty decent and could be a runner.
Like new 1974 Kawasaki 900. Mint condition. Love that color!
You meet the nicest people on a Honda…or?
1974 BMW R-90 with side car. That seat and the Hella light looks a little out of place but a beatiful bike and color combo.
Ariel. Don’t know the vintage.
Very nice 1946 Indian
If one carburator is good three must be better! For a Chevrolet small block.
There you go, another swap in tha bag. Looking forward to the next one.

1932 Ford hot rod: The fendering is finished

1932 Ford Five window Coupe fenders

After all the fenders had been test fitted I shot the inside of the fenders with etching primer and then applied a rubberized undercoating. This prevents “tneds”  That would be “dent” backwards as the rock would leave the tire and make an “outie” Get it?

 

1932 Ford Five window Coupe fenders

Also, the wheel wells got a shot of the undercoating as well.

 

1932 Ford Five window Coupe fenders

I made these simple upper shock mounts that clears the fender.

 

1932 Ford Five window Coupe fenders

Then it was time to squirt some paint on the frame rails as well.The rear quarter panel was not painted when I originally painted the cowl and doors to remove the ugly lettering so this was a good opportunity to make sure everything match.
Puh, that was a long sentence!

 

Back in the “showroom” for assembly. The Volvo wheel is just temporary until I get new rear rims. I ordered new 16’s with 5 on 4.5 bolt pattern in order to solve the axle width. This way I can eliminate the adapter and save an inch. Hopefully it will be enough as I really don’t want to tear down the rear axle this year.

 

Yup, the whole damn shop is red. My interior decorator is going to be sooo pissed!

The white paint on the headers was peeling badly and now would be the time to fix it.

As I will not run hood sides and the fenders and top hood with sort of picture frame the engine it better look good. This looks cleaner.

So how did it come out? Pretty damn good I think, It certainly changed the look and feel of the car.

 

The OE frame horn covers fits better than the repop

 

I was concerned that there would be too much red but the chrome acorns and adding a chrome license plate frame it looks pretty balanced.

 

The not so faux Olds engine is nicely framed between the hood and fenders.

I plan to change the top insert to black and also the dash and steering wheel should be black. For right now I just plan to drive the crap out of it.

Still Out There, Part IV

More junk:

We just love old cars in the wild. They are Still Out There

These pictures are for your entertainment purposes only. We DO NOT know where these cars are so don’t contact us and ask. WE DON’T KNOW.

We just love old cars in the wild. They are Still Out There

These pictures are for your entertainment purposes only. We DO NOT know where these cars are so don’t contact us and ask. WE DON’T KNOW.

Still Out There Part III

We just love cars in the wild. They are Still Out There

These pictures are for your entertainment purposes only. We DO NOT know where these cars are so don’t contact us and ask. WE DON’T KNOW.

We just love cars in the wild. They are Still Out There

These pictures are for your entertainment purposes only. We DO NOT know where these cars are so don’t contact us and ask. WE DON’T KNOW.

We just love cars in the wild. They are Still Out There

These pictures are for your entertainment purposes only. We DO NOT know where these cars are so don’t contact us and ask. WE DON’T KNOW.

 

Still Out There: Ford

We just love cars in the wild. They are Still Out There

These pictures are for your entertainment purposes only. We DO NOT know where these cars are so don’t contact us and ask. WE DON’T KNOW.

 

These pictures are for your entertainment purposes only. We DO NOT know where these cars are so don’t contact us and ask. WE DON’T KNOW.