Vintage heaters

“I like to be comfortable”

That includes not being cold! Cars did not get heaters installed from the factory until the late fifties in most cases. They showed up even later in trucks. Our Project 1937 Ford Cabriolet did not come with a heater and while top down cruising in eighty degree weather is…FABOULUS…but…it is NOT fun to be cold in a car. What’s the point if you are not comfortable in your favorite ride?

I really wanted a roadster next but here in Washington state you have few days when you can be comfortable without side windows. The 1937 Ford Cabriolet with roll up windows changes all that. Go with top down when you feel like it but top and windows up when it is nippy or wet out there. The best of both worlds. So how are we going to heat the cabin on those cold days?

With a cool (actually warm) vintage heater of course. These can be found on swap meets starting around ten dollars. They usually comes with a 6 volt fan motor and thru the firewall plumbing.

1937 Ford Cabriolet heater Corvette core

This is the actual heater box from a mid fifties Ford truck. I cut off everything that did not look like a heater and ended up with just the box. The heater core I also found at a swap met and is supposed to come from a Corvette. I paid fifteen dollars for it and it appears to be new and never installed.

After trimming off the tubes the core fits nicely in the old Ford box. My initial though was to install a flat brushless fan in the back but I think I need more capacity knowing this is a convertible. I will probably use an external “turbo” fan. More on that later…and when I find one.

This heater and many others needs a nice grille of some kind. I was looking on-line for some sorts of expanded metal or grid that could be polished. Nothing…so let’s put the thinking cap on. Where do we see cool materials used? Mmmm. Elevator interiors have always fascinated my as they have such cool material and a lot of it is stainless, that may be something to pursue?

I found a company close to work that makes elevator interiors. How about that?

1937 Ford Cabriolet heater grill

A quick drive and a box of doughnuts later I had this in my hand. It is a stainless wowen grid. How perfect! It reminds me of the cloth used on the front of old radios.

Let’s give it a try:

1937 Ford Cabriolet heater grille installed

Oh Yeah, Baby! That works! Looks like the material was made for this project.

Now I have to figure out what color to paint the box and front trim. I am thinking a mix of hammer paint and wrinkle. Stay tuned and you will find out.

More on this later…