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Installing Air Conditioning in a Vintage 1956 Mercury Montclair: The Pal’s Process


Installing Air Conditioning in a Vintage 1956 Mercury Montclair: The Pal’s Process

At Pals Ocala Auto Repair, we recently embarked on an exciting project: installing air conditioning in a 1956 Mercury Montclair. 


If you’ve been following us for a while, you know we have a huge appreciation for classic cars. We serve all kinds of vehicles, from Acura’s to Volvo’s, and we enjoy solving problems no matter the make or model. However, it’s always a special day when we get a classic in, and we got a gorgeous Vintage 1956 Mercury Montclair in the shop the other day. 


In this blog post, we'll walk you through how we decided to help out this customer. They requested air conditioning, and we wanted to provide it without compromising the car's aesthetic. Read on to see how we did it!

Can You Add A/C To A Vintage Vehicle? 

If you’re lucky enough to be a vintage car owner, you may feel like you don’t want to push said luck to make the car more modern. However, it’s easier than you may think! We always get this question, and yes, you can add air conditioning to a vintage vehicle like the 1956 Mercury Montclair. While these cars were not originally equipped with AC, advancements in aftermarket parts and installation techniques make it feasible to retrofit them with modern conveniences.

What Are The Benefits?

Adding air conditioning to a vintage vehicle significantly improves comfort, especially during hot summer months or in regions with warm climates. It allows for a more enjoyable driving experience, particularly on long journeys.


Equipping a vintage car with air conditioning can also enhance its resale value. Many buyers today expect modern amenities, and having AC can make your vehicle more attractive to potential buyers.


Lastly, air conditioning makes vintage cars more practical for daily use. It encourages owners to take their classic vehicles out more frequently, leading to better maintenance and preservation.

What Are The Risks?

Retrofitting air conditioning requires modifications to the vehicle, such as drilling holes for hoses or mounting brackets. While these modifications are often reversible, they can affect the car's originality and may not appeal to purists.


Vintage vehicles may have limited space under the hood, making it challenging to install modern AC components. Compatibility issues may arise, requiring custom fabrication or sourcing specific parts for a particular model. That’s why you want an expert, such as Pal’s Ocala Auto Repair, to do it for you. 


Lastly, adding air conditioning to a vintage car can be costly. It involves purchasing AC kits, labor for installation, and any additional modifications required. Owners should weigh the cost against the benefits to determine if it's worth the investment.

Customer Request: A/C In Their Vintage Vehicle

You may have seen a previous video about this car in which the owner expressed interest in adding air conditioning. But before we dive in, let's discuss our approach.


Firstly, we decided to go with an under-dash unit. Why? It's more straightforward more cost-effective, and it maintains the vehicle's vintage aesthetic, reminiscent of what you would have seen in the '50s and '60s.


So, what's the difference between under-dash and in-dash units? Under the hood, there's no significant difference in the installation process. We'll add a compressor, a condenser (which goes in front of the radiator), and running lines into the car.

Maintaining The Integrity of the Vehicle

Speaking of running lines, on this 1956 Montclair, we might need to drill a couple of holes in the firewall to accommodate the AC lines. But don't worry; we'll insulate them properly to prevent any issues.


Now, onto cooling. You might think adding an electric fan would primarily benefit the engine's cooling. While it does help, its primary purpose is to improve air conditioning performance. The condenser needs ample airflow to function efficiently, which is crucial for effective cooling inside the car.


To maximize airflow, we'll adjust the direction of air towards the condenser. This might involve filling gaps with foam or rubber to ensure optimal cooling performance.


We'll mount the condenser, electric fan, and compressor outside the car. Thankfully, we found readily available brackets for the Y-block engine, making installation smoother.

The Interior: Keeping It Stylish

Now, let's talk about the interior. The under-dash unit will be mounted directly beneath the steel dash, providing a clean, unobtrusive look. The controls will be housed in this unit, with hoses running through the firewall and along the heater box.


One of the benefits of the under-dash unit is that it preserves the car's originality. If the owner ever wants to revert to the original setup, removing the unit and patching a few holes is as simple as removing the unit.

Want To Modernize Your Vintage Vehicle? Give Us A Call!

Adding air conditioning to a vintage car like the 1956 Mercury Montclair is possible and enhances comfort without compromising its classic charm. So, if you have a vintage car longing for modern amenities, don't hesitate to bring it to us at Pal’s Ocala Auto Repair. We'll ensure you stay cool on the road, no matter the temperature. Call today to schedule your appointment. We are open Tuesday through Saturday, 8:00 AM through 5:00 PM. See you soon!




Ocala , Vintage
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