How to articles; classic car restoration
How to know when a classic car is restorable.
The hunt for a classic car can get to be exciting when you stumble onto a potential restorable classic car that is loaded with accessory options. You won't find this too often. If you have found a restorable classic car with factory auto air conditioning, you have found a classic car with an option considered standard by today's expectations, but in reality was not very common in the early 60's or older.
If your restorable classic car is a 64 chevy Impala, then in order to get a handle on the available option packages you will want the chevy shop manual and the book Chevrolet by the numbers. When it comes to accessories, the chevy shop manual will provide you with the much needed photos and service information for each accessory option that was available. Keep in mind the chevrolet shop manual does not get into decoding vin numbers. This is where you need the Chevrolet by the numbers book.
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What you won't find...
For the classic car buff who is too young to appreciate the advances in technology because they have grown up with digital electronics, and microwaves etc, we need to establish a reality check. Classic cars even as late as the 70's did not come with options built on today's level of technology.
AM/FM radios were not even standard in most classic cars... if the car came with a radio. Radios were options too and most were made with tube technology instead of transistors.
Imagine that as a kid. Having to sit in the car and carry on a conversation with your parents or siblings to drown out the silence in your head because the car had no radio! That's something I'd love to submit my kids to.
64 Impala accessories
The chevy shop manual lists 3 accessory options for the 64 impala, auto air conditioning, heater, and cruise control.
Auto air conditioning in the 64 Impala
There were 3 variations of auto air conditioning in the 64 Impala. They called them the 1"Deluxe All Weather", the 2"Custom Deluxe" which was new for 64, and the 3"Custom" auto air conditioning system. These systems used the same core components, like compressor, condensor and receiver/dehydrator but were different in how the controls worked, and the hardware used for the air flow.
The Custom auto air conditioning system was a dealer installed option, while the Deluxe and Custom Deluxe auto air conditioning systems were factory options in the 64 Impala. The biggest difference is how the Custom auto air conditioning system has the air outlet and controls contained in a box mounted under the dash, only cools recirculated air, and is completely independant of the heater assembly. The first 2 systems have the controls and air outlets mounted within the dash. The systems vary in the way they operate. You would need the chevy shop manual to understand the operation and maintenance of each.
Cruise control in the 64 Impala
The controls for cruise control in the 64 Impala were not located in the turn signal arm like modern vehicles. The controls were located on the dash to the left of the instrument panel. The controls were very simple. The cruise control was managed using a simple on/off slider and a dial to select the speed setting. Just like modern cruise control systems, hitting the brake pedal deactivates the cruise control.
A heater in the 64 Impala
The heater is effectively the same as all other cars. It uses a small "radiator" mounted in the firewall called a heater core. Air passes through the heater core to heat the air.
The heater was considered an accessory because heaters were not necessary in all states. Some southern states never see winter, or rather the cold weather and snow happens so infrequently, it's not worth putting a heater in the vehicle. Next page (Mechanical)