MODERN A.C. in an OLD ALFA
If you live in the south like I do you know air conditioning is a must. I was determined to install effective (read: non-factory) A.C. in my Alfetta GTV without messing up the dash. In fact, I didn't want any add-on's or stuff hanging underneath, either. After a lot of research I decided to do the job myself, and buy the parts from VINTAGE AIR in San Antonio, Texas. They specialize in kits for older cars, muscle cars, and hot rods, and they have a huge assortment of all the big and little parts you would need. If you desire to do the same thing, the first thing you should do is contact them at vintageair.com and check out their online catalog. Better yet, they will send you their 100 page catalog free.
Of course VINTAGE AIR's systems use R134A freon, and their controls are microprocessor based using stepper motors. No more manual flapper doors! Although they make complete kits for a lot of cars, I'm sure you won't be surprised that Alfas are not on the list! So, you have to decide what individual parts you want to use and do the job yourself. VINTAGE AIR does have installing distributors all over the country who will do all the work for you, but I have no idea what the cost would be. The practical way, if you are able, is to do it yourself.
The transformation consisted of removing and tossing the entire heater unit under the dash, including the slide controls, blower switch, and water valve. In my case I decided Vintage Air's switch panel would go in the same location as Alfa's slide controls, and two new air vents would occupy the hole where the radio went. See the BEFORE and AFTER photos.
On the Alfetta the complete dashboard can be removed with 5 bolts! That was a huge help. I used V-A's GEN II MINI (Heat, Cool, Defrost) evaporator unit which is fully assembled and wired and includes the 3 speed blower fan. V-A strongly recommends you close off any outside air entries and insulate the firewall, which I did. In getting the unit placed and fitting properly V-A sells a GEN II MINI "mock up", which is an empty plastic case just like the complete evaporator box, for $50. Well worth it and handy, because you will install it and remove it several times in deciding how you are going to make it work. And you will be deciding where the holes will be in the firewall for the four hoses. In any event, buy that mock up box first so you can find out if the "real thing" will actually fit behind the dash. On the Alfetta it was a close-run thing, but it did fit perfectly, all hidden from view and without destroying the dashboard.
Here are the basic V-A parts I used: 66005-VUZ-A GEN II MINI EVAPORATOR. SANDEN SD508 COMPRESSOR (they offer it with two styles of belt drive, etc. - see catalog for part no's). a RECEIVER DRIER with either binary or trinary switch (explained in their catalog). 547002 EZ CLIP UNIVERSAL HOSE KIT and 420000-VUR EZ CLIP PLIERS. GEN II 4 KNOB STREAMLINE SWITCH PANEL (various styles in catalog). (2) 49058-VUQ RECTANGULAR AIR VENTS. I also installed the largest condensor + cooling fan in front of the radiator that I could find, 24"x 13" found at the junk yard. More on that later.