Last Call: Don't Want to Burst Your Bubble Edition

Rohm & Haas introduced Poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) to the world. You might know it better by its more common name, additionally coined by Rohm & Haas: Plexiglas. It’s commonly believed that R&H built the famous Pontiac “Ghost Car,” however, while it was made out of Plexiglas, it was constructed in-house at Fisher Body.
In the 1960s Rohm & Haas embarked on a series of one-offs that demonstrated the unique properties of the company’s plastic products. The second of these—the Explorer II—was based on a 1964 Chevrolet Corvette and featured a one-piece roof/rear window and clear headlamp covers in place of the flip units.
I don’t know about you, but I’d want to check on the Corvette’s A/C capacity before taking any daytime trips in it.
Last Call indicates the end of Hooniverse’s broadcast day.  It’s meant to be an open forum for anyone and anything. Thread jacking is not only accepted, it’s encouraged.
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16 responses to “Last Call: Don't Want to Burst Your Bubble Edition”

  1. mdharrell Avatar

    It appears that whoever showed up in the parking garage here at work a few days ago with a ’56 Chrysler 300B also has a ’56 Imperial. I confirmed that this one does, in fact, have a Highway Hi-Fi.

    1. 0A5599 Avatar

      Perhaps it isn’t the same person. Maybe your parking garage contains a time portal back to 1956.

      1. mdharrell Avatar

        Its entirely underground, split-level, multi-story layout is confusing enough that I wouldn’t be surprised.

        1. Sjalabais Avatar

          If you find the portal, I havd this list of stocks you may buy in my name.
          Seriously though, someone’s got good taste over there.

          1. outback_ute Avatar

            And not afraid of door dings!

        2. Vairship Avatar

          When was it built? Perhaps they’ve been searching for the exit since 1956!

  2. 0A5599 Avatar

    Rohm & Haas was smart to pick a trade name that wasn’t Poly Meth Meth.

  3. Lokki Avatar

    GM Frigidaire air conditioning of the 1960’s could handle anything short of a solar flare. Seriously.
    “The A-6 was Frigidaire’s first axial designed compressor. This compressor used a cast-iron cylinder and heads with a steel case and “swash” plate. The A-6 designation related to its axial design and the fact that it was a 6-cylinder compressor unit. The interior of the compressor also had an oil pickup and sump system to lubricate the internal parts. The A-6 compressor will push out 27,000 BTUs at 2,000 rpm and as high as 42,000 BTUs at 4,000 rpm with a discharge rate of 240 p.s.i. That’s enough cold air to cool a small house (most home window-mounted air conditioners are only rated from 5,000 to 12,000 BTUs)a”

    1. outback_ute Avatar

      I wonder how many horsepower the compressor draws?

      1. nanoop Avatar

        Power plant owners handed them out as welcome gifts to new customers…
        [This is a factoid by some dude on the interwebs, mind you.]

      2. dukeisduke Avatar

        it’s hard to tell. No good links on Google. It could be anywhere from six to 15 horsepower. I imagine there’s an SAE paper with details somewhere, written by some engineer that worked for Frigidaire. I’ve owned a couple of cars with the A-6. The ’68 Bonneville (400 four-barrel, 340hp) didn’t have any trouble with it, but my first car, a ’75 Vega (140 two-barrel, 84hp), it definitely slowed things down. The Vega also had a W.O.T. (wide open throttle) switch on the throttle linkage that de-energized the compressor clutch. My ’66 Corvair (110hp) had an a/c idle-up solenoid mounted to the upper shroud.

        1. outback_ute Avatar

          15 hp seems a lot even for 20 hp of cooling (equiv), but who knows what the efficiency was like then.
          I used to manually turn off AC for overtaking and the like back in the day.

        2. cap'n fast Avatar
          cap’n fast

          and then there is the friction losses from using the V-belts to drive the clutched pulleys on the A-6. no load losses up to 7 HP just to move the belt thru the pulleys at 4K rpm is a good reason to now use multi rib belts.

    2. dukeisduke Avatar

      Yes, the A-6 is a thing of beauty. Extremely long-lived, and usually the only failures are the front seal. The fact that it used an oil pump and an oil sump (genius!) means that it doesn’t have to rely on oil circulating through the lines, and can run even if all the refrigerant has leaked out.
      The article says that it was GM’s first axial compressor, but I know I’ve seen earlier compressors (like on a ’59 Chevy, and ’50s Cadillacs) that were cylindrical, but a little larger in diameter. So I wonder if that’s really the case.
      The compressors that Frigidaire (known by now as Delco Air) rolled out to replace the A-6 – the R-4, the DA-6, and the V-5 (a variable-displacement compressor) were complete garbage.

    3. P161911 Avatar

      Combine that with the fact GM’s A/C system was designed to deal with the interior volume of an Impala, the cozy interior of the Corvette would be rather frigid. As far as I know the Corvette used the same fan, etc, of the full size cars.

  4. cap'n fast Avatar
    cap’n fast

    juicy thing about PMMA is that when impacted it would shatter into razor sharp shards with the shape of needles. not too good if one did a face plant into it. polycarbonate(Lexan) is somewhat more shatter resistant than plexiglass. one could in fact bullet proof car doors and rear seat bulkheads with a few layers of lexan.
    bubble top corvette is a beautiful concept. and the head light cover idea would have eliminated the horrid vacuum operated headlamp housings. hated those things. like a democrat, always failed when it really counted.

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