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 Comments

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

        1. 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. 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”
    https://www.hemmings.com/magazine/hmn/2006/10/Frigidaire-A-6-Air-Conditioning-Compressor/1344451.html

      1. 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. 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. 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. 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.

    1. 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.

    2. 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.

  2. 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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