Most enthusiasts probably aren’t aware of this Mopar musclecar fact: Shaker-scoop cars didn’t come with air conditioning. Why? The air conditioning unit was too big to fit beneath the overhang of the large Shaker scoop’s base plate. And while most enthusiasts of the time didn’t mind the lack of A/C, as it was seen as drain on horsepower, these days comfort and performance are equally important.
Nearly four decades after the Shaker was introduced, there is a solution. It comes from Carman Customs, a Saginaw, Mich.-area restoration and street rod shop owned by NHL goalie Ed Belfour, and consists of a couple of brackets that enables an aftermarket air conditioning system to be bolted to the engine. It’s a simple solution that came about when Belfour and shop manager Jeff Friesen were brainstorming a way of shoehorning A/C into one of Belfour’s many Mopars.
“We designed the setup a few years ago on one of Ed’s cars and have used it on a few customer cars, too,” says Freisen. “It finally hit us that other Mopar enthusiasts might be interested in this.”
The brackets are designed to work with the common aftermarket Sanden 508 air conditioning compressor. Carman Customs has installed the brackets on numerous big-block cars (383, 400, or 440 engines) and uses the Sanden compressor because of its compact size yet strong performance.
“With the bracket, the Sanden unit bolts right up with no clearance problems,” says Freisen. “We haven’t tried it on a Hemi car yet, so we’re not sure if it clears the valve covers.”
The primary bracket is secured to block in an O.E. manner, cinching down into an unused bolt hole in the Mopar Performance water pump. (That’s another part you’ll need to complete the project.)
We followed the installation procedure on Belfour’s ’70 Six Pack ’Cuda. The accompanying photos illustrate the installation of Carman Custom’s A/C bracket, but not the entire aftermarket /AC system – the point here is the bracket system that enables the A/C system.
So, if you always wanted A/C for your Mopar, but thought the Shaker made it impossible, you now have the cold facts to get it done.
9810 Sarle Road
Freeland, Mich. 48623
POWER TO THE MOPARS
This simple but effective method to pump up the power output of your Mopar’s charging system will ruffle a few feathers. It involves venturing into the “General’s” camp for one of his alternators.
Keep an open mind, however, and you’ll discover a great way to chase away the dim dashboard and flickering headlamps that come with the low-amp alternators common on vintage Mopar muscle cars. Rated at just 60 total amps, these weak chargers generally put out just 25-30 amps at idle; an aftermarket electric fan or stereo system is enough to almost kill the engine at idle.
Carman Custom has a simple solution – a kit that adapts a 120-amp GM alternator to the stock Chrysler electrical system via a plug-on/splice-in harness. Best of all, it bolts to the stock alternator bracket and takes up no more underhood space than the stock unit.
“The GM alternator is more powerful, plain and simple,” says Carman’s Jeff Friesen. “It produces something like 60 amps at idle, so you can run just about any power accessory without a worry.”
Carman Custom supplies the alternator and harness, along with instructions for running a separate wire to the battery to ensure an accurate voltage readout on the dash. (The more powerful GM alternator otherwise buries the needle on the stock instrument.)
A different-length V belt may be necessary, as well as a few washers to shim the stock alternator spacer, but the overall installation takes less than an hour. For that, you double the charging power of your Mopar.
We can keep the secret if you can.