I'm going to make a prediction: The part of the globe you live in will soon get very warm. Irrespective of your politics or whatever the current weather is in your neck of the woods, the temps are going to rise. It's called summer. Sure as death and taxes, the heat is coming, and if you plan on driving your hot rod, a whole bunch of that heat is gonna be concentrated under the hood of your classic machine and inside your cockpit.
Southern California has its perks—the weather here doesn't really fluctuate that much between summer and winter, and as a result it normally doesn't test the thermal limits of machinery all that much, unless you start making treks through the desert or into the mountains. That's the rub, because I love driving my junk through the desert—two of my favorite destinations lie across vast expanses of hot emptiness: Las Vegas and Phoenix. Overheat in the Mohave Desert during the summer and it can be hours before anybody finds you—and good luck getting cell phone service out there. Even in the middle of February, temps can easily top 90 degrees F, and such was the case last week when I drove to Phoenix with Project Laguna. That's my smiling mug in the photo, doing my best to show enjoyment while taking a selfie at 80 mph. Yeah, I know. Unsafe. Lock me up.
The weather in SoCal spoils me—but it wasn't always that way. As an East Coast guy, I grew up freezing my ass off every winter. I'd bunker down from December to April, read car magazines, build model cars, and fend off cabin fever. When you've had a solid run of crappy, cold, wet weather, you think it's never going to end. All you dream about is the coming of spring and rolling your machine into the light of day. You never do it right away though. On the first day of good weather, you don't believe it's really happening. Mother Nature loves playing tricks, so you play it cool by letting it rain once or twice so that all the road salt washes away. Then you hit the road.
The problem is that it never goes from winter to spring gracefully. It's winter one minute, then full-on broil the next. Do not pass go, do not collect $200. Spring lasts for, like, four hours—not really enough time to get your car prepped for the big heat. In place of spring, there's a month or so of schizo behavior where it switches back and forth violently between winter and summer, at least that's the way I remember it. By the time you realize winter is truly over, the heat, humidity, and bugs are so thick, you find yourself yearning for the chill of winter again.
That brings us here to the June issue. I thought it would be timely to bring you some stories that would be helpful just in the nick of time. The Christmas bills are paid, tax season is over, and now it's time to start thinking about that jewel in the garage. I say, don't get angry at the heat when it's too late, get out in front of it. Mother Nature is about to dish out her annual summertime ass-whoopin', and it's just around the corner. We've got a ton of great tech for you this month, including a Vintage Air installation, a Be Cool cooling module installation, and Christopher Campbell's story, “Beat The Heat!” which outlines some great solutions for keeping your temps in check.
If you believe the pundits, summer is going to be even worse this year. Nah, the sky isn't falling, it's just a case of statistical equilibrium asserting its rule. When you get a punishing winter, a stifling summer isn't far behind. Put it this way, the only way it's not going to be a record-breaking summer is if we're in the midst of a record cold year. And who knows, we just might be. As I write this, 90 percent of the Great Lakes are frozen solid, and that hasn't happened since 1979. In that case, you're still in luck—Vintage Air Gen IV A/C systems have built-in heaters!
The Polar Vortex of 2014 is going to be a fond, faint memory very soon, and in its place will surface some new scientific climate phraseology that will be designed to frighten, intimidate, and insult your intelligence all at once. You see, “global warming” is so 2005. The establishment has walked that one back and swapped it with “anthropomorphic climate change” as a CYA move, but it's not sufficiently apocalyptic for talking TV heads. They'll need to come up with something that hints of more death and destruction—the Polar Vortex thing with the whirling dervish imagery was pretty cool in that regard. The anchorman will deliver this hellish new term du jour in a somber end-of-the-world voice with some colorful graphic behind him. Cue video of drought/hurricane/tornado. When you hear it on the news the first time, you'll chuckle, because you knew it was coming. Until then, how 'bout we just call it summer?