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Lv 7
. asked in Cars & TransportationCommuting · 2 months ago

How did drivers living in hot climates manage without air condition in their cars?

Many cars in made in the 1970s had air conditioning only as an option (it wasn’t a base feature). But those cars also had a small window called a “quarter-glass” that you could crank open at an angle to force air onto the driver. So in the summers, that’s how we cooled off when driving on a hot day.

I grew up in Western Washington, where it usually didn’t get that hot. Did that feature even work in places like West Texas?

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  • 2 months ago
    Favorite Answer

    How did we manage you ask? I would get home from work dripping with sweat down into my undies and socks thats how I managed. It wasnt just the lack of aircond, cars back then had hardly any air flow, heating cooling and demisting were only a fraction as efficient as modern cars. Most interiors were vinyl before the 1980s and tinted windows were not standard on most cars, vinyl soaks up heat like a sponge and stores it for hours after the sun goes down, in winter its the opposite, its like sitting on a block of ice.

    I used to always carry a towel to put on the seat so I didnt get painful burns from the seat and steering wheel and gearstick. Even if you had aircond back then it didnt work half as well as it does now in modern cars and your fuel consumption went through the roof when you turned it on.

    • Road warrior
      Lv 4
      2 months agoReport

      My old car's manual says NOT to run AC if MPG is a concern., Nor climbing. R substitute  only on EBay.

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  • 2 months ago

    My dad's old '51 Mercury had a window mounted swamp cooler. We filled it with ice and cold water before heading out..

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Car_cooler

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    • Trump 2020
      Lv 7
      2 months agoReport

      Dang, that cooler sat in the garage until my daughter bought dad's house and threw it away. They're worth lots of money now.

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  • 2 months ago

    The quarter window works good like a fan.  So, not stuck in traffic. Am talking 54C so above 120F like they have in Australia,doing 60 MPH.  You are sitting in the shade under the roof of the car and almost BUCK NAKED but it does a body good to sweat. More room for the ice cold beer...I store in my belly.   You learn to park in the shade of a tree or a building much of the time.  No worse than riding motorcycle.

    . My basic car now has no AC.  & in the summer it gets to 100F.  I remember to park in the shade of something.  It works.  I miss the quarter windows as Honda does not have them.

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  • 2 months ago

    The vent wings went away with the introduction of flow through ventilation, air would enter behind the wipers and exit through a vent hidden in the door pillar. The number of cars sold without AC was so small AC was made standard.

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  • 2 months ago

    I can remember units that hung on the windows that operated like a "swamp cooler". That is refrigeration by water evaporation. Not that when I was a kid that we could afford one.

    I still own cars cooled by "4-55", meaning four windows down and 55 mph!

    We didn't miss air conditioning back then, because we didn't have it. That was true of our houses and our cars.

    To get those little windows to work best required them to be able to be opened enough to force the air in. By the 70's they would only open wide enough to vent, not force air in.

    The worst cars were the hard tops with no real back windows and VW bugs. The VW micro-bus was an oven in the summer and an icebox in the winter. The back windows only popped open a little on the Bug and bus. But  at least in the bug the drew air out. The heaters were off the exhaust system (air to air) providing very little heat.

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  • Anonymous
    2 months ago

    They opened the windows.  With the hand crank.

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  • Scott
    Lv 6
    2 months ago

    The wing window or "quarter glass" as you call it, is a poor substitute for air conditioning. I live in Phoenix, and can't imagine what 118 degree air coming into your car would feel like. I've lived here since 1999 and haven't had been in a car without ac in decades.

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  • 2 months ago

    Guess what?  If the quarter glass did not provide enough ventilation, they had the option of opening the full window. 

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  • Anonymous
    2 months ago

    They suffered more than you'll ever know.

    • Dimo
      Lv 5
      2 months agoReport

      We did not suffer.  Kids now are wimps.

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  • 2 months ago

    THEY OPENED THEIR WINDOWS..

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