This is typical of a mid-'60s engine compartment, complete with an A/C system hanging off
Don't panic--this is not a scheme to nuke your massive AC/DC music collection. We're talking about that big, clunky air conditioning (A/C) system that for decades GM has hung like a giant suitcase protruding into the engine compartment. In the early muscle car days, top-of-the-line muscle cars such as '67 Z/28 Camaros or any of the solid lifter-equipped 375/396 cars and the famed LS6 Chevelle were always without A/C. It was heavy, and frankly, not in line with what a good performance car should have. Today, it's almost as impossible to order a performance car without A/C, but we'll save the discussion as to whether we've become a nation of lightweights for a different time. The point of many true performance enthusiasts is that a hard-core performance car makes an appearance without all that unnecessary baggage protruding out from the firewall.
The idea here is to get rid of that weight and gain the space to make it easier to change valve covers or spark plugs. The downside to ripping all this extra baggage off the firewall is that it leaves a massive hole. That thin piece of tin that separates you from the south side of the engine is appropriately named. With any car, it's best to keep at least one layer of tin or fiberglass between you and that spinning mass of cast iron, aluminum, and steel. While you could cobble up some simple covers or cut out the entire right side of the firewall and weld in a flat sheet of tin, there is another solution. AGM Industries (formally known as American Graffiti) now makes very nice fiberglass A/C-delete plates to help you clean up that engine compartment for around $160.00, and they are specifically designed to bolt in place with only a small amount of fabrication. You'll notice we're only really talking about GM cars in this story. The Ford and Mopar guys are lucky because all the A/C junk is stuffed under the dash on most of those cars, which means they really don't need an A/C-delete plate. So for the most part, the Ford and Mopar clan can go the A/C-delete route without the necessity of creating a big firewall cover.
We pulled the covers off our now-orange '66 Chevelle that appeared in the Apr. and May '09 issues ("Paint Your Car For $750") using AGM's A/C-delete covers. Not only did we make major strides in cleaning up the engine compartment, but we also managed to trim almost 30 pounds off the car. We had already pulled the original iron A/C compressor, otherwise the weight savings would have been even greater. When you can make the engine compartment easier to work around and save weight in the process, we'd call that a win-win deal.
This is what the heat and air package looked like after we stripped it off the firewall of
Note that there are a total of four big holes in the firewall on our Chevelle. If you look
We test-fit the cover first using the dimples in the new fiberglass cover as indicators of
We had to make a small block-off plate for the A/C interior inlet along with a cover for t
We sealed the inside of the fiberglass cover with some 3M windshield sealer for the final
This is the entire package with the fenders bolted back in place. We used one of the holes
The following is a list of the GM body styles covered by AGM. The X-body is the Nova, Y is Corvette, and B represents fullsize cars.
|'64 to '67 ||A-body |
|'68 to '72 ||A-body |
|'73 to '77 ||A-body |
|'67 to '69 ||F-body |
|'70 to '81 ||F-body |
|'82 to '92 ||F-body |
|'68 to '74 ||X-body |
|'78 to '88 ||G-body |
|'68 to '82 ||Y-body |
|'65 to '70 ||B-body |
|'73 to '90 ||Truck |
|Parts List |
|Description ||PN ||Source ||Price |
|AGM A/C-delete panel ||Call ||AGM Industries ||$159.95 |
|BMR '70 to '81 F-car delete panel ||FP002 ||BMR ||$79.95 |
12581 U.S. Hwy. 301 N.