Out here in SoCal, one classic truck accessory dear to our hearts is air conditioning. With a desert-like climate cool air for cruising is pretty important. That said, in the rest of the country—or at least in climes that are less temperate than what we enjoy, a source of warm air is just as important. Here, we’re gonna check out the installation of a great little heat/defrost unit from Vintage Air that’s not only extremely affordable and easy to install, but made to Vintage Air’s high standards of quality, too. Since the Chevy we’re doing the install on isn’t going to be dripping with automotive bells and whistles, we decided to forego A/C, but a reliable heater/defroster is one of the creature comforts we definitely wanted to install. The truck’s owner is planning on driving this truck, and on cool mornings and evenings he’ll be glad to have a heater feeding warm air into the cab and a defroster to eliminate condensation on the windshield.

Vintage Air’s Compac GEN II heater/defroster seemed like just the product we needed. The box’s integral floor outlet is actuated by an electronic servo and opens to drop heat down toward our feet; from there, like all hot air, it will rise. A pair of flexible hoses feed the defrost ducts mounted at the stock dash openings.

Tearing open the box from Vintage Air, we were impressed by the size of the unit. It definitely is compact, but we wondered if it would move enough air to do its job in the ’47. No problem. If it can warm up a street rod interior, we know it can heat the cab of Project Shop Truck without breaking a sweat.

For this application, the installation was a simple procedure. The biggest challenge was finding the optimal spot for mounting the heater box on the firewall. On the ’47, the only obstacles we had to worry about were the cowl vent and the windshield wipers—and the only visible part of the system is the small three-knob control panel. The install was a straightforward affair with no surprises, and the average-skilled home builder should be able to finish the job between breakfast and lunch, using tools he probably has lying on his workbench right now. For builders with less-than-average skill, you can add about 10 minutes—it’s that easy. CT