Classic Porsche Air Conditioning Test Drive

The first production run of Classic Retrofit classic Porsche air conditioning systems is well under way, but the continuous work to improve and develop this system will never be over. My OCD-powered Porsche friend, Jonny Hart, continues to test, measure and develop his electric air con system for air-cooled 911s.

I recently caught up with Jonny at Tuthills for my first test drive in the A/C equipped Porsche 911 SC demo car. He was there firing up the first system installed in a customer’s 911 – the latest Tuthill Bespoke 911 build – so, as I live just down the road, what better place to get together for a spin?

The day was warm and humid and I was wearing my usual jeans and a t-shirt, while taking lots of photos at Tuthills before our little drive. No shorts or sandals and a bit of jumping around, so I was rather hot. Parked in the open with windows up, the SC was also pretty warm inside.

Classic Porsche Air Conditioning test drive

Jonny turned the key on his daily driver SC and the first thing I noticed were a pair of digital test gauges sitting in the ashtray slot. One read the ambient temperature (outside), while the other read the temperature coming out of the vents. Once the car was running, the air con compressor went through its self-test and startup and began monitoring the input parameters, including battery voltage, alternator output and aforementioned temps. All was good and we set off out the gate and towards the main road.

I’ve enjoyed countless SC rides and owned a couple of SCs myself, so I am intimately familiar with how they feel on the move. Jonny’s SC is a willing performer and a pleasure to ride in. It has that lovely interior aroma of old leather and carpet and of course felt a bit muggy as we rolled onto the A361, but almost as soon as the car got going, the interior atmosphere changed.

Within sixty seconds of engine start, the temperature coming from the vents was down to under ten degrees. Less than a minute later, the vent temp was sitting at a lowly three degrees. The windows were closed – almost unimaginable on any old Porsche in an ambient temperature of almost thirty degrees – but the cabin was cooling very quickly. By the time we had covered a couple of miles, the SC was as comfortable as my Cayenne would have been with its powerful climate control system.

Riding in the Electrocooler A/C SC was a revelation. Nowadays, we take A/C in cars completely for granted, but fitting a modern system into an older car really transforms the user experience. Fitting A/C to control temp and humidity inside an older 911 may seem like a very small step, but honestly it is a major improvement to using a 911 in average temps here in England.

Interestingly, it later transpired that Jonny’s SC had an issue where the pizza flap heater boxes were still leaking hot air into the cabin. Disconnecting the engine air flow at the heater flaps and measuring the temp at the evaporator, the system was producing zero degrees – literally “blowing ice cubes”. An excellent result from a really great system.

I’ve said it many times about products from clever Porsche friends  – people like Hayden at WEVO and Mark & James at EB Motorsport – but it always impresses me how these guys can bring a complex project from initial idea to market-ready product in such a competent fashion. Everything about this system, from the lightweight philosophy to non-invasive installation and ease of use is just brilliant. It is truly a game-changer.

Even using the 911 SC’s inadequate vent system, Electrocooler easily outperforms standard Porsche air con and all without intruding to any noticeable extent on the car’s appearance. We’re testing the system on a two-up Euro road trip down to Stuttgart and on to another satisfied Classic Retrofit Porsche professional customer in mid-July: feedback from that test later.

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