Adding Air Conditioning to My Traction Avant

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by Richard Boudrias…..

After enjoying several Citroëns of different types, sizes and colours, fifteen year ago I became the proud owner of my current pride and joy — a 1955 Traction Avant 15/6H.

It was love at first sight that prompted me to undergo a full bumper to bumper restoration both on the mechanics and body.

Since the car was being restored but not my old body, I took it upon myself to make some things contemporary. The first modern addition was to convert the car from 6 volts to 12 volt and then install an Easy-Drive electric assisted power steering unit. A few years later, and partially because of my wife Louise’s MS condition my quest was to find and have installed an all electric, no pulley or belt A/C system.  


It took a few years of talking, probing and searching until I found André Fitzback who finally sourced the A/C system that I needed.  

André and his team designed and tested the system on the bench prior to attempting an installation in the car. Although it blew 10 degrees Celsius cold air, “the proof was in the pudding” as to how well it would actually work in the car.  

After considerable brainstorming, we elected to hide the compressor and electronic control module behind the spare tire in the trunk, with the condenser and fan tucked high in front of the muffler, and the evaporator and blower sitting proudly between Louise and I.  

Electronic control module and compressor in the trunk.
Condenser and fan in front of the muffler.
Dryer and expansion valve mounted in front of condenser.
Evaporator and blower behind firewall in front passenger compartment.
Room for 4 hoses to be attached ( 2 shown installed) to route cold air.

As you can see, the system comes with four flexible tubes that can send the cold air where you desire. I plan to eventually make a neat console that will hide the Chernobyl looking evaporator/blower unit.
   
Although the system works perfectly well, there is still room for improvement, such as a way to increase the 12 volt alternator by ten amps or more.  In order to compensate for electric power, should I require a full day of A/C, I currently fully charge my battery with an external charger the night before, but if my travel consists of highway driving at 80km plus, there is no issue at all.  It’s really the stop and go scenario that taxes the alternator.

I have found it to be a very reliable system and as efficient as any in a modern car.  All the components are hidden — you see nothing when you open the hood.

Garage Fitzback in St-Hyacinthe, QC are the sole representative in Canada of both the Easy-Drive and the All Electric A/C. 

2 comments

  1. Did you guys consider mounting the evaporator/blower unit behind the front seats where there is so much space in the passenger compartment, and then just run the flexible hoses for cold air from there along an insulated floor compartment to the front and up into the dashboard area? Just wondering as that would presumably give you almost all the original floor space in the front.

  2. We did consider installing the evaporator in the back but quickly abandoned the idea because of the lack of access to the two control knobs and also the space for Louise’s wheelchair when we take it along.

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