Skip to main content

The History of Aftermarket Auto Air Conditioning

Boy! That Air Feels Good!, by Rod Barclay, covers the story of how three pioneers: a Fort Worth  department store owner, a Dallas Cadillac dealer and a Dallas manufacturer of cotton gin machinery, started a thriving local industry that became world class, peaked in the 1990s, and is still alive today.
It took seven years after the close of World War II for Detroit to air condition their cars; it took only two years for the three Texas companies, A.R.A., Frigikar and Mark IV, to do it themselves. By 1953, when Detroit finally introduced ‘Factory Air,’ these companies had already shipped 10,000 units. Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) became the world center for auto air conditioning with over thirty companies active in the field. These companies became the leading source for A/C kits that were installed by car dealers, service stations and giant retailers all over the country. European and Asian auto manufacturers flocked to DFW to equip their cars with A/C, being about ten years behind the US. Texas companies became leading suppliers of A/C systems installed in imported vehicles at Port of Entry facilities throughout the US.
The book tells how these little companies learned how to work together in the face of Detroit’s marketing muscle, and how Detroit miscalculated the demand for A/C, and the number of cars on the road without A/C. It also covers the effects of growth on the little companies and the eventual take-over by big business with effects good and bad. Boy! That Air Feels Good! is the first and only book to cover the aftermarket A/C industry as a whole, and is based on extensive research and interviews with surviving members and descendants of the original company founders.
Boy! That Air Feels Good! (160 pages, 129 photos and illustrations) is available at: and will soon be available in bookstores world wide.
Rod Barclay is a mechanical and Industrial Designer and editor of the North Texas Wheel, the regional newsletter of the Studebaker Drivers Club Inc. of South Bend, IN. He is active in classic car restoration and lives with his wife, Nancy and three miniature wire-haired dachshunds.
The Mobile Air Conditioning Society’s blog has been honored as the best business to business blog in the Automotive Aftermarket by the Automotive Communications Awards and the Car Care Council Women’s Board!

When having your mobile A/C system professionally serviced, insist on proper repair procedures and quality replacement parts. Insist on recovery and recycling so that refrigerant can be reused and not released into the atmosphere.
If you’re a service professional and not a MACS member yet, you should be, for more information.
You can E-mail us at . To locate a Mobile Air Conditioning Society member repair shop in your area. Click here  to find out more about your car’s mobile A/C and engine cooling system.
The 34th annual Mobile Air Conditioning Society (MACS) Worldwide Training Conference and Trade Show, Power Up  will take place January 16-18 2014 at the Sheraton New Orleans.

2 responses to “The History of Aftermarket Auto Air Conditioning”

  1. tom kreimeier says:

    Packard had factory air in the 1940’s and Cadillac and American motors in the 1950’s , maybe earlier.
    On Tue, Jun 18, 2013 at 10:15 AM, Mobile Air Conditioning Society (MACS)

  2. After exploring a handful of the blog posts on your web page, I seriously like your way of blogging.
    I book-marked it to myy bookmmark website list andd
    will be checking back in the near future. Please check out my web
    site too and leet me know your opinion.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *