Saturday 4th November 1939
The Packard Motor Company exhibited the first air-conditioned car at the fortieth Automobile Show in Chicago, Illinois, US. The “Weather Conditioner” was a $279 option that required the Packard One-Eighty to visit a second factory for installation, since the unit connected to the engine and took up half the trunk space; Packard pitched it as not just for comfort but privacy, since riders could finally arrive without having the windows down. Air in the car was cooled, dehumidified, filtered and recirculated, and heat was provided for use in the winter. Refrigerating coils were located behind the rear seats in an air duct, with heating coils in another compartment of the same duct. The capacity of the unit was equivalent to 1.5 tons of ice in 24 hours when the car was driven at 60 mph. The huge evaporator left little room for luggage in the trunk, and the only way to shut it off was to stop, raise the hood, and remove the compressor belt. The option didn’t sell well (there was no way to moderate the air from the unit) and Packard dropped it after 1942.