Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - Living With Classics -

1 Typ­i­cal clas­sic ma­trix

A typ­i­cal clas­sic coolant-fed heater ma­trix is of­ten a small, chunky ra­di­a­tor fea­tur­ing an in­let and out­let tank ei­ther side of a ra­di­a­tor core. The core is made from a net­work of nar­row cop­per or alu­minium tubes with tiny cool­ing el­e­ments at­tached. Cool air is drawn across these el­e­ments by the fan and heat thus trans­fers to it. The now-warmed air is blown through trunk­ing and di­rected wher­ever it is needed.

2 Early type sa­loon heaters

Some of the ear­li­est types of sa­loon heaters were pro­pri­etary units, made by man­u­fac­tur­ers such as Smiths or Clay­ton and could eas­ily be added to al­most any wa­ter-cooled ve­hi­cle. Although they lacked so­phis­ti­ca­tion and only re­cir­cu­lated sa­loon air, they were a mas­sive step for­ward for in­car com­fort, bring­ing shin-singe­ing warmth to front seat pas­sen­gers and a waft of warm air to the wind­screen.

3 Typ­i­cal clas­sic heater/demis­ter sys­tem

The heat­ing and demist­ing sys­tem is rel­a­tively sim­ple in many clas­sic cars. Fresh air is drawn in from out­side – of­ten through a grille in the scut­tle – and passed over the ma­trix. The warmed air is then blown out of the heater box and di­rected ei­ther to the screens or to the sa­loon by a driver op­er­ated flap. A mod­icum of heat grad­u­a­tion is of­fered by the in­clu­sion of a vari­able valve reg­u­lat­ing the amount of coolant flow and so al­ter­ing the ra­tio be­tween in­com­ing cool air and ma­trix heat.

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