The information offered in Chapter 6 would go largely overlooked, as most people tend to consider insulation and cabin sealing a separate subject from a climate system. However, just as with acceleration, a reduction in burden (whether weight or unintentional heat gain) is the same as an increase in performance (whether horsepower or Btu)—it doesn’t pay to waste power, whether on leaky seals or excessive weight. Here it’s considered part of an entire system as are the electrical components in Chapter 7. As noted, this is a comprehensive title.

Chapters 8, 9, 10, and 11 round out the theory with implementation; in this case installations in a tight street rod, a midsized muscle car, a full-sized cruiser, and a pickup. While each installation presents unique challenges, many of the tips dispensed along these seemingly diverse chapters are universal.

I don’t take personal endorsements lightly; it takes something special—a unique perspective, shrewd insight, novel information among other things—to make me put my reputation behind something. This is certainly one of those examples; this book is a must-have. And while it stands to reason this book was intended for those wanting to install or maintain their own systems, I maintain that it’s every bit as critical for those who intend to let someone else do the work. An educated consumer is a powerful one and the information provided in this book will give enthusiasts the ability to not just find a capable and honest installer but make the installation that much better. This book brings decades of preparation and detail to bear on the subject.

How to Air Condition Your Hot Rod

Jack L. Chisenhall and Norman Davis

Wolfgang Publications Inc.

ISBN 978-1-929133-44-4

Hot Rod Wiring: A Detailed How-To Guide

I consider myself pretty proficient with automotive electrical systems but when I saw the first edition of Hot Rod Wiring in the late ’90s I overlooked my pride and bought it. I regard it one of the smarter things I’ve done. It was largely the work of Painless Performance’s Dennis Overholser and it explained, in very plain language and in rather great detail, the essentials of automotive electrical systems.

As with any solid tutorial, it established a platform based on just how electricity worked. Then it built upon that platform in logical steps, explaining the functions of the various components commonly used in automotive electrical systems. It bridged the gaps in my knowledge and I refer to it to this day.

But I will no longer refer to my dog-eared first edition of Hot Rod Wiring. And for good reason: There’s a new edition of it.

Though the latest Hot Rod Wiring can trace its roots to my old copy, the differences are substantial enough to call it more of a new book than a later edition. For the most part both books follow the same basic layout (Electricity 101; Batteries, Starters, and Alternators; Switches; Instruments; and Accessory Wiring). And within these chapters Overholser and the Painless crew reveal a lot, from what a system needs, how to lay one out, how to properly attach terminals, and so on. Having worked with Overholser on several installations I can vouch that it’s a lot like having him look over your shoulder and dispense tips.

The diagrams for the various manufacturers’ charging systems is reason enough to buy this book, for it’s borderline impossible to make sense of OEM wiring and almost as hard to find a readable diagram online. I guarantee that you’ll find at least one trick or tip that will justify your investment.

The new book retains the fuel-injection chapter but expresses it in a different way. A general overview remains but included in the chapter are the wiring harnesses Painless was developing in the ’90s. So what follows the general overview isn’t instructions on how to combine existing OEM parts to adapt a system but how to use Painless’ specific-fit harnesses and ECU systems. Also included this time are two installations: one a universal wiring kit in a ’39 Ford and another a specific-fit kit in a ’72 GM pickup.