Up until this past summer, if you wanted to wire your car the old-fashioned way-with a quality (insulated) cloth-wrapped wire, that is-you literally had to do it the old-fashioned way, meaning individual wire by individual wire, as there weren't any full-vehicle harnesses previously available. (You could, however, have an automotive electrician scratch-wire your car, but it's getting harder and harder to find skilled individuals still willing to perform this.)

Fortunately, someone who could do something about this finally did. Thanks to American Autowire you can equip your car with one of their proven Highway 15 harnesses and get that old-timey look only a cloth-wrapped wire can provide. With their new-and-improved Nostalgia version, every single wire, from the heavy-gauge main power feed to the gauges and even the horn button, features fully insulated cloth covering, just like the good old days. But contrary to how it was back in the day with the uninsulated wire, you won't have any potential meltdown worries (granted you've taken the precautions and got secure grounding and terminal connections as well).

When I learned of American Autowire's latest at the NSRA Nats last August, my mind was more than made up-that's just what I was going to use to wire my '39, no qualms about it. My eagerness, however, may come back to haunt me, as my wish was granted and I was given the opportunity to install one of the very first harness kits. The haunting part would turn out to be that the week I chose to do the said install ended up being during the final production stages of this issue. No big deal, really, except for the fact that, that same week wound up having not only the hottest days of August, but literally of the entire summer with an average temp of 110 (yeah, boo hoo, I know). Had it not been for my garage's lack of adequate ventilation, let alone any type of air conditioning, I wouldn't have been in such a heated predicament. Luckily, I was able to knock out an old inoperable window and rig up a box fan to keep the warm air moving, which allowed me to string my '39 with the new wiring kit without too much of a sweaty mess.

Extreme conditions aside, I'm still glad I chose this particular kit as my virgin attempt at a full vehicle rewire. While it may not have each individual wire screen printed (with source/termination), like any of American Autowire's other harness kits, the Nostalgia Highway 15 did come with detailed schematics for each and every section, which are grouped alphabetically to help make things even easier. With 15 circuits (which is more than plenty for this project, but those requiring additional ones should consider the Highway 22), a 175-amp Maxi fuse main circuit breaker, ignition/headlight/dimmer switches, and enough terminal connectors to last till the next project, this kit has it all.

On the user's end, you'll not only need to be familiar with open-barrel type crimps, but have the proper tools in which to perform these styles of crimp (yes, that was plural-see the sidebar for more on the Delphi terminals), as well as standard non-insulated/insulated terminal crimps. Furthermore, it's strongly recommended the user be outfitted with the appropriate soldering equipment-if not, call in a favor from a friend who's a proficient solderer (soldering connectors helps promote conductivity).

Along with crimping pliers, wire cutters, solder, and soldering iron, you'll also need a means by which to shrink heat shrink tubing-an old Bic lighter will do, but a handheld mini-torch or even a heat gun will also do ... better. Finally, since you'll be dealing with yards of wiring, have a way to secure all that wire: a big bag of 4-inch zip ties as well as sufficient frame clamps are a good start. Or you could laboriously cotton wrap the wiring for that true, old-time look!