Unicla and the Midnight Technician

Unicla and the Midnight Technician
by Mark Mitchell

Unicla and the Midnight Technician
by Mark Mitchell

A colourful story about the fascinating people who supplied and shaped the vehicle air conditioning and transport refrigeration technology we now take for granted

Publication date: November 2020

Hardcover, in presentation slip case

Available to pre-order online:

$49 AUD

+ shipping

“Mitchell’s skilful storytelling ensures there is something for everyone here, whether you’re into technology, entrepreneurship, biographies or even post-war industrial history.”

Haitham Razagui, Editor of automotive electrical and thermal management journal SightGlass News

In the 1960s, a small Japanese company forged strong Australasian and North American connections that would influence many of the early pathways to the vehicle air conditioning and transport refrigeration technology we take for granted today.

Unicla and the Midnight Technician is a colourful story of dedicated people and innovators who eventually supplied and shaped a global market.

What follows is a story of resilience and tenacity, from a small workshop in Nagoya Japan to the streets of Texas USA; from a factory in the hot climate of Australia to building the business all over again in Hong Kong, China and Brisbane on the way to becoming an original equipment supplier to the world’s most fastidious vehicle maker, Daimler of Germany.

“With an engineer’s attention to detail, this entertaining and enlightening narrative not only captures the nuts and bolts, but also the heart and soul of an industry.”

Elvis L. Hoffpauir, President, Mobile Air Conditioning Society Worldwide

Mitchell describes how Unicla built a global reputation in the pioneering days of vehicle air conditioning, because its meticulous design and innovative technology meant the systems always fitted and worked properly.

Easing an enabling the early adoption of technologies we now take for granted is a key part of Unicla’s legacy: Today we expect the vehicles we travel in to be air conditioned and for our food to be transported by refrigerated truck.

Woven into the human interest and swashbuckling business threads of Unicla and the Midnight Technician are insights into various engineering and technical developments pioneered, redefined or perfected by Unicla over five decades.

Australasia’s pivotal role in the Unicla story is also described in the book, including Mitchell’s own 38 years of involvement from customer to supplier and eventually major shareholder.

“Unicla and the Midnight Technician is an inspirational story of people, dedication, leadership and enduring relationships, a story to be proud of.”

Ian Stangroome, President, Automotive Air Conditioning, Electrical and Cooling Technicians of Australasia

The term Midnight Technician comes from Unicla’s company culture and design ethos, which has always been to embrace the plight of engineers and technicians who work in the field to install and maintain systems and keep them running, often late at night.

Unicla’s latest eDrive compressors, for the hybrid and electric vehicle era, were designed with the same level of consideration for the challenges faced everywhere in the world – late at night, by Midnight Technicians.

“This is a must-read story to understand the dedication, motivation, knowledge and hard work that is behind creating a company like Unicla.”

Michael R. Ingvardsen, President, MACPartners Europe

As author Mark Mitchell put it: “This book acknowledges not just Unicla’s unique technological achievements, but the people who worked on them.”

About the author

Mark Mitchell began his involvement with Unicla as an Australian dealer in the early 1980s and became one of its owners in 2006. Today his job description with Unicla is Director – Global Marketing and Technical Support.

Once a Midnight Technician himself, Mitchell was often called out late at night to restore life to a refrigeration or air conditioning system on a passenger coach or a transport containing a valuable food cargo.

His first book, The Sultan of Slide – a Privateer’s Story is a biography of his father, the late Bob Mitchell, who was the most successful Australian motorbike sidecar rider at a Grand Prix level in the history of international sidecar racing, achieved during the 1950s.