^ Removing the footwell plates will only keep the cockpit cooler if the cabin circulation is on (outside air is closed off). For cool weather driving, it's best to re-install the footwell plates using velcro to prevent cold drafts.
Insulate the center spline between the dash and the radiator to improve AC cooling. I'm doing this soon. That's the easiest fix to minimize heat from the radiator from reaching your 4" HVAC hose and even the dash. That alone won't stop the HVAC box from heat soaking as the heater core is nearby, so consider the variable Heater Core Bypass Mod to keep the AC blowing super cold.