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I was watching a show on T.V. and the car they were working on was some kind of foreign vehicle. They were removing all the glass and the mechanic was told to be very careful with the glass, as it is not available anywhere. I'm curious, what do people do for glass if a piece was broken? Is there such a place that can make custom glass somehow? What would the process be to get say a so called irreplaceable windshield?

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Ask restorer32, he had to get custom made curved glass for an old electric car they were restoring.  I would expect it to be $$$$, especially if you have to pay to get a custom mold made.

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A friend of mine in the glass business wanted to have 20 windshields made for a 1975 Chrysler convertible.

 The factory told him that for every one made in 1957, one was broken in the process.

 No way would they even try to fill his order!

 

 They are almost imposable to find. He has two of them and will not sell them to anyone in case he ever buys a 300. as he is a 300 nut.

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No such thing as “irreplaceable glass”.*


For past 25 or so years, I’ve produced hundreds of custom, one-off, prototype or small run compound curved windshields, rear & side windows, etc for variety of exotic and/or vintage vehicles, including some displayed/featured at shows like Cavallino Classic, Pebble Beach, etc.

Most have been known to fit better than originals, while rest have ended up at least “as good as OEM”.

 

* Another example why one shouldn't believe everything they see on TV or other media, be it print, screen, social, etc.

Edited by TTR (see edit history)
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When I sold our 1952 Kaiser Manhattan, I included the spare NOS "Widow's Peak" front and rear windshields as part of the deal. The next caretakers would have a difficult time sourcing either of these, should they ever be needed

Edited by Marty Roth
typo (see edit history)
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48 minutes ago, joe_padavano said:

I suspect the actual term was "not economically replaceable".

I'd imagine that depends on ones budgetary/economic considerations.

If one has a rare one-off and perhaps relatively valuable, let's say 6 figures or more, and otherwise complete vehicle missing a windshield or other glass, ....

... is it not worth spending 4 or low 5 figures to come up with them ?

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27 minutes ago, TTR said:

I'd imagine that depends on ones budgetary/economic considerations.

If one has a rare one-off and perhaps relatively valuable, let's say 6 figures or more, and otherwise complete vehicle missing a windshield or other glass, ....

... is it not worth spending 4 or low 5 figures to come up with them ?

 

Sure but I was referring specifically to the TV show discussed in the first post in this thread.

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33 minutes ago, joe_padavano said:

 

Sure but I was referring specifically to the TV show discussed in the first post in this thread.

Sorry, my bad, I haven’t paid much attention to it for past 25-30 years.

Got rid of mine back then, but in recent years living with my wife, I’ve been occasionally subjected to it, kind of like secondhand smoke. 

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Sounds like something said just before the 64 Barracuda rear glass falls off the table.

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I was restoring my then 1935 Pierce Arrow 845 coupe.  Headlights are quite bulbous, and rare is not the correct word.  I very carefully removed them, wrapped them in two towels, and set them on the shelf.

 

A couple of years go by, one day I needed a towel to wipe something off, grabbed the closest one with a yank, and have a great mental picture of the 4 or 5 acrobatic flips the glass performed before it hit the cement.

 

There are sometimes one just hangs one's head and shakes it. I didn't cry, I've only done that twice in my antique car life of 50+ years, but those are other stories..

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Years ago I worked for Ferrari and we had the glass cooling racks for early Ferrari windshields and back glass. There were several companies at the time that would make custom glass and we would rent the racks out to them to shape the glass correctly.

 

 

 

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7 hours ago, Restorer32 said:

 

Doesn’t seem terribly expensive, especially if no other direct costs, like having to make or produce templates, etc was required.

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In one episode of Wheeler Dealers they found an auto glass company that visually matched the contours of the original glass to that of a modern, easily-obtained replacement windshield.  They then cut the new windshield down to size and installed it.

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30 minutes ago, Harold said:

In one episode of Wheeler Dealers they found an auto glass company that visually matched the contours of the original glass to that of a modern, easily-obtained replacement windshield.  They then cut the new windshield down to size and installed it.

This approach has often been taken for decades by people customizing/modifying by “chopping” (=lowering) the roofs of post war (‘50s/‘60s/etc) cars with curved windshields. 

Due to variations in curvature geometry of intended “candidate” glass, most usually end up more/less ill-fitting, not to mention how many “candidates” are broken during initial cutting-down process.

 

More “dramatically” curved the windshield is (think mid-to-late ‘50s “panoramic” ones), more likely the ill-fit of finished product will be, but I guess that’s why automotive gods gave us large tubes of (silicon, etc) sealants.

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Friends recently had a 57-ish Ferrari Superamerica done - it was about 20K for windshield and 20K for rear window, plus a couple thousand in shipping and maybe another 20K in labor dealing with issue, installing and ....  

 

You will roll your eyes = they focused on the windshield as did not want to invest otherwise in car until the project was done.  They then when done and mounted they started restoring car - they then found the rear was a Perspecs plastic window and they had thought it to be glass - so off they went on round two.  The body was restored on the frame at more expense as project revolved around the glass. 

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6 hours ago, John_Mereness said:

Friends recently had a 57-ish Ferrari Superamerica done - it was about 20K for windshield and 20K for rear window, plus a couple thousand in shipping and maybe another 20K in labor dealing with issue, installing and ....  

 

You will roll your eyes = they focused on the windshield as did not want to invest otherwise in car until the project was done.  They then when done and mounted they started restoring car - they then found the rear was a Perspecs plastic window and they had thought it to be glass - so off they went on round two.  The body was restored on the frame at more expense as project revolved around the glass. 

And some have considered my production costs expensive !?!

 

The most "expensive" production I've done was a windshield (with 2 spares) for a '59 Ferrari 250GT California "Competizione Clienti" around $25K - $30K, but that included several other (related) things like restoration (= fabrication, reforming/-fitting, re-chroming, etc) of the windshield frame + related hardware, all which had to be done before I could even start making the template and molds for the glass, etc.

 

And all this was performed on a car that had been freshly/fully restored (in Italy, by one of their most renown shops specializing in restoration of Ferraris), due to windshield in the car being cracked because of poor fit of it and all associated frame work. I believe that glass, in the car before my involvement, was one of those cut/trimmed down windshields from "something else"(?) they had tried to make (sort of) work.

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2 minutes ago, TTR said:

And some have considered my production costs expensive !?!

 

The most "expensive" production I've done was a windshield (with 2 spares) for a '59 Ferrari 250GT California Clienti Comp. around $25K-$30K, but that included several other  (related) things like reforming/restoration of the windshield frame (some sections I had to fabricated from scratch, etc), which all had to be done before I could even start with making the template, mold and glass.

 

And I had to do all this on a car that was freshly/fully restored (in Italy, by one of their most renown shops specializing in restoration of Ferraris), due to windshield in the car being cracked because of poor fit of it and all associated frame work.

I would say pretty much the same money.  They received a spare as well - which was good as they broke a windshield in installation.  Safety glass too. 

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26 minutes ago, John_Mereness said:

... as they broke a windshield in installation.  

Sounds like incompetence or perhaps not that good fit.

 

26 minutes ago, John_Mereness said:

Safety glass too. 

So are all mine.

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40 minutes ago, TTR said:

I believe that glass (in the car before my involvement) was one of those cut/trimmed down windshields from "something else"(?) they had tried to make (sort of) work.

OTOH, I also believe the car had been completely rebodied during restoration and it's coachwork symmetry (or lack thereof) appeared likely even much worse than OEM, so...

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3 hours ago, Harold said:

In one episode of Wheeler Dealers they found an auto glass company that visually matched the contours of the original glass to that of a modern, easily-obtained replacement windshield.  They then cut the new windshield down to size and installed it.

 

There is an old guy around here that has specialized in "Old Car Glass" for ever, And has told me of how he can make these chopped windows and such from late model windshields.

But I suspect that he has outlived his usefulness.

He stuck it to me pretty good and did sloppy work that I redid myself ten times better.  I tipped him well just to be left out in the cold when I brought up the problems.

I don't recommend him anymore. The worst advertising is charging a lot and not communicating with customers issues no matter whose fault it is.

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Surprisingly,  laminated safety glass is not bent after laminating. Two pieces of glass of slightly different radius are formed then laminated after they are bent. For the amount of work in fabricating three steel molds, bending the glass and then laminating it, I didn't think $4k was out of line. Molds were over $700 each.

 

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Most surprising thing I've experienced with glass productions is that even with the most advanced CNC glass forming technology available for todays automobile/commercial/industrial manufacturing, there are some compound curve windows found in +/-50 year old cars with shapes that cannot be exactly duplicated any longer.

I've devised/invented ways around that, but find it interesting how advances(?) in technology doesn't necessarily always mean things are easier to make now than before, if at all.

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Windshields for:

1953 Oldsmobile Fiesta, Buick Skylark and Cadillac Eldorado

1956-'57 Continental Mark II's 

1957-'60 Cadillac Eldorado Broughams

Facel-Vega FVS & HK500

 

All difficult and expensive to replace if necessary.

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32 minutes ago, 58L-Y8 said:

Windshields for:

1953 Oldsmobile Fiesta, Buick Skylark and Cadillac Eldorado

1956-'57 Continental Mark II's 

1957-'60 Cadillac Eldorado Broughams

Facel-Vega FVS & HK500

 

All difficult and expensive to replace if necessary.

How many of each do you want ?

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On 1/22/2021 at 5:05 PM, trimacar said:

I was restoring my then 1935 Pierce Arrow 845 coupe.  Headlights are quite bulbous, and rare is not the correct word.  I very carefully removed them, wrapped them in two towels, and set them on the shelf.

 

A couple of years go by, one day I needed a towel to wipe something off, grabbed the closest one with a yank, and have a great mental picture of the 4 or 5 acrobatic flips the glass performed before it hit the cement.

 

There are sometimes one just hangs one's head and shakes it. I didn't cry, I've only done that twice in my antique car life of 50+ years, but those are other stories..


I pulled the rear glass out of my 57 Chevy sport sedan (original glass) very carefully and wrapped it up in old quilts and bubble wrap to make sure it didn’t get broken.  I had it set in a very protected spot.  I went out the next morning and it was in a billion pieces.  I was sick.  I guess the stress relieving from being pulled out of the car caused other stresses.  No, that glass isn’t impossible to get, but it’s one of the least available from the 57 Chevys. 
 

I get my glass from Auto City Classic in Minnesota. 

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On 1/23/2021 at 10:16 AM, John_Mereness said:

I would say pretty much the same money.

Just wanted to add that while the Ferrari windshield job I referenced earlier ended up costing what it did, most of the one-off jobs have averaged somewhere between $5K-$10K.

 

And as far as I can recall, only time there was a serious final fitting problem with a glass I produced for one-off application was when the client brought the car (chopped top, heavily modified and exotic multi-color custom paint, etc.) to my shop for final installation, few months after I had created/fitted the template (at another shop commissioned to perform all other aforementioned “coach work”). 

Installation, which I had expected to take perhaps couple of hours, unexpectedly turned into 10+ hour all-nighter/nightmare, when after the initial attempt it became clear (to me*) “they” had changed/modified the roof position & shape, etc (after my template fabrication/fitting !) to probably compensate for inadequate(?) fit of other (side) windows, etc. which had not been worked on yet at the time I made the windshield template.

 

*I saw the “suggestive” evidence and later, after the installation was finished and the car/client/transporter/etc had left, confirmed my suspicions from photographs I had taken few months earlier.

During that night I even casually asked if anything had been changed or modified since the template was created and after receiving somewhat unconvincing “no”, decided not to press the issue at that time. I just wanted to amicably/honorably finish the job I was contracted to do and made a mental note never to work with these individuals again.

 

 

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On 1/23/2021 at 2:30 PM, JACK M said:

He stuck it to me pretty good and did sloppy work that I redid myself ten times better.  I tipped him well just to be left out in the cold when I brought up the problems.

I don't recommend him anymore. The worst advertising is charging a lot and not communicating with customers issues no matter whose fault it is.

 

Stop in if you see my garage door open. I have some comfortable chairs and I can tell you why I own what I own, why I do almost everything myself (maybe why some things aren't perfect), and why I can keep opening drawers to find more tools.

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18 minutes ago, 60FlatTop said:

 

Stop in if you see my garage door open. I have some comfortable chairs and I can tell you why I own what I own, why I do almost everything myself (maybe why some things aren't perfect), and why I can keep opening drawers to find more tools.

 I usually do most of my own work, but one of the things I cant seem to figure out is installing fixed windows.

The issues I had with this guy was him telling me about how familiar he was with the roller set up on the Chryslers and how he could make the windows roll like new. I gave him access to my parts car, but he never came for parts and cobbled up the thing leaving some parts out completely.

The last straw, the door windows were pretty loose in the tracks and he left a screw or nail head poking out from one of the fuzzies and when the door got puled closed the glass (custom by the way) went into that hail head and broke the window. Kinda disappointing to happen the first time the door was closed with the window down. This was the day after I picked it up. Paid cash and gave him a good tip ....... GRRR

Well it was a modified car any way so I stepped up and bought the good power window kits, fortunately had enough of the custom patterned glass to have another piece cut to fit, made my own tracks doing away completely with the roller system and have had no trouble with the door windows since.

Oh yea, he also cut and installed the windshield and it leaks, but he don't care.

 

The custom laminated glass has a special mylar sheet in the laminate that really wakes up in the sunlight, you might be able to see t in this picture.

You don't notice it when you are inside of the car.

 

 

IM003093.JPG

Edited by JACK M (see edit history)
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