When we began restoring a '66 Mustang, glass replacement was the farthest thing from our minds. As a rule, we've always opted for the best used glass we could find. Original Ford Carlite glass is the best option when it can be found and salvaged for restoration use. Finding good Sun-X tinted Carlite glass for this Mustang project was anything but simple-the glass we found wasn't in show condition. Qualified glass shop talent can polish out minor scratches, but deep ones can't be removed. What's more, delaminated (fogged) windshields can't be saved.
To understand what you're going to need for your classic Mustang, you have to understand automotive window glass. There's only a handful of manufacturers remaining.
Ford's Carlite glass division has been making automotive glass for more than 80 years. The name first appeared in 1959 when it became an integral part of Ford's Parts & Services Group. That's when "Car Lite" was stamped on all Ford vehicles; it soon became one word. During the '90s, it shared space with Ford's oval logo on most factory-installed glass. When you purchase Carlite glass for your classic Mustang, you can see either or both logos.
In 2000, Ford's Carlite glass division was combined with other parts divisions to become Visteon Corpora-tion, a Ford Motor Company parts spin-off company. A year ago, the two companies agreed to transfer 23 former Visteon operations into a limited-liability holding company known as Automotive Component Holdings. This more or less got Ford out of the parts manufacturing business so it could shop for competitively priced components for new vehicles and its parts pipeline.
Carlite retains sole authorization for distribution of original equipment parts for Ford dealers and auto glass professionals. The brand is still the best choice for your vintage-Mustang glass needs.
The glass can be ordered and purchased from virtually any Carlite dealer in the United States, including your Ford dealer. For classic Mustangs, it gets trickier. The windshields remain available for '65-'70 Mustangs in all body styles. For '71-'73s, only hardtop and convertible glass is available. Carlite was investigating tempered glass for all classic Mustangs at press time.
Pittsburgh Plate Glass (PPG) has been producing glass for more than 100 years. As you might imagine, the company is a huge producer of automotive glass, including laminated and tempered glass for vintage Mustangs.
Our new Carlite windshield...
Our new Carlite windshield from Muscle City Glass was manufactured in Mexico.
When we contacted Barry Hawks at Muscle City Glass in Apollo Beach, Florida, we learned a lot about what's available for classic Mustangs. Barry opened his business out of shear frustration when searching for glass for his '64 1/2 Mustang convertible. Properly marked and date-coded genuine Carlite glass is available from Muscle City Glass. In fact, a complete '65-'68 Mustang hardtop glass package is available for $999, plus shipping and handling. N.O.S. glass is also available when found. Expect to spend more for N.O.S. Carlite glass, etching, and date coding. The average price for new date-coded glass for your classic Mustang is $1,200 for the entire car. Fastbacks may cost more; convertibles may cost less.
If you're going to have your glass date-coded, be very specific about where you want the Carlite logo and date coding positioned. If you don't, it could wind up anywhere.
Because Barry wants his customers to be happy with their glass purchase, he needs to know about the restoration and what's expected. Customers can't simply place an order and expect genuine Carlite glass. They must be very specific about the kind desired: clear or tinted, Carlite or another brand, and whether or not it should be date-coded.
Quality and fit are exceptional,...
Quality and fit are exceptional, as you would expect from Ford's own glass operation.
The current Carlite logo isn't...
The current Carlite logo isn't the same as it was for '65-'66. If you want that, tell Muscle City Glass. The company can either search for a N.O.S. Carlite windshield or have a no-name windshield custom-etched and date-coded.
Windshield thickness isn't...
Windshield thickness isn't what it was 40 years ago. You can actually hear sounds through a Carlite windshield today that you couldn't hear then. This windshield is laminated safety glass, which is PVB plastic polymer sandwiched between two layers of glass.
Side and rear-window glass...
Side and rear-window glass is tempered plate glass designed to break into small, harmless pieces. Our backlight for this project is a PPG Herculite tinted piece. We could've easily gotten a Carlite backlight for this effort.
Backlight thickness, as well...
Backlight thickness, as well as side-glass thickness, appears to be the same as original equipment.
For this article, we asked...
For this article, we asked Muscle City Glass for the "Car Lite" logo on date-coded side glass to see for ourselves. Our side glass came from Argentina.