Jim Smart
January 14, 2014

For those who are building and restoring vintage Fords, Mercurys, and Lincolns, one of the toughest tasks has always been finding reproduction or new-old-stock glass to complete a restoration project. Sometimes, you hit pay dirt on eBay or the classifieds. Other times, you happen to be at the right place at the right time and there it is. But what about all those scratches? JR Distributor International wants to take the fuss out of your search for vintage Ford auto glass. It stocks a huge selection of glass for a wide variety of vintage Fords including Mustang, Falcon, Fairlane, Torino, Cougar, and a host of other Ford nameplates.

Paul Gammarino of Mustangs & Fast Fords OC in Santa Ana, California, invited us in to his shop to witness the wrap up of the company's showroom project, a '66 Mustang fastback. Final project wrap up includes the installation of window glass on all four sides. MFFOC decided to go with tinted glass from JR Distributor International, which conforms to the original factory window glass and fits like a glove. When it comes to classic Mustangs, JRD has it in three different forms—clear, tinted, and smoked, so no one knows what you're doing in there while you're cruising the drag.

In this article, we'll show you the new glass from JR Distributor International, and how to install the windshield and backlite without making a too much of a mess. If you've ever used non-curing windshield sealer before, you understand what we're talking about. It is the nastiest goop you've ever worked with, but it works. Used properly, it seals very well and will last for years.

Wing windows and side glass are easier to replace, and forgo the mess. We get asked a lot what to use. It is best to use window glass butyl seal tape available at nearly any auto body supply or glass shop. Use either soapy water or mineral spirits for lubrication. When it dries, you will have secure window glass ready for operation.

1. It is important to recognize the two types of windshield/backlite molding clips used on vintage Fords. On the left is the screw type used primarily before 1966. On the right is the pop-on type used with the T-stud welded to the body.
2. This is the clip used with a T-stud, though it may also be used with a small screw.
3. Here’s the screw type windshield clip installed using a stainless steel screw.
4. After injecting a super thin bead of 3M Automotive Bedding and Glazing Compound in the gasket’s glass slot, apply soapy water to the slot and glass for easy fitment. Begin the installation in the corner and work around, paying very close attention to how the gasket seats. Continue to work the gasket on while rocking it back and forth. The glass must be fully seated in the seal.
5. The best windshield sealer for gasket-style windshields and backlites is 3M’s Automotive Bedding and Glazing Compound, which never goes hard. It remains pliable to where it holds back leaks and flexes with seal and body. Once you have secured the seal to the glass, apply a very thin bead of compound to the outer primeter groove to prepare it for installation into the vehicle.
6. Heavy duty cord, such as lawnmower engine starter cord, is inserted in the gasket’s outer perimeter slot and should look like this at both ends. The cord will be used to pop the gasket lip inside the body during glass installation and seating.
7. The gasket lip gets a light dressing of petroleum jelly around the outside perimeter to ease installation and prevent binding.
8. The backlite is positioned and readied for installation. You can do this by yourself, but it is easier with a helper. Notice the cord is taped to the inside surface of the glass.
9. An outside helper applies pressure to the glass as the cord is pulled. Pulling the cord allows the gasket lip to pop inside allowing the glass to seat. Ideally, there will be two people outside applying pressure to each side.
9. An outside helper applies pressure to the glass as the cord is pulled. Pulling the cord allows the gasket lip to pop inside allowing the glass to seat. Ideally, there will be two people outside applying pressure to each side.
10. If the glass and gasket seated properly, the gasket should look like this against the molding clips. The backlite/windshield molding will pop over this clip.
11. Most of the time, you can count on some frustration while getting the gasket seated. The lip is gently worked with a putty knife with pressure applied to the glass to get it seated.
12. There are all kinds of approaches to sealing. This approach has worked best for MFFOC, where modest amounts of sealer are applied deep inside the outer lip to seal the glass and gasket. Leakage is often problematic between the glass and gasket because installers don’t apply sealer here.
13. Sealer is injected deep between the gasket and body to where this entire cavity is full of sealer. Inject and fill the perimeter. And no matter what you may think, fastback backlites will leak most of the time by their very nature of water retention. This is why you fill this cavity to where body color cannot be seen.
14. With the sealer still tacky, the molding is installed and gently finessed into place using the palm of your hand. We’ve seen installers use mallets and wood blocks, which will damage stainless every time. Use your palm and gently press the stainless in place. Listen for the clip. Use mineral spirits to clean up excess sealer.