Dale Amy
October 1, 2008
Though the Melvins may think it heresy to do any such thing to a Shelby, one of Editor Turner's first upgrades for his GT500 was Classic Design Concepts' brilliant Glassback roof system.

Horse Sense: The Glassback's solar-absorbing film layer actually has heat-whisking technology to shrug off unwanted BTUs.

Sometime this summer, a factory-installed glass roof panel will find its way onto the Mustang option list. This is good and timely news if you're thinking about picking up an '09 V-6 or GT; it's not such good news if you have a GT500 on order because the glass roof isn't a factory Shelby option. Nor does it help those who already own an S197 in need of some cabin luminosity.

But fear not: As many readers already know, Classic Design Concepts has you covered. In fact, it was the debut of CDC's Glassback roof system on the company's SEMA-star '05 GT (June '05, p. 64) that directly inspired Ford's decision to add the option.

CDC's Glassback consists of two layers of laminated glass (similar to a windshield), with a layer of solar-reflective/solar-tinted material in between to protect interior materials and occupants from 99 percent of the sun's UVB rays. The view from inside is panoramic; the light beams in, yet the heat doesn't.

Our fearless leader opted to forego stripes on his Vapor Metallic GT500, so you can see that in comparison to our lead shot, the roof looked bland before our metal-to-glass surgery began.

Still, it's reasonable to question the roof's structural integrity. As you'll see in the following photos, no structural elements of the roof are impacted by installation of the Glassback-only a single, central layer of sheetmetal is removed, leaving all of the roof's substructure intact. In fact, the Glassback passes the government's FMVSS 216 roof-crush test. As a bonus, given the increase in thickness and stiffness over the removed section of sheetmetal skin, the Glassback is also said to decrease wind and road noise. Plus, the installation details and hardware are of OEM quality. But fear not: None of this practicality makes the Glassback any less cool. That's why Editor Turner wants it as one of the first modifications to his new Shelby.

Unlike most of CDC's top-notch Mustang enhancements, however, this one isn't intended to be installed by you or me in our driveways. In fact, the Glassback is only available through a continent-wide network of professional installers. Just the same, we thought you'd be interested in seeing the process as the editor-in-chief's new GT500 is can-opened at CDC's headquarters in the name of a brighter future. Let those lumens shine in.