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Hot Rods Windshield without a frame, can it be done

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Johnson's Fab Shop, Jan 4, 2022.

  1. Johnson's Fab Shop
    Joined: Oct 26, 2017
    Posts: 15

    Johnson's Fab Shop
    Member

    I did some searching, but didn’t find anything to quite answer my question.

    I am building a ‘29 Model A roadster and was wondering if it is possible to run a windshield without a frame. I’ve seen them without the top rail on the windshield all the time, but I’d like to run no top rail and no bottom rail. I was thinking I would bond the side channels of the windshield frame to the windshield glass and attach that to the windshield stanchions. No top frame, no bottom frame just the sides (No seal under the windshield either). The windshield glass will probably be 6.5” to 7” tall. Up to this point I’ve been running with no windshield at all, and just wanted to change things up a bit.

    My brother who builds hot rods professionally said he has never done that, and doesn’t know if the windshield would just flex and crack under the pressure from the wind. He said simply
    that nobody has ever asked him to do that before.

    What are some of everyone’s thoughts on this? Would it just crack, or would it hold up?
     
  2. KevKo
    Joined: Jun 25, 2009
    Posts: 765

    KevKo
    Member
    from Motown

    I think it would break very easily. Why do you want an air gap at the bottom?
    A 3-piece windshield with a center divider would offer more support, but I think it will still break.
     
  3. nunattax
    Joined: Jan 10, 2011
    Posts: 2,798

    nunattax
    Member
    from IRELAND

    i .think a vee d windshield would work.modern adhesives are extremely strong.glass would need to be cut accurately.how fast were you thinking of going?
     
  4. PhilA
    Joined: Sep 6, 2018
    Posts: 1,446

    PhilA
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    That's one of the highest air pressure points of the car when it's moving. You'd also need inviting it to resonate and whistle with a gap underneath, the air will be very turbulent on the inside without. I wouldn't imagine a laminated pane lasting too long before developing cracks from the stress.
     
    Hnstray likes this.

  5. Asking a bunch of traditional guys about something that is far from our way of building hot rods is really not the target demographic for something as edgy as floating windshield.

    I would think some of the street rod sites my have better knowledge on a subject like this. HRP
     
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  6. oldiron 440
    Joined: Dec 12, 2018
    Posts: 2,830

    oldiron 440
    Member

    I saw a roadster with a curved glass once that was set into the cowl with only a couple inches of support above the cowl. I dont know why it couldn't be done with a flat glass.
     
  7. BJR
    Joined: Mar 11, 2005
    Posts: 7,476

    BJR
    Member

    Because a curve is much stronger than a flat.
     
  8. Talk to a glass guy.

    If you kept the bottom gap tight, buffeting or turbulence should not be that bad.

    it’s not like it’s a 10’ length of glass , might need to go with a thicker pane the normal , but I think it could work.
     
  9. sodbuster
    Joined: Oct 15, 2001
    Posts: 5,017

    sodbuster
    Member
    from Kansas

    @Kevin Lee had a great front windshield on his modified that he built back in the day. I will do a quick search to see if I can find it in the archives.

    Chris
     
  10. Tman
    Joined: Mar 2, 2001
    Posts: 36,078

    Tman
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I did just that. I annealed some aluminum channel then riveted and bonded them to "boxed" posts. The window was glued in with a T seal on the bottom.

    [​IMG]
     
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  11. pitman
    Joined: May 14, 2006
    Posts: 5,151

    pitman

    Yes, you could. I'd reccomend. looking over some Brit sport car w/s's. If you borrowed some A or '32 side curtain mounts, they have single pivot axis (it is vertical) and rotated these down to closely follow the cowl. The mounting bends, as needed, used, to match each glass upon a centerline. Typ these appear as googles on Brit cars. A rubber gasket seal used on 3 lower sides. Can even use cowl mount wipers. The axis of mounting must be slightly above, max air pressure 'line' at your upper cruising speed.
    Think about it!
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2022
  12. Talk to a glass guy, ask about using tempered glass. You can have tempered flat glass made. Not technically legal in the US but does have the needed strength. Safer too; in the event of an accident, do you really want to risk coming in contact with a broken edge of laminated glass?
     
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  13. ratrod0
    Joined: Apr 15, 2005
    Posts: 1,139

    ratrod0
    Member

    Ok I have used 1/4" Lexian, no top,bottom, or sides message me if interested
     
  14. twenty8
    Joined: Apr 8, 2021
    Posts: 959

    twenty8
    Member

    I am a glass guy..............:rolleyes:

    Laminated toughened glass would be the go. That way it would meet code. Increase the thickness a little to increase the strength. Adding a curve will make it much stronger.

    By the way, how much do you think something like this will cost? Whatever figure you have in mind, I will guarantee you it will be surprisingly more than you expect.

    Polycarbonate or acrylic sheet might be worth investigating........;)
     
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  15. Tman
    Joined: Mar 2, 2001
    Posts: 36,078

    Tman
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Mine was normal laminated glass. Held up fine under everyday driving. My cowl was braced for cowl steering which helps. I did crack one by jacking one corner of the car up wayyy to damn high. I made a matte board and my local glass guy cut it out and sanded the edges. I think I paid $35 for it
     
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  16. twenty8
    Joined: Apr 8, 2021
    Posts: 959

    twenty8
    Member

    [​IMG]

    This one works ...................
     
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  17. Johnson's Fab Shop
    Joined: Oct 26, 2017
    Posts: 15

    Johnson's Fab Shop
    Member

    Thanks for the replies and stuff to think about.

    With both technically not legal, I'd probably do polycarbonate before tempered glass. I have a friend that owns a glass shop, so I will be talking to him about glass, as he would be the one cutting the glass. I wont be running windshield wipers so that's not an issue, and turbulence inside isn't a concern either. If the gap is too big or too small, it might whistle though, that is a good point to think about. Although I almost always run the windshield on my M35 cracked open at the bottom and it doesn't whistle.
     
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  18. Tman
    Joined: Mar 2, 2001
    Posts: 36,078

    Tman
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I had less than $100 bucks in mine after finding some swap meet T posts. The aluminum was from the hardware store, About $10.
     
  19. twenty8
    Joined: Apr 8, 2021
    Posts: 959

    twenty8
    Member

    ^^^ Sorry, went to edit my post and accidently deleted it. ^^^
    Yours is a nice result for the money you spent.
     
  20. Tman
    Joined: Mar 2, 2001
    Posts: 36,078

    Tman
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Thanks!
     
  21. 33 cdan man
    Joined: Sep 15, 2016
    Posts: 178

    33 cdan man

    My thought would be to do a cowl mod and create a channel perhaps 3'' deep that the glass would slide down into and glue in place. There would be no gap at the bottom, and it would be frameless.
     
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  22. twenty8
    Joined: Apr 8, 2021
    Posts: 959

    twenty8
    Member

    That would work, and would really look schmick............:cool::cool::cool:

    The glass would probably have to be thicker. Two sheets laminated with an automotive interlayer giving a total thickness of around 7/16ths would be heaps strong, and I think the extra thickness would add to the appeal.

    I would look into somehow clamping the glass into the channel with the fixings hidden under the cowl, and then run a sealer bead around the edge between glass and cowl. If fully glued in it will be a major pain in the ass if it breaks.
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2022
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  23. nrgwizard
    Joined: Aug 18, 2006
    Posts: 1,622

    nrgwizard
    Member
    from Minn. uSA

    Couple of options. You could do the so-called "hi-tech" (Hahahahahahah... ;) ) which was the center cut out of a very low-dbl-curved w/s, like say, a chev pu/van from the 70's?-80-90's or so. Appeared almost flat till you looked at it correctly. Hey, cheap used glass is cheap for the budget. I doubt I'd spend the coin for new. For all the "if it ain't old, it ain't here" folks, look for an old, say 50's IH truck maybe 2.5T. W/s were rather curved, could cut out the center easily. & the fkn thing is pre-'65. Only reason it didn't get back done then is due to it not being thought of. Custom car guys all wanted 1-piece curved w/s. Hotrod guys never thought that far ahead.

    If you absolutely need flat glass, ask your glass-buddy about w/s glass for an older(80-90's)Gillig Phantom bus. At least 1/4"(+) thick, properly legal laminated stuff. Nothing spl in terms of material(s). I'd try old bus-yards or semi-yards to see what they had, unless your buddy has it sitting somewhere. Should be stupid-cheap at a yard, if there's any around. Very heavy, & lots of area to cut what you need, incl the tinted top if you want. Not gonna bend when it's as short as you want it. Personally, I'd like to see the w/s bottom edge supported by at least a rubber sealing strip against the cowl, as it provides a couple of benefits but that's just me.

    Or whatever he suggests. A 7" high w/s is like a ribbon, not much there.
    Marcus...
     
  24. What would Boyd do?
     
  25. wheeldog57
    Joined: Dec 6, 2013
    Posts: 2,314

    wheeldog57
    Member

    @X38 you beat me to it. Boyd pretty much invented it
     
  26. desotot
    Joined: Jan 29, 2008
    Posts: 1,923

    desotot
    Member

    A very slight curve if the windshield is big enough to cut it out of would be a FCW 173. VW beetle.
     
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  27. ratrod0
    Joined: Apr 15, 2005
    Posts: 1,139

    ratrod0
    Member

    that's exactly what I did for a track t that I did
     
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  28. oliver westlund
    Joined: Dec 19, 2018
    Posts: 1,344

    oliver westlund
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Seems like something a restoration guy would say.... guys did all kinds of stuff back in the day! He didnt say put a 1995 ford wimdshield on, he said remove a part. Not sure how that qualifies as bein non traditional... i still see rods unearthed all the time with things done ive never seen before
     
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  29. krylon32
    Joined: Jan 29, 2006
    Posts: 7,921

    krylon32
    Alliance Vendor
    from Nebraska

    I did it on a 32 roadster almost 40 years ago. Made some milled side posts with a slot, urethane d the sides to the post and did a tidy urethane job on the cowl and left the top edge frame less, Lasted over 20,00 miles, was still solid when I sold it.
     
    oliver westlund likes this.
  30. That's what he wants to leave out, hence the question.;)
     

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