1964-1967 GM A-body and 1967 F-body vent window restoration and glass repair
Remember when vent windows were standard equipment on nearly every vehicle manufactured by General Motors, Ford and Chrysler?
With few exceptions, the vast majority of automobiles built from the mid 1930s through the late 1960s had vent windows. First offered by GM in 1933 on closed bodies, vent windows were originally called “No-Draft Individually Controlled Ventilation.”
The vent window was a big step forward in an era of the manually-operated cowl vents. The vent window offered drivers and passengers a new alternative for interior ventilation, one that eliminated the draft and buffeting inside the vehicle caused by driving with the door glass rolled part way down. Following GM’s lead, most manufacturers added vent windows to the front doors of their vehicles. Vent windows became so popular that they also started to appear on rear doors for a time.
Harley Earl, the legendary head of GM Art and Color, was influential in the adoption of the “Streamline Moderne” movement of the 1930s. This new design trend was exemplified by the innovative appearance of vehicles such as the 1933 Cadillac V-16 Aero-Dynamic Coupe, the 1934 LaSalle and the 1938 Buick Y-Job. Notably, each had vent windows that were seamlessly integrated into their design, and reflected the popularity of this new feature. Beginning in 1933, GM quickly added them to nearly all of their production vehicles, from the base Chevrolet to the most expensive Cadillac. They were warmly embraced by consumers of the time, most of whom considered vent windows both a functional and stylish vehicle enhancement.
When Bill Mitchell succeeded Harley Earl as the head of the GM Styling Section in December, 1958, he pioneered a new trend coined the “Sheer Look,” one that showcased uncluttered, advanced vehicle design. The dramatic appearance of vehicles such as the 1963 Corvette split-window coupe and the 1963 Buick Riviera reflected this new design direction. In 1966, GM introduced “Draft Free Ventilation” on the revolutionary new Oldsmobile Toronado. This eliminated the need for conventional vent windows and resulted in a sleeker, more modern looking greenhouse. By 1968, Draft-Free Ventilation evolved into Astro Ventilation and quickly became standard equipment across the board at GM. Within a year, vent windows were ancient history on nearly all A-, B- and F-bodies.
Today, over 40 years after vent windows disappeared from most vehicles, one of the issues vintage vehicle owners face is vent windows that leak and whistle due to the deterioration of the rubber seals. While the supply of NOS vent window seals dried up long ago, suppliers like YearOne offer excellent reproduction vent window seals for most popular vehicles. The vent window assemblies in GM A- and F-bodies share very similar engineering, and the seals are relatively easy to replace with common hand tools and a little patience.
The vent window seals on the 1967 Camaro that is the subject of this story were the factory originals, and after 45 years, were dried out and cracking. Adding insult to injury, the right side seal and the edge of the vent window glass had been damaged by a previous owner who apparently used a screwdriver in an attempt to pry the vent window handle open. While we were restoring the vent window assemblies, we also replaced the glass channel run seals, since they were also deteriorating from old age.
Follow along with us as we demonstrate how to remove the GM A- and F-body vent window assemblies from the doors and replace the vent window seals. In addition, we’ll show you how original date-coded glass can be repaired, returning it to like new condition.