Racers are all about dropping weight. They cut out everything not needed to get rid of it. Then they figure out where to put it back in the car in a way that will help get the car from A to B as fast possible. This includes every possible inch of the car. It’s all about getting every ounce out of the car, and this practice includes the glass.
Up until recently a common practice was to replace all of the glass with polycarbonate. However, sometimes the material would fog, or get scratched, if not cleaned in the proper manner. Plus, the quality of some polycarbonate products wasn’t the greatest, which further exacerbated these issues. Recently though, a company called Optic Armor started marketing its own high-optical grade polycarbonate. Optic Armor doesn’t manufacture the material, the company starts with a raw sheet, then forms it to fit the application.
Why Creations n' Chrome chose Optic Armor windows
When it came to this install, CNC’s Gary Watson liked the shape of the Optic Armor windshield. “It wasn’t just a flat piece of polycarbonate,” he says. Plus, it wasn’t super oversized, which makes it easy to install. “Optic Armor windows makes a high-quality product,” Watson added. “Clarity when driving is great, and from 5 feet away you would never know if it’s glass or polycarbonate.”
Optic Armor Features
Optic Armor’s windows are made from a high-optical grade polycarbonate, and is 50- to 75-percent lighter than glass. It’s shatterproof, flexible, can be cleaned with conventional glass cleaning methods, and is highly scratch and chemical resistant. Plus, not that we can drag race in the rain, but for open track enthusiasts and racers, Optic Armor glass features exceptional water shedding capabilities, making it possible to even race in the rain, if necessary.
The Armor Coat feature offers excellent scratch resistance. This Optic Armor coating is applied in a Class 1,000 clean-room to make sure it’s free from contaminants. That’s one of the biggest drawbacks we see, pardon the pun, with glass replacement products. Its clarity has to be 100-percent perfect when achieving the speeds race cars are capable of producing. Scratches and a foggy film are detrimental to being able to see where you’re going. In a racing environment, that is not what you want. The Optic Armor windows also have a UV inhibitor that keeps yellowing at bay.
Another nice feature of the Optic Armor replacement glass is that it is shatterproof. This serves two purposes. One, in case of an on-track incident, the glass won’t shatter, and possibly end up on, or in you. Second, the glass won’t shatter into a million little pieces on the track, and cause a lengthy clean-up. Neither are good situations, so that’s why it’s a good idea to check out Optic Armor Performance Windows.
Optic Armor Applications
Taking a look at what Mustang applications Optic Armor has, the company carries oversized windshields, back windows, and side windows for 1965-’07 Mustangs. The windshields are available in a variety of thicknesses ranging from 3/16- to 1/4-inch. The windshields are also available tinted and with the aforementioned Armor Coat. When it comes to rear windows, Optic Armor has them for pretty much every Mustang, even the new 2015 model. The rear windows are available in thicknesses ranging from 1/8- to 3/16-inch, and in tinted and non-tinted. In drop-in window offerings, Optic Armor has them available for Fox Mustangs, and all the way up to the 2015 model.
In talking to Optic Armor’s Jim Dunham, we were able to get more information on what the company has to offer Mustang enthusiasts. When we asked about applications, Dunham told us “We offer the oversized in more applications. The reason we make them oversized is that it allows them to be flush-mounted in some of the older cars.” The older cars had window trim, and clips to hold the trim in. The oversized windows allow the end user to either flush-mount the windows, or trim them to work with the factory clips and trim. “Since most of our windows are for racing applications, trimming them is not that hard, using a jigsaw,” Dunham says. With the oversized windows, if the person, or shop, is capable of building a race car, trimming the windows should come easy. “The drop-in versions, though, are able to be glued right in when you receive them,” Dunham adds.
Oversized windows must be bolted in. Drop-in black-outs can be glued or bolted in. -Jim Dunham, Optic Armor
When it comes to safety in drag racing, Dunham tells us his background is in the sport, and so the company somewhat specializes in drag racing applications. For drag racing windshield applications, Dunham tells us 3/16-inch thick windows are good to 150 mph, and 1/4-inch is for 150 mph and faster. That is because at speed, the thinner window can distort. In some instances, reinforcing bars are necessary, depending on the application and sanctioning body rules. Regardless, it’s common for Optic Armor windows to be half the weight of factory glass.
Side Window Offerings
We key in on windshield and rear window installation here, but Optic Armor also carries side windows. For Fox Mustang applications, the company has a 3/16-inch side window available. Dunham says when working with a captured window like those in Fox Mustangs, Optic Armor has an application that functions just like the factory window. It can be rolled up and down either electrically or manually. The factory channel, and the Optic Armor window’s 3/16-inch construction keeps it from flexing, and pulling out at speed.
For SN95 and later Mustangs, Optic Armor doesn’t recommend replacing the factory windows since those years don’t have a channel to surround it, but for a racing application where the window doesn’t move, Optic Armor has oversized applications to fill that need.
We know what you’re thinking – What about Fox quarter windows, right?! The quarter windows Optic Armor has is a blank universal quarter window, formed and coated, and requiring a trim to fit. It’s not as easy an install as the front windshield or rear window, and most people just stick with the factory quarter window, anyway.
Measure twice, cut once. -Gary Watson, Creations ‘n Chrome.