Numerous stories have circulated about how inconsistent and difficult it is to install some one-piece window kits for '53-'55 Ford F-100 pickups. In light of these stories, Blue Oval Truck Parts partnered with Charp Industries to see if they could design a one-piece window kit that might solve these installation issues.
Blue Oval Truck Parts planned on installing an existing unit in its shop truck, a '55 Ford F-100, but put the project on hold because of what had circulated about the install issues. On the other hand, the company figured here was an opportunity to build a one-piece kit and add it to its existing inventory of company-made custom products. This is when BOTP called on Charp Industries, a small machine shop and fabricator in Anaheim, California, to help solve some of the potential production problems.
Don Nosse of Charp Industries remembers, "When BOTP and Charp Industries first began the project, we thought we could simply remove the wing window and supporting braces and put in the one-piece glass." But the issue everyone runs into is the curve in the door that is right at the point where the wing window is located. "At first we thought, maybe what already exists is the best that can be done," stated Don, "What we looked at worked to various degrees - some better than others. But, we were confident we could improve on the units we examined."
It was decided not to give up on the project and that they needed to get their hands on an actual '53-'55 Ford door that could be cut apart. They didn't want to worry about returning it to someone after cutting off some pieces or patching up their cuts. Larry at Blue Oval Truck Parts contacted his friend Bob, the owner of Bobco, who was well known for F-100 restorations. Bob had plenty of F-100 doors on hand and was excited to hear about what was being done.
When Don had the door in hand, he began by cutting out the wind wing window, the appropriate brackets, and the outer door shell so he could examine all the mechanisms and their motions going on inside. "Cutting off the outer door shell made it much easier to work with. We could actually see what was going on and what needed to be done," Don said. "We were able to fabricate a bracket and position it correctly, taking into account the curved door. It took us quite a bit of time and a lot of patience, but we finally got it right."
Before you tackle this type of project, you'll need the following tools: a Sawzall, a hack saw or small body saw, a drill, drill bits, a hole saw, a tape measure, some silicone or epoxy, and a 7/16-inch socket. If you want the windows to be power operated, you'll need to supply one of the many power window mechanisms on the market. Follow the photos to see how Blue Oval Truck Parts and Charp Industries improved and installed their one-piece window kit.