Whether we agree with them or not, GM made slight changes to their generations of trucks throughout the model years. Over the given span of a generation of trucks GM made several changes, ranging from aesthetic to practical. Sometimes for the better, sometimes not. When it comes to the Advance-Design trucks, one change that appeared on the new '52 model never should have, at least in our book.
In '52, GM switched from a one-piece side window to a two-piece window with a wing vent. Now the new-style window may have added some comfort to the cab back in the day, but in today's market of customizing your ride, that two-piece window does absolutely nothing for looks. If anything, it disrupts the flowing lines of the cab. For that reason, many late-model owners of Advance-Design trucks swap out side windows for early model windows.
Unlike many of the newer GM trucks, there isn't a kit one can purchase to make the swap. Instead, all you have to do is order glass for a '47-51 truck. Yet, here's the problem: Of all the aftermarket parts out there, '47-51 window channels are not being re-popped-and when it comes to swapping for early one-piece windows, one needs the early channels as well. This is because the early glass came with a metal frame around the window, which made the window assembly much thicker than the late-style '52-55 glass. Because of this, the early glass won't fit in the '52-55 window channels, which poses a problem. The only way to make the swap is to get a hold of some original '47-51 window channels. Or is it?
Over the past few months we have checked in with the crew at Classic Industries as they hack away on their '53 Chevy shop truck. One of the stops on their journey was swapping out the two-piece window for an early style one-piece glass. Seeing as how Classic sells just about every part needed for these trucks, they whipped out their catalog and rounded up the parts to do the swap-i.e. windows, moldings, regulators etc.-but even they had to tackle the window channel problem. It was decided to handle this challenge in a different manner: They would just make new channels.
This may sound complicated, but fabricating channels to do the swap is much easier than you'd imagine. Making new channels really consists of no more than making a few bends here and there and tacking some pieces in place. It's something that can be done with professional metalworking tools or simple tools lying around a common garage. To show you all at home what it takes to make the swap, from start to finish, we headed down to Classic Industries to follow along as they made the swap on their own truck. Wouldn't things have been much easier if GM would have left well enough alone and not changed the window style mid-generation?
Manual windows are so yesterday....
Manual windows are so yesterday. The crew is swapping these for Electric-Life power-window regulators.
Although not much changed...
Although not much changed in the Chevy lineup from '47-55, one thing that did was the windows. From '47-51, Chevy used a one-piece window, and the later-year trucks were equipped with a wing vent. The crew at Classic is going to install new old-style, one-piece windows in the Chevy. (Here's a look at both styles.)
Because the earlier windows...
Because the earlier windows were one-piece (right) they came with metal framework around them, which made the window assembly that much thicker than a single sheet of glass.