I wasn't planning to change the windshield in my '52 Chevy. I'd rather not talk about it. All I'll say is that if you take the hood latch to the chrome shop early in the morning, don't try to drive the car on the freeway to a club meeting that night.

Back in the '50s, when the components needed were available in wrecking yards (or new-car dealers), a fairly common custom swap for '49-52 Chevys was to replace the split windshield with a more streamlined one-piece unit from a '50 Oldsmobile. Besides the glass itself, you could get the corresponding rubber seal, or gasket, the necessary center clips for the inner and outer windshield frames or stainless moldings, and a rearview mirror that mounted in the upper inside frame (Chevy mirrors mount on the center post). It was a slick, easy swap. But you're not going to find '50 Oldsmobiles, especially with reusable glass or rubber, in wrecking yards today. And Oldsmobile dealers... adios!

Surprisingly, however, one-piece '50 Olds replacement windshield glass has been available in the aftermarket for quite some time, though it was very expensive. But when I called Mike Cox, the owner/crew at The Glass House (who not only knows everything about vintage auto glass, but also has patterns for it) about replacing the windshield in my Chevy, he said, "Do you want a two-piece Chevy, or a one-piece Olds? They're about the same price." In today's global market, good replacement windshields for a surprising number of vintage cars are now available from an even more surprising number of places (Brazil, Portugal, England, Mexico, China, etc.), and the competition has significantly brought down prices. So I said, "The one-piece Olds, of course."

The swap is almost as simple as it was in the '50s, but I found there are more tips and tricks to this installation in particular, and to replacing windshields in early cars in general, than I figured.