Vent Window Install: Project Gift Horse Gets A New Set Of “Wings”

Many will argue that the automobile began to decline the day that those small wing windows ceased to be available. Whether you call them wings, vents, or quarter windows, their purpose (and effectiveness) of moving air in and out of the cabin cannot be over-stated. They do an excellent job at venting out the cabin, and when you exercise their mechanisms fully, they serve to send a helping of fresh air to all the inhabitants of non-air-conditioned America.

Wing windows were last used in the autos of the malaise era, making them at least 35-years old. Project Gift Horse is considerably older, of course, and the years have taken their toll. Not only on the seals, but also on the glass and shiny bits that hold it all together. Thankfully, Classic Industries offers many of these items to fit Tri-Five Chevys.

Modern Options

The lines of  Tri-Five Chevys are classic, but the technology surrounding them doesn’t need to share the same vintage. One of the beautiful things about technology advancing is we can utilize the benefits as we rebuild our earlier cars. These upgrades have even worked their way into the vent windows of the iconic 1955-’57 Chevy cars.

Classic Industries offers these drop-in vent window assemblies for 1955-57 Chevys. There are several options for the glass, and they are available for the range of Chevy cars listed below.

With the new glass supplied by Classic Industries, we had a choice of clear glass or a tint of either gray or green glass. Assemblies include the vent frame, latch, and new glass — completely assembled and ready to install. They are available for two- and four-door hardtops and sedans, Nomads, wagons, and convertibles. Gift Horse Owner, Aubrey King, opted for the clear pane to better match the rest of the glass already in the vehicle. Here is a complete list of options for all models along with the part numbers:

  • TF42201A – 1955-57 Hardtop/Nomad Vent Glass Assembly LH with Clear Glass
  • TF42200A – 1955-57 Hardtop/Nomad Vent Glass Assembly RH with Clear Glass
  • TF42201C – 1955-57 Hardtop/Nomad Vent Glass Assembly LH with Green Tint Glass
  • TF42200C – 1955-57 Hardtop/Nomad Vent Glass Assembly RH with Green Tint Glass
  • TF42201D – 1955-57 Hardtop/Nomad Vent Glass Assembly LH with Gray Custom Tint Glass
  • TF42200D – 1955-57 Hardtop/Nomad Vent Glass Assembly RH with Gray Custom Tint Glass
  • TF42203A – 1955-57 Sedan/Wagon Vent Glass Assembly LH with Clear Glass
  • TF42202A – 1955-57 Sedan/Wagon Vent Glass Assembly RH with Clear Glass
  • TF42203C – 1955-57 Sedan/Wagon Vent Glass Assembly LH with Green Tint Glass
  • TF42202C – 1955-57 Sedan/Wagon Vent Glass Assembly RH with Green Tint Glass
  • TF42203D – 1955-57 Sedan/Wagon Vent Glass Assembly LH with Gray Custom Tint Glass
  • TF42202D – 1955-57 Sedan/Wagon Vent Glass Assembly RH with Gray Custom Tint Glass
  • TF42205A – 1955-57 Convertible Vent Glass Assembly LH with Clear Glass
  • TF42204A – 1955-57 Convertible Vent Glass Assembly RH with Clear Glass
  • TF42205C – 1955-57 Convertible Vent Glass Assembly LH with Green Tint Glass
  • TF42204C – 1955-57 Convertible Vent Glass Assembly RH with Green Tint Glass
  • TF42205D – 1955-57 Convertible Vent Glass Assembly LH with Gray Custom Tint Glass
  • TF42204D – 1955-57 Convertible Vent Glass Assembly RH with Gray Custom Tint Glass

Another option available through Classic Industries (although, one Aubrey didn’t take advantage of) adds a power option to the little vent windows, thanks to electrically-powered regulators that replace the original hand-crank versions.

We used the original crank mechanisms, but Classic Industries offers both manual and powered-style vent window regulators.

“Here at Classic Industries, not only do we offer the best original-style restoration parts available on the market, but we also carry up-to-date modern upgrades such as this vent window electric conversion set to give the enthusiast options and choices to build his classic vehicle as he pleases,” Marketing/PR Coordinator Ed Navarro tells us. The more choices, the better, we always say!

We spoke with Aubrey about the new vent windows in his ride. “I thought it was going to be at least a little difficult,” he said. “But it was probably the easiest thing we’ve done to the car to date!” You can understand how swapping out those tired, scratched, or rusted vent window assemblies could really reinvigorate your ride. As Aubrey attests, you can change both windows in less than an hour or two in your garage, and the benefits will last for years to come!

The window assembly has a small top-post and a longer shaft on the bottom, which goes to the regulator. The top post must go through the rubber seal and the window frame first.

Simple Swap

Justin Cecil from Cofer’s Garage came over after hours to do a lot of the trim work on Gift Horse and made easy work of the vent windows. The door panels must come off to access the few screws and nuts that secure the vent window assemblies into position. Since Project Gift Horse was getting a new interior, some of the somewhat-heavy lifting was already done. The lower portion of the vent window glass assembly has a long rod that connects to the vent window regulator. That will need to be removed as well.

Once the vent windows are out, it’s easy to see how the assembly comes together. Of course, new seals came with our new glass. Aubrey informed us that the old, factory vent windows were prone to leaking and had a lot of wind noise. He was happy with the fit of the new seals, so this should be but a distant memory.

The frames have an adjustment bolt on the bottom and a screw holding them at the top. Slide them into place, tighten the fasteners and adjust if necessary!

The top post of the vent window glass slides up into the top portion of the frame assembly, and the longer, bottom post mounts into the vent window regulator. You need to make sure that the top post goes through the rubber seal properly so that the window will operate as it should. Once the windows are closed, and the latch assemblies are secure, you should have a quiet and dry driving environment for your next trek to the show field!

Article Sources

About the author

Andy Bolig

Andy has been intrigued by mechanical things all of his life and enjoys tinkering with cars of all makes and ages. Finding value in style points, he can appreciate cars of all power and performance levels. Andy is an avid railfan and gets his “high” by flying radio-controlled model airplanes when time permits. He keeps his feet firmly grounded by working on his two street rods and his supercharged C4 Corvette. Whether planes, trains, motorcycles, or automobiles, Andy has immersed himself in a world driven by internal combustion.
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