NZ Classic Driver
Have you ever tried to have a custom windscreen or side or rear glass custom manufactured for your vehicle? And if your vehicle is categorised as “hard to get” sourcing glass could be even more difficult – bearing in mind that in almost all instances most car owners will only require one unit.
That’s where Ron at Custom AutoGlass NZ – these days based in Paeroa – comes in. Ron has been in the business of supplying automotive glass since 1984, offering a unique service to both local customers and offshore customers through the in-house production of their very own curved moulds – allowing him to have custom curved vehicle glass manufactured offshore.
Ron’s experience as an automotive glazier spans almost 40 years and throughout that time he’s been enthusiastically servicing the classic vehicle industry, respecting and enjoying the history of the many types.
To coin the old phrase – “he could write a book” – Ron has many eye-opening tales to tell about people he has met and vehicles he has worked on over the years. Highlights include supplying glass for three stunning, NZ-built Ferrari 250 GTO replicas and, more recently, sourcing and importing a genuine (clear) tint windscreen for a 1973 Dino 246 GT.
Examples of the unique glass Ron has designed and supplied - as well as sorting out a short run of windscreens for a group of Toyota 2000GT owners – have included rear ¾ windows for a turbocharged DeLorean (these items being quite different to those fitted to the normally-aspirated model) and a one-off rear screen for a heavily customised ’53 Cadillac Coupe de Ville.
It’s Custom AutoGlass’ willingness to service low volume markets – still in demand globally – that has led them to embark on a fresh venture with the news that Ron has joined forces with a like-minded specialised, modern and enthusiastic offshore vehicle glass factory – one that can handle all his classic and modern vehicle glass requirements.
“We now have access to the very best of European vehicle glass factory technology from a facility that is globally certified for its glass to be used in all markets,” says Ron.
This new cooperative venture is an important one for Custom AutoGlass especially with automotive glass factories closing down worldwide, as Chinese manufacturers continue to take over from the older established European and US manufacturers. Even more importantly, this new factory can supply oneoff items whereas others will only produce curved glass in runs in the region of 50 units at a time.
For many owners of rarer classic cars – and for those building one-off tool-room replicas – the service provided by Custom AutoGlass is an absolute lifesaver with Ron able to produce wooden bucks which can then be used to produce steel formers. These then provide the templates for the manufacture of the actual glass. This requires considerable expertise, and the entire procedure can take many months from initial commission to receipt of the finished item.
“Patience is paramount in these Covid-19 times,” says Ron. “It’s all happening but it’s slower these days with delays throughout the usual supply chains.”
As well as custom designed glass, Ron also imports one-off items via his extensive network of global sources and contacts, and to date he holds a vast range of custom fabricated vehicle glass moulds in storage.