Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Ferrari 400 Front window screen replacement - delamination - milky window - windshield - PART I

This was an item which was on my target list for a longer time. The milky spot is very large and clearly an ugly sight. When I purchased the car I noticed it had this delamination issue but at that time it was completely transparant thus not visually hindering. When I went to the first 400 club meeting in Brussel in 2013 it was heavily raining and this is when the milky spot manifested since. I was hoping it would fade away afterwards. It did slightly though but only minimal, meaning a large milky spot remained. Perhaps I should have acted upon it earlier as by now I have a lot of photo's whereby it's visual, which is a bit of a shame (understatement). As said, I was hoping with more time it would fade away. Which we know by now it didn't - in fact it even grew larger but that faded away a little:

In any case this gave me plenty of time to look for a proper new windscreen. At first I wanted to buy a good used one. But these appearred to be almost equally expensive as a new one. Then the thought occurred to me that I might end up again with another delamination issue on a used one, so maybe better buy a new one. Why is it this problem is frequently occurring on Ferrari's ? One friendly French owner shared with me the invoice for a used one at Eurospares which costed 1.314 GBP (including shipping and VAT). The next dilemma for me was the colorband. I figured it would be nice to have a time period correct green shade band. Then another owner showed me a picture of his with a blue shade band which I liked as well. In the end my car had no shade band and since I like to keep it as close as possible to the Original state I decided to keep it like that - I was also a little worried the colorband would not match well with the color of the car. Another thought I had was to give the car a total respray and with the front window removed that would be a nice trigger. Especially if it appeared the windows sponings are underneath rusty or such (although there is no clear sign of it). Then again, a full respray is maybe a little too much at this stage. So I continued my search to find companies who could deliver a new windscreen for an acceptable price. Especially since I'm paying this out of my own pocket and not make falsely Insurance claims. I truly hope never to make any Insurance claims to start with as that will mean it will have gotten a (severe) damage somehow - but if so I expect a hassle free payment - but let's no go there. I have gathered the following company addresses:

The first 2 companies are based in Germany and not far away from the border, so these will be easy to collect against minimal transport costs or shipping costs:

(Price € 999,50 + € 83,61 shipping - Incl VAT.)

(Price 937,- Euro)

(Price 895,- GBP + 200,- GBP shipping)

(Price 791,- GBP + 195 GBP Shipping)

By now I also got ahold of this Swiss company (Troeschautolgas):

(Although not listed on their website I know from my source the price is 970 ChF - Swiss Francs).

For the folks interested in a rear window:

At Eurospares a rear window is listed, but it's non-heated:

Ferrari Part #257-40-504-10

 Fits: Ferrari 365 GT4 2+2 Coachwork, 400i (1983 Coachwork), 412 (Coachwork)

#257-40-504-10: Rear window  (not heated)

On FChat I found an interesting topic which reveals the following:

Good news;
We finally have another small batch of the original-style heated rear-glasses for 365/400 GT/4 2+2 coming out of the ovens in late January 2009!!

If you have interest, please send me private mail, and I'll keep you posted!

your 'resident windshield producer' from Finland,
Antti Wihanto 9841 (+7 hrs to EST, +10 to PST; OK to call days or eves my time

The first company listed was the cheapest one - and as you will see on their website they can deliver even different color glass and also different color shade bands. Upon writing this blog I can see the prices even have increased a little. So I'm glad I had made my order last year. However at the time I also noticed a huge price difference between the 365GT4 2+2 and the 400/412 window. I got an offer for € 779,- Incl shipping and VAT for the 365GT4 2+2, so that's about € 300,- cheaper than a 400/412 window. And as far as I'm aware the windows are identical for the entire series. Meanwhile I also got in contact with another Dutch owner with a 365GT4 2+2 who was in need for a front window. So, if somehow it would not fit my 400 he was interested to buy it from me. Always nice to have a back up. So the order was placed and it would take up to 3 months before it could be delivered.

The next step was to find someone who could perform this job. I didn't want to pick the usual companies like Carglass since it's not a regular car, although I'm pretty sure they are capable. The most important reason is that I'm unsure if there was any rust on the pillars / window surrounding that would require treatment. If so then I wanted someone who was capable to have that fixed as well. I asked my nephew who I consider a real pro on this matter (he's a car restorer but mostly new/young damaged cars). To my surprise one of his contacts appeared to be a car glass window expert who assisted brands like Koenigsegg. How is that possible!? Then again I sensed my nephew was not keen on taking this task onboard just in case things didn't work out. Besides they are very busy with running their own business.

Then just about a week later or so I did visit the following company: It did happen to be located nearby where I live (10 min drive). I was more or less stunned to say the least. The owner appeared to be a relatively young person but very knowledgeable. I got to hear his background and shown around the entire place which I found highly impressive to say the least. It was packed with vintage Maserati restoration projects and such. Clearly this was the right place to get the front window to be replaced, so this was quick and easily agreed. It also meant I could have the window shipped straight to this place. All sorted.

The window was finally ready by early December. The Dutch tax ruling for my car unfortunately meant I can not use it on the road in December, January and February. As a solution he offered to use his company plates to allow to drive it on the road. His workshop was closed the last 2 weeks of the year. So we agreed to do it early January. Although the winter was very mild it just did happen we had the occassionly ice and snow in January which resulted in salt protection on the roads. By now it's definately gone so the car was delivered last weekend (early March)

Unfortunately things got slightly delayed so we are now another month ahead (April). I was called by the company and they did involve a specialist to cut the window out (and leaving the upper dashboard in place). And worse, there was rust on the pillars/sponings. So welding and painting was required, making the exercise more expensive. See supporting pictures:

I was glad I made the right choice to pick this company as they could now treat it well since it was necessary. I wonder if these rust spots/holes are the cause for the delamination issue?

And today I received the additional pictures about cleaning and welding the sponings

We are now another month further (May 9th) and still the work didn't progress. I was promised the car would be ready by the 8th. I was never in a hurry but this was going to take to long. Especially as I'm going to take the car for a roadtrip to Italy by the 21st of May. So I phoned the company and I was informed there was a problem with the paint color they ordered. Since the car had been sprayed before there was a small mismatch and they wanted to get it as close as possible so it would be hardly noticeable. For this they took a sample from the boot. So if all goes fine it should be ready by the end of this week.

And today I got the pictures send of the spraying completed. So hopefully by this weekend I can pick up the car:

Unfortunately it's still not ready as they are pending on another company who will place the new window. The same company who cut it out. So by tomorrow 17th of May it should be ready. Fingers crossed.

Today I have been in contact with the company owner and I was told it was ready but it needs another day for the glue to harden. As such I will wait a little more and I'm going to pick up the car on Friday evening. At least we now can also conclude the 365GT4 2+2 front window fits the 400 as expected.

I have been in touch with another owner who also had his front window replaced and it's almost the same story, no rust indication whatsoever but once the window was out there was rust underneath, so you have been hereby warned (this car happens to be in the same color as mine):

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