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Rear view mirrors

by Phil Lapin / CPPC Tech Committee and President

To be gracious, the side and rear views out of the 1940s vintage cars is not good – in fact it can be downright dangerous trying to see both behind you and to either side in the "blind spots".

MirrorsI put classic 4 inch round mirrors on my 1942 Plymouth – mounted to the door edges in front of the vent windows. This is a very common configuration, and certainly is a "classic look." The problem is that the right side mirror (especially) is almost useless on the road. It is simply too small with the built in distortion making it even worse. The driver side is not much better.

Since my car is a driver – not a show car, I thought that there could be a better outside mirror setup. Something that would be functional, but not completely at odds with the look of the car. What I came up with is a pair of custom made outside mirrors. They were quite easy to make (once I sourced the parts). They also adhere to the existing round mirrors, thus avoiding any changes to the setup.

The images show the front and back sides of these mirrors. You can be the judge as to whether they look good or not. I can tell you they make a huge and much desired difference in visibility!

Here is how I made them. I used black 1/8 inch plexiglas for the mounting surfaces. I ordered two glass mirrors (for a Honda car) which were both left and right. I am talking about just the glass itself. The plexiglas was cut about 3/8 inch larger than the glass all the way around. When that was done, I pressed on a black rubber edging strip to cover the plexiglas. I then used double sided foam tape to adhere the glass to the plexiglas. This required building up a couple of layers of foam on the right side mirror to account for the slight bend in the actual glass. The final step was to build up foam tape on the circumference of the round mirrors, and then attach the new mirrors over them. The worst part of this project was cutting the plexiglas to shape, however I do have a bandsaw which made it easier.

If you would like to build these, here are the materials I used. 1) standard black plexiglas from a plastic supplier or Amazon: (Rock Hard Plastics - 12" x 12" Black Acrylic Sheet). 2) Mirrors from Amazon: ( JZPOWER Side Mirror Glass fit for Volkswagen VW Passat Jetta Rabbit GTI Eos R32) Be sure and get left and right on the mirrors!. 3) Edge trim from Amazon: ( Edge Trim Black Small, 1/8"). 4) double sided adhesive foam tape from any hardware store. That is it! Total cost under $45 with leftover plastic and trim.