McLaren or Honda, Gary Blakely Says Replacing Auto Glass is the Same

Gary Blakely of Charlotte, North Carolina, isn’t afraid of much when it comes to auto glass replacement, not even a McLaren. The Quackt Glass Auto Glass market manager says replacing glass on a McLaren is no different from any other vehicle.

Gary Blakely replaced the windshield on this 2022 McLaren 765LT.

Gary Blakely replaced the windshield on this 2022 McLaren 765LT.

He’s no stranger to working with expensive vehicles, including exotic sports cars and supercars like McLarens. He began working with luxury vehicles when he was doing body shop work for a luxury vehicle body shop, where he learned how to replace quarter glass and windshields in vehicles such as Porsches, Range Rovers and Rolls Royces. He’s also worked on supercars as rare as a Lamborghini Centenario.

Blakely says you simply have to get “out of your own head” about the price of the cars you’re working on.

“Putting glass into a McLaren, a Rolls Royce, any of those cars, is no different than doing a Honda Accord,” he says.

Of course, there are some practical differences. Blakely says he takes particular care not to scratch or dent anything, because the work to repair a scratch or dent on a luxury vehicle  is much more extensive than on a regular car. This often means switching out the tools he would normally use to ones that are safer for the body of the vehicle.

The only glass option for exotic sports cars is typically OEM glass rather than aftermarket glass, Blakely says, simply because it’s so specialized. The glass used in McLarens, for example, is so thin Blakely says “you can bend it by hand.” The thin glass gives the McLaren added lightness for increased speed.

Gary Blakely worked on the roof glass of this 2019 McLaren 720S.

“It’s a production racecar is all it is,” Blakely says.

Blakely actually prefers working with McLarens than standard cars because he says the windshields come out easily using a fiber line, and the bonded glass means there’s fewer individual pieces to remove.

“They’re not hard to do. I’d much rather do a McLaren than just about any other car,” Blakely says. “They’re so easy to throw a windshield into, once you get past yourself and realize it’s just a windshield, then you’d love to do one of those.”

Earlier in his career, Blakely had the opportunity to replace windshields on motorhomes for such renowned NASCAR drivers as Dale Earnhardt Sr., Rusty Wallace and Jeff and Ward Burton. During that experience, he made connections and built a community that helped open doors for him in the future.

For any technicians looking to build a similar network, or who are simply looking for advice about working on supercars and other luxury vehicles, Blakely recommends they join Facebook groups for auto glass technicians where they can crowd-source advice from their peers who have encountered, and conquered, the same issues.

This article is from glassBYTEs™, the free e-newsletter that covers the latest auto glass industry news. Click HERE to sign up—there is no charge. Interested in a deeper dive? Free subscriptions to Auto Glass Repair and Replacement (AGRR) magazine in print or digital format are available. Subscribe at no charge HERE.

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