VRaptor SpeedWorks "You Dream It, We Build It!"

Aluminum Hatch Glass Replacement (Louvered)

July 2, 2019  by Shane

This louvered aluminum panel is designed to be a direct replacement for the stock GTM rear hatch glass. The outer perimeter is the same size as the GTM hatch glass, but unlike the hatch glass, the aluminum can be trimmed to fit the body of the car instead of having to spend days modifying your body to fit the glass. This panel is cut from 0.080″ aluminum and ships flat. You will receive the louvered panel plus the 3 braces that lock the louvers at the proper angle and the braces are also arched to match the arch of the original glass.

For installation, use the slots in the braces as a guide to bend the individual louver blades to the proper angle (please note that the panel will have a “pretty” and “ugly” side, so be sure to put the pretty side up and bend the louvers down). Once all of the louvers are bent to the proper angle, get the braces started onto all of the louver blades and gently tap them until they are firmly seated with a plastic mallet. Once you get each brace seated at the bottom of the slots, you can use a couple strips of masking tape between the brace and one of the louvers to hold it in place while you drive the other braces on. Once the braces are all installed and taped, you can position the panel onto your hatch to check fitment. The louver braces do a good job of holding some longitudinal curve in the panel to match the curve of the hatch. For the curve across the width of the hatch, simple form that gently by hand. Be careful not to kink the panel while you’re forming the curve, but it’s pretty easy to just use your hands to massage the front edge and rear edge into a gentle curve that matches the curve of the top and bottom edge of the hatch.

Once curved to it’s final shape, we normally bond the braces to each louver blade, only on the bottom side of each louver. We use 3M 8115 Panelbonding adhesive to create a small “fillet weld” from the brace to the louver. The panel can now be bonded directly to the hatch in much the same way you would attach the glass. If you wanted, you could use fiberfill/bodyfiller to blend the bottom edge of the panel to the hatch for a seamless, one-piece look.

As you can see from the photo below, rearward visibility from inside the car thru the louvered panel is very good!

If you have a completed GTM with an overly-hot engine bay, this louvered panel might be the easiest solution for you……simply remove the original hatch glass and replace it with one of these louvered panels!

The bottom 2 photos show a different version of this panel with the center column of louvers removed.