The whole idea of this part...
The whole idea of this part of the restoration was to freshen up everything and have it all match in the interior. Now the dash matches the new dashpads nicely. A clamp with a rubber block helps in the process of installing the dashpads by pushing the pads flush with the dash prior to the installation of the clips.
With the aesthetics now handled, the comfort level of this classic midyear interior was enhanced through the addition of high-back bucket seats from a '96 Corvette, but they would be the same chairs from '94 to '96. We opted to stay with the manual version, as the power seats with their controls and bladders would not only require more wiring to be integrated into the existing harness, but would have a greater potential for failure since used Corvette parts don't come from perfectly good Corvettes--at least legally. Once we mocked up the seats where they needed to be, we relocated the stock seat reinforcement plates and sectioned some metal out of the forward '96 seat tracks to correct the seat angle. Installed without modification, the seat cushions would've had a "nose-up attitude" that didn't give us much room between the seat cushion and the steering wheel. Lowering the front of the seats corrected that, and with the "tiltability" of the seat backs, they can be put at any angle desired.
These seats were installed over sound and heat-barrier material, and fresh, new carpeting from Mid America Motorworks. It's funny how the old carpeting doesn't look that bad until you compare it to new carpeting--then you're wondering how you lived with it. We opted for the Flaming River tilt steering column to come to us in "mill finish" so that we could paint it to match, which in this case was semigloss black. Polished stainless has its place, but we didn't want to overstate it in our interior. Flaming River's "waterfall" steering wheel is beautiful, and provides just enough brightwork to the driver side of the interior to balance the new glovebox door that the car's owner provided for us. It's brushed aluminum with scalloped lines and crossed flags.
Finally, technology took a quantum leap in the replacement of the original AM-FM mono radio with its single in-dash speaker. Out with that and in with Custom Autosound's Corvette USA-6 stereo with C/D controller and optional iPod interface. Four speakers drench the cabin with sound instead of one speaker trickling. The difference can be summed up with the visual impression of Nipper the fox terrier, his head cocked while listening to his master's voice through the trumpet speaker of the cylinder phonograph, which later became the RCA Victor trademark. That's how the old AM-FM radio sounded.
Always prioritize your goals, research the aftermarket parts, and lay out a logical plan for any project you want to do with your Corvette. Make sure all ingredients will work harmoniously together and move you toward the direction of your final goal. And read Corvette Fever, where you'll learn that just because someone says it's '65-'67 red interior paint, it might really be rebranded "Red for All Occasions."
|Difficulty Index - 2 Wrenches|
|Anyone's Project: no tools required||1 Wrench|
|Beginner: basic tools||2 Wrenches|
|Experienced: special tools||3 Wrenches|
|Accomplished: special tools and outside help||4 Wrenches|
|Professionals Only: send this work out||5 Wrenches|
The dashpad clips work on...
The dashpad clips work on the fulcrum principal. When these ears are squeezed together, the "feet" of the clips are spread apart, which holds the dashpad captive on the other side of the dash hole. We retain and reuse the original clips whenever possible, and use the reproductions for fill-ins if the originals break.
The gauge cluster and new...
The gauge cluster and new wiring are installed to the dash, which will be installed into the car as a completed unit. This makes it easier to debug any issues that may come up, such as harness retainer pins in the new harness that aren't spaced properly. Naw, couldn't happen.
There's a fuel-injected crate...
There's a fuel-injected crate motor in our project, so we have an electronic tachometer that has its own small harness exiting the back of the cluster. This, along with the full cluster restoration, was done by Rick Stotler of Rick's Restoration in Joppa, Maryland.