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Dash design with a mid year vette' in mind


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So, I traded for this 76' 280 "project car" with no dash, no engine/trans, period ugly aftermarket 14" wheels, a gutted interior, and partial wiring harness. With a blank slate I decided to have a go at designing a dash that reminded me of a couple mid year corvettes i have had in the past. I have no issues at all with the stock Z dash, and finding and installing another one would be a l-o-t  easier, but since the car is going to be a "street fighter" styled build I thought what the hell. I picked up a mildly built L24 motor/trans  combo, and I also have an LT1 x-over available from a past project available for power. The L engine is in the hole at the moment with the idea that as soon as it is street worthy I can drive it while the other details are being worked out. I have put jdm style flares on it, 17x 9.5's wrapped in 255-50 fronts and 275-45 rears. So far I have not had any major surprises with the body work. A minor amount of cancer repair by a previous owner, a cleaned up engine bay free of un-necessary clutter, and I bought a front air dam to fill the void. I am experimenting with some clay mockups of different add on's like roof vents, diffusers, etc. to try and give the car a unique look. ( I like the Hugo Sylva design) Anyway, I'm throwing it up here to get welcomed opinions/ comments on the build and hope to see some different pics of others designs. Great site, been lurking for awhile, I've seen some interesting and unique approaches, so I hope mine is not too far off the beaten path, lol.

    Oh, sorry for the poor manners, My name is Chris, I live in the small town of Shelby, N.C. about 40 miles west of Charlotte N.C. Home of Don Gibson, Earl Scruggs, and Championship caliber football ! 


    As soon as I can figure out how to post pics I will load a few....57 and struggling.....

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Welcome , sounds like a rough start , to post pics you need a photobucket account and upload your pics there then copy the IMG link for each pic to your post on here , its a bit of a pain , but that's it in a nutshell.

Cheers Fast720

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Ok, here are the first pics I could get uploaded. I had the metal sub structure for the dash but thats it. I started by creating a bit of a base for the foam to bond to and then shape from there. I have now started to fill with "bondo" to achieve the finish shape then will fiberglass a shell over that. The center gauge is the original clock. I plan to use the rest of the center bezel with the vents and flip light to blend into the original center console.

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The last photo is of the metal base. I have cut the metal back to allow for a glovebox once the glass work is done. As to the original Corvette design, I will cut a door and hinge it for access. The gauge layout is similar to the vette also with all 6 gauges on display. I plan to do push button start and hope to mount it in the original ignition spot.

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For those interested in the build process I am using, it is pretty straight forward. I will first throw a disclaimer out there. Altho I have built several fiberglass bodies and parts from scratch using the form and buck method, as well as clay over existing part methods, I do not consider myself a professional mold maker. With that being said....I started this with the original metal dash frame. Using that as the skeleton I have added 1x4 bracing in areas to add stability to the frame when I remove it from the interior. Mainly between the uprights where the center console bolts and the hvac control panel is. Next I braced the framework  forming a straight line along the bottom edge to control any warping effect. After I fit the arch blanks in the dash panel area, I then ran a 1x4 brace behind the arches to keep them in place for the foam process. ( You can see the screws in the front view shot of the dash)

  After all the bracing was done, I used solid foam to fill voids behind the vent areas and where the vent controls go so they could be fit after the foam process. To keep the spray foam from sticking to the filler foam blocks I wrap them in tin foil. You can see that also on the clock insert in the face of the dash. I used regular spray in foam sealer (great stuff) and ran beads to loosly shape the rough form of the dash. The stuff expands and takes a few lines to get a feel for the expansion rate. Once I was satisfied there was enough foam to create the rough shape I let it sit overnight. Once the foam has completely cured it can be shaped with a razor knife, a pound cake knife works great also. After I got the foam whittled down close to the desired overall shape, I use 36 grit paper on a block to sand the foam closer to the final shape. Note, there will be air pockets in the foam, and you can, and will use it a second or third time to fill large voids. After I get the general shape down close, I then use bondo to skim the surface and form a more stable platform to sand to the finished shape.( Pics to follow showing that state.) Once this is done, the next thing I will do is wrap the complete dash in tin foil in preparation for layering fiberglass over the finished shape. The idea is to lay the glass as smooth and even so it minimizes the need for sanding. (Further on the process when I get to that.) Once the glass work is done, I will pull the mold off the foam form, and add extra layers to the underside to add strength. There are other considerations for things like trim panel attachment points, and gauge fitment that will be done after the mold process as well. I will try to show that along the way too. You can use clay to achieve the final shape and cover that in tin foil also, I choose to use the bondo in this case because I take the dash in and out to get fine details and fit down before the fiberglass. Bondo is more stable for that. When I do the roof vent which will be functional I will use the clay method and will show how I do that also. My plan is to have an integrated overhead console inside the car that can be opened to provide airflow thru the roof vent to the cockpit in the summer. This will look similar to the McLaren F1. I plan to diamond cut the top of the windshield so the duct only slightly sticks above the top of the roofline. More on that later! 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Whats up CGraves!  I had my phone stolen and lost all my contacts man... How's that RB swap coming along? I saw a few pics of it somewhere here on line, and it was in the car already. I am still finishing up on this custom dash, and the body work. I'm about ready for paint and final assembly. I'm gonna post a few more pics when its about done. I'd still like to have any parts you have left, especially the choke cable setup, It's a bitch trying to hold the levers up and crank this thing at the same time, Lmao. Give me a holler when you can. Chris

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