Dashboard Project

The last part of the interior is the completion of the dashboard project. I decided that the stock 1964 Spitfire dashboard left a lot to be desired. First, the placement of the speedometer and tachometer was poor. You have to divert your eyes too far from the road the read the instruments. Second, there was not enough room to place all of the guages in the dash, therefore, the extra guages that I needed to support the modifications to the car were "hung" wherever I could find room. This led to extra wiring under the dash that slowly started to resemble a spiderweb that was built by a spider with a severe hangover.

All of this has to be corrected. The dashboard needed to be redesigned to allow better placement of the instrumentation and with enough room to hold all guages. It also needed improvement in aesthetics. To support a new dash, all of the wiring needed to be replaced; but, this is a job that started to encompass all wiring. The dashboard will be wired and will connect to the rest of the wiring harness with the use of a multipin military connector. This will allow the wiring for the front of the car to be created separately and will allow me to remove the dashboard completely from the car for maintenance.

Then I borrowed wooden dashboard panels from a 1976 Spitfire from my friendly British auto wrecking yard, British Motorsports in Campbell, California, and created a pattern.

I had the wood face of the dashboard created by Prestige Autowood of San Jose. The wood used for the panel is Hawaian Koawood. Randy the owner is an artist. The photo here does not do justice to the work. He builds stock configuration dashboards that are retailed at Victoria, Moss, and other parts distributors. But, in between the production runs he works on the custom dashes and wood trim an all cars.

I had to fashion a new dashboard structure to replace the existing one. I started with a dashboard frame cut out of a newer ('70's) Spitfire as a pattern. All of the guages, switches, power outlets, ignition switch, signal lights, and clock were installed in the template in order to help design a new frame. Basic dimensions were taken from the 1973 frame and the frame was designed to fit around all of the guages and other dash items. The new frame was made from aluminum. The existing metal dash frame will be removed and the new one will be fastened in its place.

The new guages and indicator lights were placed in the dash and then wired with connectors that will allow the easy removal of the dash.

Then wired with connectors that will allow the easy removal of the dash.

When the dash is wired and tested, the old dash frame will be cut out and the existing wiring connected to the male portions of the connectors. Hopefully, all will go together without too many problems. With the dashboard installed and functioning, I can then install a sound system. But! Where do you put speakers in a Spitfire?????
I tested the new dash by applying a 12 volt source and took some "lights out" photos. The first one shows the guages lit and the second the lighted rocker switches.

I am waiting for the appropriate time to take the Spitfire dash out and do the rewiring. I figure that with the time I have to spend, it will be off of the road for about a month. But, it will be worth every second.