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Thinking ahead to the winter months after my body is refitted and everything is wrapped up in the garage, to keep me warm I am planning to reimagine the dash...

 

This was the look I was after...

post-16070-0-35821500-1407615108.jpg

 

I thought the gauges would stay original, maybe more of them, switches would change to give it a more retro feel. I know the 70's look is coming back with the wood laminate but the plastic switches have little intrinsic value in my opinion and things could be laid out a little better.

 

My steering wheel is in very poor condition so I have been sourcing a 70's aftermarket type.

 

For the purists on here this will be sacrilege however I have got my grubby little hands on Charlie's old dash to mess around with.  (photo above was from a Bentley BTW)

 

Question. does anyone know if you can buy milled aluminium plate?

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Got my second panel back from the engravers yesterday...     Still wondering about the clock! Most older chrome ones I have found on ebay are much bigger by 10mm or so which pushes me for space

an example of how it should not be done...   it's all in the detail.

Yes I think so. From the research that I have done the MX5 motors are activated up by a rising current and down by a falling current. If that's true then it's fairly easy but I suspect there would hav

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sadly I recognise the heater control - it's a mazda mx5, I am fitting that one to my eclat, but with the normal black surround, not brushed aluminium.

 

Btw I get where you are coming from on the dash, for me it was the indicator tallys being out of sight nearly causing an accident that would have written off the eclat that was the driver behind going for a dash section from the excel SE. That and needing the speedo that works with the W58 gearbox. This is still in progress.....

 

Mat.

Edited by mat grant
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Im sure you can buy it ready made but wasn't it originally done with a valve lapping stick and some paste ............and a lot of time and care.  I would set up a pillar drill and make a jig if I were doing it.

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Although I've modified the hell out of my Elite I actually quite like the orginal switch panel and won't be modifying it. Those dials and switches look really tasty though but to do a good professional looking job I suspect will be a labour of love and expensive, expect some grazed knuckles when putting it all back in place.

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Im sure you can buy it ready made but wasn't it originally done with a valve lapping stick and some paste ............and a lot of time and care.  I would set up a pillar drill and make a jig if I were doing it.

 

Done on Youtube with a pillar drill but I would guess a CNC machine would pop out a panel quickly with holes etc in the right places.

 

 to do a good professional looking job I suspect will be a labour of love and expensive, expect some grazed knuckles when putting it all back in place.

 

It will take some time. I think the design will be more complicated than the build and I may mock something up in greyboard first to get the layout right before I go for the aluminium. not sure that it will be too expensive since it's the detail that will make or break it - laser marking the switches in a decent font for instance will make all the difference! and decent decals for the switches...

 

I wanted to build on the "Cigar Lighter" label also (how many cars had cigar lighters!)

 

Have found a supplier of switch gear in the states that do billet aluminium switches that includes a rear hatch release... now all I need is a starter solenoid and the rear hatch gets opened from the dash...

 

Design will be the key though...

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Have found a supplier of switch gear in the states that do billet aluminium switches that includes a rear hatch release... now all I need is a starter solenoid and the rear hatch gets opened from the dash...

 

Design will be the key though...

 

That sounds good - I'm fitting remote central locking to my eclat and thought about a remote boot release, but it's too complicated so I dropped the idea. The S2 eclat has a better lock arrangement on the body not the bootlid, so that might be easier.

 

Just don't accidentally press that button when you're bombing down the motorway! If it was an auto you could wire an interlock so it only activates in park. Not sure how you'd achieve the same on a manual.

Edited by mat grant
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You can buy the machine turned ally,  on that dash it would look better if it had a finishing edge round the panels, like beading.

 

If you look on this site you can see what I mean.

 

http://www.hotrodhotline.com/content/engine-turning-dash-panels-etc-jim-clark-hot-rod-md#.U-fmxmOGeSo

 

 

For the labels you could silk screen them on.

Edited by red vtec

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Found a supplier of circular polished stainless steel and copper... now circular polished copper (lacquered of course) with switches mounted on brushed aluminium could work a treat. Will probably get panels in both metals to see how it looks.

 

I have a 3 spoke aluminium MG steering wheel which I will need to get a custom centre cap for - I will need to brush up on my CAD to get an SLA made up for this first before going for brushed aluminium. Edge trim in polished chrome will not be a problem...

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  • 2 weeks later...

Since my body is hiding under a tarpe and the electrics are not working anyway can someone give me a run down of the warning lights around the instruments?

 

What I know so far is;

Left                      Right

?                          Brakes

?                          ?

?                          Fuel

 

I'm guessing the ?'s are main beam, oil pressure, and erm...

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Left Indicator                    Right Indicator

Rear Screen Heater         Beam (main beam)

Fuel                                  Brakes

Seat Belt                          Fuel

 

1976 Elite

Edited by ramjet
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The indicator tally lights are in a rubbish position, if you're my me (five foot 10) and have the seat where I have have it you can't see them because they are obscured by the top of the binnacle, and if you duck your head down to look they are obscured by my hands or the wheel rim. Nearly caused an accident once and I decided the dash had to be changed to something more easily visible and audible.

 

Mat.

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I agree. The centre consol switch layout looks like "there's the space and these are the switches... now how do we arrange them to make them fit" kind of thing going on!

 

I already have some mx5 headlight motors and plan to convert the light vacuum system to electric, so need light up/down switch for washing, and the rear hatch will be solenoid operated so I will end up with 8 switches on the centre consol.

 

These will all be mounted onto a brushed aluminium plate (expected this week) which will be on the stainless (or copper) circular polished backing. I have got an old radio off ebay that can be integrated into the backing with some retro knobs etc. and have ordered a selection of switches and indicators so I can choose the manufacturer based on switch action and feel (this was a little more expensive as a sampling exercise than I thought since I got carried away).

 

Just need to get my body on and tidy up my work bench so I have space to work!

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Hi Mike, just reading through this thread I see that you want to convert the headlight pods, I'm now thinking of doing the same. I see those mx5 motors are relatively cheap on ebay, what else would be involved, would you be able to use the same dash panel switch?

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Yes I think so. From the research that I have done the MX5 motors are activated up by a rising current and down by a falling current. If that's true then it's fairly easy but I suspect there would have to be some relay to limit the current to the stepper motors. I have brought some motors (£10 for the pair) so I could get the mounting made up with rose joints but haven't done much more than that.

 

Also adding an ad-hoc switch to the dash board to raise and lower them when the lights were not on was bothering me hence the requirement to redesign of the dash...

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I just hate the fact that they are always 'up' just looks crap at shows. I really need them to be down until I want them up! Definitely going to look into this, I think someone else on here has already converted his, any advice would be greatly appreciated.

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So this is the backing for the dash and the gauges - the biggest expanse of the material might be on the glove box but I'm still un de-sided about that and it will probably turn into copper.

 

post-16070-0-73104200-1410020170.jpg

 

I was playing around with gray board today and ended up with this...

 

post-16070-0-31170600-1410020214.jpg

 

The big red switch will be laser marked "hatch" - I kind of thought that the "cigar" lighter theme would be complemented by this! what car doesn't need a hatch switch with protection!

 

So what switch is best? The black topped toggle ala E-type Jag, or the chrome standard toggle?

 

More gray board work got me to this... but I could really do with stripping out the old dash for the remaining items so short of preparing the switch panels this will have to be done over winter.

 

post-16070-0-35876200-1410020360.jpg

 

I have a radio from ebay that will go with the look after I have changed the tuning and volume knobs and the cigar lighter and panel lamp rheostat will be mounted around the radio. The heater panel will be remade in aluminium with the chrome panel handles to complement the switch panel at the top of the dash and mounting for the remaining switches (shown by the black circles) will also be aluminium panels screwed to the back panel with hex screws.  

 

I have been able to find a local laser marking company that will laser mark the aluminium and inlay with colour so this opens up a whole host of opportunities for design flare!

 

BTW the proper head unit will be in the glove box since the electric motors will free up the space behind the glove box where the vacuum reservoir is mounted. This might also make space for the ECU but I'm a long way from that!.

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I'm glad I'm not the only one crazy enough to try to rework the dash - one of the criticisms of the car in the press when new was the switches in the centre are impossible to see in the dark, the "miners lamp" thing didn't work very well.

 

In my case I've tried to make the dash more user friendly, and improve the looks if possible, so I've ended up with the excel SE binnacle, I';m going to get new veneer for the dash, the upper left and the bottom half of the eclat centre console, so there is a bit of "continuity" to the dash.

 

Please keep up up to date with your progress. Looks good - I guess the main thing is you get it how you like it and it works for you.

 

Mat.

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  • 3 months later...

Left Indicator                    Right Indicator

Rear Screen Heater         Beam (main beam)

Fuel                                  Brakes

Seat Belt                          Fuel

 

1976 Elite

Thanks! I needed this, too-- that red one (seat belts) kind of worried me. It's so bright, it looks like it's on when it isn't.

 

And yeah, I'm going to illuminated switches, too!

 

The S 2.2 moved the window switched down near the handbrake-- anyone have a picture of these?

Edited by bwwooster
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  • 5 weeks later...

Since I'm too soft to be crawling around on the garage floor in the cold I thought I would crack on with my dash project - finally. After weeks of life getting in the way next weekend should see the cente panel cut and shaped to fit. I have all the detailing sorted out and the colour scheme sorted - (signal red leather for the centre and burgundy for the instrument and dash board binicles to match my Insight seats that will be going in... using some of the leather that was left over from the retrim.

 

progress to date looks like...

post-16070-0-90829000-1421001459.jpg

 

I have some M4 pan headed allen bolts on order to secure this into the dash but apart from the switch labelling which I will get engraved and inlaid this pretty much gives the style. This panel will be mounted on my circular polish S/S backing with a 1mm thich black silicon sheet between the brushed aluminium and the S/S in order to give a black bead around the panel for a more professional finish...

 

For interest I have not decided on the finish around the switches but the black washer is defo out. Just need to decide on the nut or knurled fixing.

 

post-16070-0-47695200-1421001481.jpg

 

post-16070-0-57592700-1421001506.jpg

 

for the dash lighting - to compliment the spotlight from the roll bar I will be installing some micro leds into the overhang above the switches such that these shine down to the radio - if you know what I mean. the dash board carcass will need modifying and some kind of window installed to keep it neat.

 

Time for planning has passed - now need to execute with style and attention to detail!

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Looking good, and like what you said about building on the "cigar" light theme.

 

Checked this weekend why my cigar lighter didn't seem to be working.  Pulled it out and found there's nothing connected to it! Couldn't see any loose wires looking through a switch opening but I didn't have the clock out to see more.  Don't know if I want to risk taking the whole console off incase something breaks and doesn't want to go back!

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