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Just Some Dude in Jersey
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I extracted the firewall and floorboards from my previous Red Baron car, cut it in half to get it in my SUV, and today I made a plywood platform to fasten it to. I chopped off extra metal that would gouge my ankles and tear my jeans and it's all just loosely fitted together and sitting on milk crates. In the coming days I have to stitch it back together where Charlie chopped it in half down the center, maybe build a wood frame around the outside of the plywood to cover all the sharp chopped off edges, then various ideas to put it on dolly's or wheels, so that I can move it around easy. I never noticed that the frame rails don't go the length of the car, they stop just behind the seats and before the luggage shelf support structure, then begin again and continue to the rear.

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Just Some Dude in Jersey
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
So, here's the basic plan and my mindset: I like the shape and driving characteristics of GT's, but I wish they functioned more reliably and had the amenities of modern cars. So, I install a modern electrical system, electronic gauges, a multi-function double-din information center/stereo, a much smaller and better working heater/AC unit, and more switches. I delete/improve some things about the oem dashes that have pissed me off for 40 years. For starters, I make the whole thing modular, so that you can take any part/panel off and leave the rest of the dash in place. I put the fuse box and all gauge wiring behind the seats where it's all easy to view and get at. I get rid of the dashboard mounted urinal, extend the dash top all the way across, and make a proper glove box with a door. I get rid of the enormous heater box enclosure and inefficient ducts, cut away the heater box in the engine compartment for better engine access and engine mod possibilities, and install a smaller Vintage Air system.

This time around, I'm considering installing a Vintage Air all-in-one heater/AC unit, just for the challenge. I don't need AC, if it's so hot outside that I need AC, well then I don't actually feel like driving my car. I almost exclusively use my GT's for going to car shows, which means sitting outside all day next to your car. I don't like Summers in NJ very much and I pretty much stay indoors until the high humidity and 95*+ days of June/July go away. It gets less humid and more tolerable towards the end of Summer around here. But, I feel that the oem AC system is dreadful and takes up too much space in the passenger compartment. All that crapp should be behind the dash like a modern car and integrated into the existing heater and duct system. I also want to investigate using an electric AC pump with a strong alternator. I'll only be using AC once in a while, so there's no need to clutter up the engine and it's compartment with a big pump that I'll seldom use. It's more money and a lot of fuss for something I'll hardly use, but it will be a fun project. :)
 

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If you create a smooth enough surface on your custom dash you could have it Hydro Dipped and get a very cool finish. Even Alligator!
 
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Just Some Dude in Jersey
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I'm going to go with the usual faux leather vinyl that everyone uses this time around. It will be a beige the same color as the seats. This build will be a toned down version of my GTX.
 

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Just Some Dude in Jersey
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Gordo's DIY Dashboard Begins

I went to the local industrial metal supply place near me and picked up a sheet of 4'x4' perforated aluminum sheet metal, then I went to Home Depot and bought piano/strip/continuous hinges. This is the first step when making a custom dash. I use the strip hinges to make the various brackets that hold the dash to the car, support the dash top, and set the basic shape of the front of the dash. I cut the hinges into various lengths to suit my needs. Why strip hinges, you ask? Because strip hinges are like angle iron with an adjustable angle. The firewall, where the dash top meets it, changes angle in various places, the pivoting hinges let me fasten them in place regardless of whether the angle is 60*, 110*, 150*, etc. I use perforated aluminum because all the holes give me infinite ways and places to bolt stuff to it. You also don't want to make a dash that is rock hard out of beefy angle iron, this will kill you if you get into an accident. Dashboards are made sort of flimsy for this reason. My dashes, when complete, have roughly the same strength and collapsability as an oem dash.
I'm basically going to make a copy of the dash I made for my GTX car, but not so deluxe with gauges everywhere and no alligator skin. This dash will be covered in typical faux leather vinyl in a beige color.
GT dashes are almost exactly 48" wide and the overhang is almost dead straight to the tips of the arcs where the side vents are. This let's me easily line up the overhang edge with one straight side of the sheet metal and then I trace the windshield side of the dash onto the metal and cut it out with tin snips or other types of cutting methods. I make the dash go straight all the way across and eliminate the arcs and I don't indent the dash top where the urinal(glove box) is. I make a proper glove box with a door. My dash design is extremely versatile and you can easily remove individual panels to add gauges or features and leave the whole rest of the dash in place. I'll go into more detail later and I'll be making a video of all of this when I'm done. I use aftermarket everything for gauges, radio, vents, etc, When I'm done making this dash I'm going to try to make another one that uses the oem instrument panel and stuff and sell it to someone. I might make templates of the various panels so that others could make their own.
The last few pics show my previous dash at various stages.

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Just Some Dude in Jersey
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Yup! I do what want anytime and spend what I want.

Not totally single, I do have a lady friend.....or two....or more. :)
 

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Have you thought about decreasing the depth of the dash? My Accords had that and it really opened up the view through the windshield. Maybe it would give you a less cramped feeling.
 

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Solo II is fun in a GT!
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Just Some Dude in Jersey
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15,129 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
Have you thought about decreasing the depth of the dash? My Accords had that and it really opened up the view through the windshield. Maybe it would give you a less cramped feeling.
You still have to sit where you have to sit in a GT, so making the dashboard farther away from your hands and eyes isn't going to let you see out the window any easier. And the steering wheel is still going to be in the same place. Sure you could reduce the length of the overhang, but my Solstice has no dash overhang and the sun glare on the dash makes it impossible to see anything on my touch screen stereo and other instruments.

Gordo- could you use Adjustable Toggle Latch Clamps to hold your test cockpit together?
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Neat gadgets, but not appropriate nor needed for this project. My design eliminates any need to ever remove the dash. Each individual panel can be removed to get behind the dash and still leave the dash and the other panels in place. The #1 reason folks remove their dashes is to remove the heater to get the mouse nest out or to install a stereo. The stereo is mounted to it's own panel, so stereo's are super easy to swap in and out and work on. I get rid of the monstrous GT heater clusterfluff's and install the much more compact and more efficient Vintage Air type. It is also possible to remove those heaters by removing a panel or two. Since the Vintage Air heater is entirely in the car and doesn't use the heater box in the engine compartment and has squirrel cage fan, it's almost inconceivable that a mouse would make a nest there. No heater box enables deleting the heater box in the engine compartment, which frees up engine compartment space. If I put electric AC in the car, I could put the electric AC pump where the heater box used to be.
 

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1970 Opel Gt - Purchased July 1972 - Chartreuse - restored - 3000 miles as of 02-16, 2021 -
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Pretty neat that you have that test vehicle in that climate controlled basement to try things out. Very smart to hang on to that part/parts of the GT. Also bet you learned a lot by disecting it the way you did which can only help you test and complete the modifications you are planning. Looking forward to seeing all the neat things you do with your new GT
 

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Gordo's custom GT dashes. Guaranteed not to crack. Make some jigs so you can preproduce these easily. There would be more interest in a good dash with any gauge setup and cover material that you want than the body kit.
 
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