Made a start on the dash today. It had been lying around in the garage for weeks and I was dying to start cutting holes but I didn't want to do that until I had the gauges to double check the sizes.

One thing I wasn't overly happy with doing was thinning down the GRP to allow the toggle switches (for heater, lights and fog) to pass through as they only have short threaded sections to push through the GRP, the foam and the leather.

Whilst at Stoneleigh, Charlie Donaghy (who's amazing Cobra was on the GD stand) explained that he had taken a different approach. It was one I decided to copy.

This method was to cut out a rectangular section of dash that was big enough to house the switches and then fix in place, using M3 countersunk head set screws and nylocs, a 1.5mm thick stainless/aluminium  cover plate. The fixing holes for the switches can then be drilled through this giving a much more solid feel and without the risk of the GRP ever breaking with repeated use. 

As this plate stand proud of the dash by 1.5mm, the rest of the dash is then covered with 1.5mm rubber sheet, rather than using the usual foam as supplied by the trimmers, cutting closely around the metal plate so that no gaps will be seen/felt once the leather is applied.

The leather is then bonded to the rubber. 

The holes for the gauges cut using a Stanley knife

I used a small punch to make the holes for the warning lights (the holes had previously been drilled in the GRP). The lamps and gauges were then pushed through and fitted prior to wiring. This method gives, in my opinion, a much more professional and modern looking dash with no indentations where switches are clamped in place. I had bought a stainless steel fascia for the switches which is engraved for IVA purposes but I felt the dash looked better and more period without it so I have just used adhesive labelling which can be removed later.

With everything in place it was time to try and figure out how to connect the dash loom to the various instruments. First off, a call was made to GD to get a wiring diagram for the dash loom as I didn't receive one with the loom. I then went about labelling each section of the loom to make it easier as I started to make the connections.

A few more calls to GD to clarify where the wiring diagrams for the loom and the instruments were at odds with each other and it was eventually all wired up and ready to be fitted into the car and connected to the body loom. 

Roll Hoops 2

Having sound proofed the rear bulkhead inside the boot I could now move on to finishing the roll hoops.

The legs pass through the carpet that sits on top of the rear deck and tank so this needs marking and cutting fairly accurately - I've seen a few cars where the final fit of things like this really let the car down so I want mine looking right.

The first task was to identify which bit of carpet actually goes where. I decided to empty the box out and lay it all out where I thought it would go (a bit like Ryan did with his build)

Once I had identified the correct piece, I was really disappointed to notice that the carpet was badly marked and the pile was virtually cut through in a few places. Trying to make up my mind whether to reject the piece, which would delay the build, I positioned the carpet in situ and the damaged area is right where the legs go so I was erring towards putting up with problem. I decided before making a final decision I would try a trick that I was shown years ago that gets indentations out of household carpets where furniture has flattened the pile. This is to put several ice cubes directly onto the affected area and for some strange reason this then lift the pile back in to place. Well... I tried it and it worked perfectly and you would never know there had been a problem!!

Again following Ryan's method I marked around the tops of the holes in the boot floor using chalk and pressed the carpet into place - this left a mark on the underside of the carpet which would effectively be where the hoops pass through.

I then took the centre point of the hole positions, and pierced through the carpet. I then stood the legs on the top side of the carpet and marked around them to give the maximum diameter. The next step was to cut a star shape in the carpet that would be pushed through the holes in the boot floor with the legs.

The legs were filled with expanding foam (damn that was a messy job) which GD recommend you do to stop any resonance transmitting from the chassis through the hoops. A warning to other builders, this stuff really does expand quickly and gets everywhere. Make sure you put your fixing bolts back in place or the threads will be covered up and need re-tapping. Keep it off your skin too or it leaves marks for days!!


Needing to get the roll hoops fitted I had to fit a piece of carpet in the boot. This is the piece that goes on the top deck and the roll hoops pass through the carpet.

Its important therefore to get the holes cut as accurately as possible so i followed a tip I had seen in Ryan's blog and marked around the holes in the boot floor wiht chalk and then put the carpet in place pressed down and it marked the hole positions on the underside of the carpet. I also passed the roll hoops through the holes in the rear scuttle and positioned them roughly in place and marked around them. As luck would have it both sets of markings lined up and I was confident enough to cut the holes.

This I decided to do by simply cutting a series of crosses from the centre point of the hole position. That way, rather than cutting big holes the legs would push through making a better seal around the base (the holes still need to be filled with silicone form the underside to keep them watertight).

So the carpet was laid in place and the hoops passed through and secured to the chassis. I will go back and glue the carpet down at a later date when I have sorted out which bits go where in the boot!!!

The lumpy bit on the right hand side is the fuel hose that needs re-routing


One thing that had been bugging me for ages was the door latches dont have a spring mechanism on them so the handles have to be manually moved back and forth when opening and closing the door. This is clearly unacceptable and springs needed to be sourced and fitted.

Again, the trip to Stoneleigh was realyl useful as GD had a part uilt car on the stand and I could see how they fit the springs. I then managed to find a store on the walk back to the car that had some springs that look perfect for the job.

Fitted them and they work a treat :)

Sound Proofing

Wanting to get the roll hoops finished, I realised that the top section of boot carpet needed to be fitted as the roll hoop legs pass through this. This got me thinking as to whether or not I should add some sound proofing material to the inside of the boot (rear bulkhead) and inside of the car too for that matter.

I know GD don't bother but I had spoken to Charlie from Ireland at Stoneleigh who had used it on his car and for what it costs I thought I would do too.

CBS had a stand at the show so I bought a pack while I was there and made a start on fitting it to the rear bulkhead.

While I was at it I also applied some to the inside of the doors.

I was now ready to concentrate on fitting the boot carpet so I could get the roll hoops finished off.