Installing an Early Steel
MkI Dash in a MkII Car
Several body modifications have to be made to fit an early steel dash to a late GT body:
First, the shroud top panel must be cut out right behind the windshield & a shroud top panel from an early steel dash car grafted in its place (we're using a '64 car as the donor). The new shroud top panel provides the upper mounting points for the steel dash and its dash roll. That cut is made as close to the windshield and around the larger GT air vents as is possible so the seam will be completely hidden by the vinyl material covering the shroud.
Then, since the later collapsible steering column won't fit with the early dash, the upper steering column support bracket must be unbolted from the firewall; the early steering column is supported off the lower dash support bar. And, the lower dash support bar (stiff tube A post) is sectioned to fit pieces from the '64 donor car to support the early steering column and the lower brackets of the steel dash.
Additionally, the firewall must be modified at the steering column hole to replace the later steering column fitting with one from the '64 donor car (the later thru-firewall fitting is too long and the early steering column won't fit properly using it, plus the columns are attached to the thru-firewall fitting differently).
When everything is finished, the early steel dash and early steering column can be bolted into the car. A UK-market steel dash radio console has to be used along with a late-MkII US tunnel console as early-MkI US radio consoles are too short.
The dash itself also received some major updating and beautification changes. Since we're going to use a radio console from a home market (UK) car modified to hold the radio and heater controls along with a clock, the steel dash radio aperture is freed up for installation of face-level fresh air vents.
Face-level fresh air vents from a '79 car, if removed from their vent escutcheon and turned sideways, will snap in the steel dash radio opening as if they were designed for it. Removing the factory caps in the firewall (or, cutting holes if none provided by the factory) opens the fresh air ducting so that the early home (UK) market steel dash vent tubes can be connected. See, in the UK, early steel dashes were used until well into the 70's with fresh air vents!
Some instrumentation changes were also made: fuel gauge to the left of the center cluster; individual oil pressure gauge to the right of the cluster in place of the original dual gauge; and, in place of the heater controls, holes for separate temperature and ammeter gauges were cut using a plasma cutter and die grinder.
...more to come as well finish out the car.