Go Back  Jaguar Forums - Jaguar Enthusiasts Forum > Jaguar Models ( Classics ) > XJ6 & XJ12 Series I, II & III
Reload this Page >

Thinking of re-doing dashboard items - opinions and thoughts?

XJ6 & XJ12 Series I, II & III 1968-1992

Thinking of re-doing dashboard items - opinions and thoughts?

 
  #1  
Old 10-31-2014, 09:08 PM
mbalce's Avatar
Senior Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Rancho Santa Margarita, CA
Posts: 196
Received 33 Likes on 18 Posts
Default Thinking of re-doing dashboard items - opinions and thoughts?

So - being fairly new to the Series 3 world, having recently acquired a beautiful condition 1985 VDP. Thinking of re-doing a few items and wanted to get any guidance, suggestions, or input. Pic attached of where I am now. I know I would be diverting away from "Stock" but my thoughts are I do not see the car appreciating tremendously in my lifetime, and I think I would enjoy it more.

Most of the mods I am considering could be reversed without a huge effort, if I keep the original bits anyway. I already fitted the Nardi wheel (have the original in near new shape packed away) and love that. Did the shift knob as well. I also changed out the stereo to a modern bluetooth/phone/streaming application based system and upgraded all the speakers (retaining the 4" stock holes).

What I am thinking about is the following:

Can the gauge bezels be made to chrome? I did this on a Triumph Spitfire. Early Triumphs (like the earlier XJ6) came with chrome bezels. Then along came some US regulation and they had to decrease dash glare so bezels starting coming flat black. Kinda known that Triumph just started painting the chrome ones. A little 0000 steel wool and you have chrome bezels. Can this be done on a 1985 VDP? If not, may still remove them and have them chromed or find some spares and chrome them and then replace them. Think it totally changes the look of the dash in a very cool way.

My car has the trip computer. But I think the 80s called and they want their computer back. My understanding in some years (don't know about 1985) you could specify a delete option and then the older style analog clock would be fitted. Are these computer delete style dash pieces available at all either NOS, repro or used? I see correct clocks on ebay but not with the dash piece. Using the trip computer dash inset as a template, it would be pretty easy to have a new piece made. Matching the veneer would be an issue. My wood is in really good shape, albeit probably slightly faded, maybe a little cloudy. No chips in veneer though, nor even any cracks in finish. I think the analog clock with no trip computer would look awesome personally.

Another item I am considering is again wood related. My bottom console section, where the shifter goes, is black pebble grain, as is the back slope where the window switches are. I have seen many of these with either just the shifter section done with burl or even with both sections burl. I think my existing one is one piece - can I even replace just the lower shifter piece? I think I have seen just that piece on ebay. Saw one kinda cool one that I think is right, from cgwoodcraft (who I have gotten other pieces from and like his work) and it replaces the two ashtrays with two cupholders. I do like the looks of the ashtrays though and wouldn't plan on either smoking or having drinks in the car, but if one of the two happened it would definitely be a drink.

Of course, now I am talking inserting two new pieces of possible non-matchning wood. Should I just consider re-doing the whole dash? You could then even convert to the older style glove box door that has burl on the back, eliminating the o so useful flip up mirror? Of course then do I go with a modern super high gloss finish over a darker more interesting burl which means the doors will have to be re-done as well?!?

I do tend to get bad cases of while we are at its, but in this case I think I may end up with something pretty darn cool. Haven't started digging into this at all but have to imagine the dash isn't too terribly hard to get out. Any good procedures or directions would be appreciated.

Anyway, thats my ideas right now. Hopefully its not blasphemy around here to mod a car like this, its not like its an original DB5 or anything. It does seems the 7" headlight conversion is very accepted and considered desirable even.

Thanks for any input, advice, sources of needed bits, or encouragement.

Mark
 
Attached Thumbnails Thinking of re-doing dashboard items - opinions and thoughts?-dsc_0056.jpg   Thinking of re-doing dashboard items - opinions and thoughts?-dsc_0064.jpg   Thinking of re-doing dashboard items - opinions and thoughts?-dsc_0068.jpg  
  #2  
Old 10-31-2014, 09:48 PM
Veteran Member
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: Tehama County, California, USA
Posts: 17,193
Received 3,474 Likes on 2,711 Posts
Default

Mark, it's YOUR car, you OWN it, and you have the right to do whatever YOU want with it to make it fit YOUR desires and preferences; YOUR personality.

Blasphemy is a religious term that should have nothing to do with a mere car. If others disagree with YOUR preferences, that's THEIR right, but it shouldn't stop you from making YOUR car what you want it to be.

I agree with you about 80s computers. I'm sure they were cutting edge when the cars were new, and a hot selling point. But now, so many owners are putting modern GPS, DVD players, all manner of electronic toys in their cars, you should be able to feel free to do the same.

I can't imagine anyone putting up with my dad's Commodore 64 to do any real work in 2014, why should you put up with it in your car??

I personally don't like the 7" headlight conversion but that's just me. Many other owners go to great lengths to install these. I would like chrome bezels on my instruments, but that will have to come Much later for me. I think they look very cool.

It's YOUR car, Mark! Make it YOURS. Worrying what others think takes so much fun out of owing such a Beautiful example as yours.
(';')
 
  #3  
Old 10-31-2014, 10:37 PM
Veteran Member
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Pacific Northwest USA
Posts: 20,151
Received 6,557 Likes on 4,863 Posts
Default

Originally Posted by mbalce View Post
Can the gauge bezels be made to chrome? I did this on a Triumph Spitfire. Early Triumphs (like the earlier XJ6) came with chrome bezels. Then along came some US regulation and they had to decrease dash glare so bezels starting coming flat black. Kinda known that Triumph just started painting the chrome ones. A little 0000 steel wool and you have chrome bezels. Can this be done on a 1985 VDP? If not, may still remove them and have them chromed or find some spares and chrome them and then replace them. Think it totally changes the look of the dash in a very cool way.


The bezels are aluminum. They polish up nicely. Not chrome, but close.




My car has the trip computer. But I think the 80s called and they want their computer back. My understanding in some years (don't know about 1985) you could specify a delete option and then the older style analog clock would be fitted. Are these computer delete style dash pieces available at all either NOS, repro or used? I see correct clocks on ebay but not with the dash piece. Using the trip computer dash inset as a template, it would be pretty easy to have a new piece made. Matching the veneer would be an issue. My wood is in really good shape, albeit probably slightly faded, maybe a little cloudy. No chips in veneer though, nor even any cracks in finish. I think the analog clock with no trip computer would look awesome personally.


The trip computer was standard fit on USA market cars. Buyer had no choice. I'm sure the clocks and panels are out there but would be ahrd to find in the USA



Another item I am considering is again wood related. My bottom console section, where the shifter goes, is black pebble grain, as is the back slope where the window switches are. I have seen many of these with either just the shifter section done with burl or even with both sections burl. I think my existing one is one piece - can I even replace just the lower shifter piece? I think I have seen just that piece on ebay. Saw one kinda cool one that I think is right, from cgwoodcraft (who I have gotten other pieces from and like his work) and it replaces the two ashtrays with two cupholders. I do like the looks of the ashtrays though and wouldn't plan on either smoking or having drinks in the car, but if one of the two happened it would definitely be a drink.

Console wood was standard beginning 1986 model year....but just around the gearshift, not the window switches. Wood around the window switches would be aftrmarket. Anyhow, as I recall it's two separate panels on all Ser IIIs



Cheers
DD
 
  #4  
Old 10-31-2014, 10:58 PM
Veteran Member
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Walnut Creek, California
Posts: 5,737
Received 1,946 Likes on 1,570 Posts
Default

Your changes are deminimus in the light of things done on some cars. Guilty here!!
Power plant and XJS wheels !


At times, I growl a bit at some changes, but remind myself, their car, their way.


The ski slope on my car is one piece, a rather blah black. I've thought of wrapping it in "leather". Contrast to match the buckskin interior of my car.


The shift knob on my car is wood, not the original black plastic. But, I think the pickiest concours judge would note that. Not that I'd give one the opportunity. concern for the guy's health, you know.


As to the trip computer, gee, a Commodore 64 was light years ahead of my forst, a Radio Shackl Color computer!!! Used the TV as a screen!!!


I envisage neat gauges, maybe aircraft styled in lieu of the TC. Vacum, analog clock, and perhaps, a compass. And perhaps a guge to read crankcase and autobox oil temperatures. An external ambient temperature guafe would be slick.


But, the real vision is to swap the radio and the TC positions. The radio is just too low to use safely while driving.


My hot rod had a switch to read right and left head coolant temperature.


Oh, why have all those neat WWII surplus aircraft toggle switches disappeared.


Right now, it is "get out and get under". Change that starter out. I got a real nce one from Rock Auto. I thought I was getting a rebuilt unit. Nope, a new one. About the same architecture as older Delco's but much smaller and lighter. Good news as I'll be on my back working up! Not as easy as it once was!!


Carl
 
  #5  
Old 09-20-2015, 10:57 PM
mbalce's Avatar
Senior Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Rancho Santa Margarita, CA
Posts: 196
Received 33 Likes on 18 Posts
Default Making some progress

Have been chipping away at a few things as time and money has allowed. I am driving this car about 50% of the time now so did also attend to a few mechanical things like all new belts and hoses, new fuel injectors, etc etc.

Idling smooth and feeling very reliable.

But, I also have been working on interior. Here is a couple of pics, though apologize for the quality, hard to get the lighting/flash combination just right to where I am happy.

Since the last post I have changed all of the gauge lightbulbs to LED, as well as the rear opera reading lights and the Opticell light. I really like the ones I have done, but at this point don't think I will change anymore. The gauges are nice and bright and my a/c controls are now at least visible. But the softer glow of incandescents on the interior lights and the outside lights seem to be more fitting of the car.

But I did find that compared to a modern car, just the dash lights alone the car seemed dark inside, lacking the little ambient light touches most cars have today. So I popped out the bulb on the front center map light, right in the center of the dash. Then went and got special green glass paint at the craft store and painted the bulb.

Now, when I am feeling like a little ambient light at night I just turn on the map light and it looks very cool and does not interfere with my night vision at all, which these days isn't so good so I am a pretty good test case.

I also changed out all the black bezel trim rings for chrome. I did try stripping and polishing the existing ones - it doesn't work on these cars, see my separate thread on that topic! But, The Speedometer Shop (Home) carries brand new chrome plated rings in the right size and shape. They say they are for Smith gauges but they worked fine on the Veglia's. I did use some black silicone to seal them on but they fit and look perfect.

Also got some chrome ringed speaker grills from Dave at Everydayxj.com and installed them as well.

Ended up getting a new wood center console, didn't get the ones with the cupholders, still second guessing myself on that decision though the twin ashtrays are definitely a conversation starter. I mean, who sees even one ashtray these days!

Really enjoying the 1985 - affectionately known as Whitesnake in this household, in deference to the video of course! Driving it more than my 2006 Super V8 Portfolio, which is a pretty fun car as well!

Thanks again to all on the forum for the help and answering my questions as they have come up!
 
Attached Thumbnails Thinking of re-doing dashboard items - opinions and thoughts?-img_4163.jpg   Thinking of re-doing dashboard items - opinions and thoughts?-img_4201.jpg  

Last edited by mbalce; 09-20-2015 at 11:02 PM.
  #6  
Old 09-20-2015, 11:33 PM
Veteran Member
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Pacific Northwest USA
Posts: 20,151
Received 6,557 Likes on 4,863 Posts
Default

Nice work


Cheers
DD
 
  #7  
Old 09-21-2015, 12:31 AM
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Northwest Sydney
Posts: 20,481
Received 1,733 Likes on 1,453 Posts
Default

That is a very relaxing looking cockpit.........nice!
 
  #8  
Old 09-21-2015, 02:19 AM
jagent's Avatar
Veteran Member
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 1,493
Received 405 Likes on 309 Posts
Default

Oh man, that is one VERY nice interior! May I ask where you sourced the console wood trim and the wood shift knob?

Cheers,
 
  #9  
Old 09-21-2015, 07:26 AM
Senior Member
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Waco, TX
Posts: 224
Received 52 Likes on 29 Posts
Default

Green glass paint!!!
This is genius - I know its a very minor thing but the ugly bare white light of that map reading light has always struck me as well out of place even on my cars which normally have such other large interior problems, only I would ever notice or care. but WOW - makes a huge visual difference at night.

Thanks for the idea - added to my growing to-do list of interior work!
 
  #10  
Old 09-21-2015, 10:09 AM
mbalce's Avatar
Senior Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Rancho Santa Margarita, CA
Posts: 196
Received 33 Likes on 18 Posts
Default

Originally Posted by jagent View Post
Oh man, that is one VERY nice interior! May I ask where you sourced the console wood trim and the wood shift knob?

Cheers,
Thanks!

The console wood trim was an eBay find. The wood shift knob I got online somewhere but I would have to go back to my files to know where for sure. I got that well over a year ago and the ole brain cells just aren't what they used to be.

I know, cuz I have bought a few of these before, that the more expensive shift knobs (thinking $80-$90) are much nicer than the cheaper ones you find online. The quality on these varies a lot but if you look closely at pics you can usually tell the nicer ones.

Put the Nardi wheel on about the same time I remember....
 
  #11  
Old 09-21-2015, 10:36 AM
Veteran Member
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Walnut Creek, California
Posts: 5,737
Received 1,946 Likes on 1,570 Posts
Default

I think my wooden shift knobs came from an Ebay Jaguar store. Look and feel nice.


I messed with cups. Decided not enough room to fit a pair nicely. Don't use them anyway.


Ash trays. I gave up smoking back in 78. never looked back. Good for parking meter coins and drive through change. Quarters in one. all else in the other.
Local meter rates are "out of this world". I just don't go to town anymore...
other places to shop.


I've cleaned and waxed my wood. Not perfect. but, it does look good.


I've though of doing the panel that is now black in a veneer or even a wood simulator contact paper. They have some very nice one and it does look good.
but, too"cheesy". I'll pass.


Decades ago, I made a built ion work table for my home office. wood planks and a vener top. In spte of some mistakes, it looked decent and worked well.


I could do that.


But, now, gotta beat my no hot water challenge in the house!!!


Carl
 
  #12  
Old 09-21-2015, 11:07 AM
Jose's Avatar
Veteran Member
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Florida
Posts: 5,826
Received 1,338 Likes on 1,088 Posts
Default

the console panel in my 1984 is one piece, folded at around 40 degrees to form the ski slope. then a layer of black Ambla vinyl was vacuum-glued over it, a black glossy hard plastic edge was then fit on three sides.

I eliminated the "leaper cat" emblem and installed a revolving ashtray from a E-type. I plan to eliminate the two ashtrays on each side of the shifter tower, they are useless IMO.

Also eliminated the black plastic knobs on the cig lighter and dash lights dimmer and replaced them with identical chromed metal knobs from a 1964 S-type.
 
Attached Thumbnails Thinking of re-doing dashboard items - opinions and thoughts?-xj-chromed-ashtray-knobs.jpg  
  #13  
Old 09-21-2015, 02:00 PM
Senior Member
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: Haverford, PA
Posts: 207
Received 41 Likes on 30 Posts
Default

Looks awesome!!! Do you have a summary of the bulbs you used??

You might be able to tap that map light to go on with the light switch to have full ambient. Ever since a 2000 S-Class I had, I've loved that ambient lighting look, so classy.

I would love an elegant upgrade to that trip computer.
 
  #14  
Old 09-21-2015, 03:57 PM
mbalce's Avatar
Senior Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Rancho Santa Margarita, CA
Posts: 196
Received 33 Likes on 18 Posts
Default

Originally Posted by thedugger1 View Post
Looks awesome!!! Do you have a summary of the bulbs you used??

You might be able to tap that map light to go on with the light switch to have full ambient. Ever since a 2000 S-Class I had, I've loved that ambient lighting look, so classy.

I would love an elegant upgrade to that trip computer.
Let me see if I can find the list of bulbs I used, but I think if you search in the threads you will find at least a few postings with that info - its what I used to order them.

Regarding wiring into the light switch, I definitely thought about doing just that. If I go that route I may put in some footwell lights as well as lights under the seats. Have to be careful as its very easy to go overboard on adding lights though and pretty soon you look like a riced out Honda or Beemer. The plus side with leaving it as a switch is I have the option if I do want to shut them down, with the downside being I know at some point I will forget to turn them off and I will prob drain the battery. Good news is that if I do kill the battery it won't freak the car out like it does on my 06!

The trip computer is still on my list. I bought a different center wood piece that was set up for the euro square clock. I also got a clock to fit it. (thanks again to Dave at everydayxj.com!)

But the veneer on the wood piece needs to be re-done and I am pretty sure the clock needs repair so that is a down the road project. If I am going to re-veneer that piece anyway, I thought maybe I would find a different clock and just have the wood piece filled, re-drilled and re-veneered based on whatever clock I find that I like.

Always something to do!
 
  #15  
Old 10-01-2015, 08:33 PM
Senior Member
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: Haverford, PA
Posts: 207
Received 41 Likes on 30 Posts
Default

With regards to the bulbs, does this seem to match up to what you used:

Opticell Light
BA9S 5 SMD LED 1.5 Watt 12VDC - White 6000K

Tachometer Bulb
T10 Wedge 5 Ultra Bright SMD LED Bulb 1.5W W5W 12 VDC T3 1/4 - Super White

Speedometer and Gauges
E10 Screw Base 5 5050 SMD 3 Chip LED Light Bulb 12 VDC - White 6000K

The one concern I had was the tach bulb since it's a T10 wedge and I read in other posts that it might illuminate differently (less brightly).

Thanks Again!
 
  #16  
Old 10-01-2015, 09:50 PM
mbalce's Avatar
Senior Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Rancho Santa Margarita, CA
Posts: 196
Received 33 Likes on 18 Posts
Default

Originally Posted by thedugger1 View Post
With regards to the bulbs, does this seem to match up to what you used:

Opticell Light
BA9S 5 SMD LED 1.5 Watt 12VDC - White 6000K

Tachometer Bulb
T10 Wedge 5 Ultra Bright SMD LED Bulb 1.5W W5W 12 VDC T3 1/4 - Super White

Speedometer and Gauges
E10 Screw Base 5 5050 SMD 3 Chip LED Light Bulb 12 VDC - White 6000K

The one concern I had was the tach bulb since it's a T10 wedge and I read in other posts that it might illuminate differently (less brightly).

Thanks Again!
Yup, thats the list. I found very little difference in the illumination between gauges. Not perfect but very close - and if anything the Tach lights up brighter than the speedo! I still don't find the Opticell bright enough, I just found a Cree bulb that should fit. More $$s ($35 vs a couple of bucks for most LEDs) but my Cree flashlights are amazing so I thought I would at least try it. Ordered it from Amazon but its a non-prime reseller so not sure when it will arrive.

The biggest bang for the effort though has been the green glass paint on the map bulb in the center of the dash. I really like it on, may go the full route and re-wire it so it comes on always with the dash lights.
 
  #17  
Old 10-01-2015, 10:02 PM
Senior Member
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: Haverford, PA
Posts: 207
Received 41 Likes on 30 Posts
Default

Good to know! I think I'm going to follow your lead on the map light. It might be easier to just wire it to go on when the car is on. I've seen most of the ambient lighting on cars I've had on all the time, not just with the lights.

Keep us posted on that Opticell light. When replacing that bulb, did you remove the switches and console surround or do it through the storage bin? I'm reading conflicting info.
 
  #18  
Old 10-01-2015, 10:13 PM
mbalce's Avatar
Senior Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Rancho Santa Margarita, CA
Posts: 196
Received 33 Likes on 18 Posts
Default

Originally Posted by thedugger1 View Post
Good to know! I think I'm going to follow your lead on the map light. It might be easier to just wire it to go on when the car is on. I've seen most of the ambient lighting on cars I've had on all the time, not just with the lights.

Keep us posted on that Opticell light. When replacing that bulb, did you remove the switches and console surround or do it through the storage bin? I'm reading conflicting info.
First time I did it I took the whole surround out but I was replacing the black surround with a burl surround I found on EBay. Since then have pulled the bulb out a couple of times just taking the cubby out. Should be right there near front. Easy.
 
  #19  
Old 10-11-2015, 04:41 PM
Senior Member
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: Haverford, PA
Posts: 207
Received 41 Likes on 30 Posts
Default

Thanks for your help on this! Just installed the LEDs and what a great improvement. I agree with you the Opticell is a touch dim so I'm eager to see how you make out with your Cree light upgrade.
 
  #20  
Old 10-11-2015, 10:25 PM
TheWarlock's Avatar
Senior Member
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Dallas, TX
Posts: 364
Received 74 Likes on 62 Posts
Default

I like the custom touches, just doing a few myself. When i changed out the dash lights, the speedo and tacho are not as bright as the rest of the gauges, if i recall those 2 have a plastic lens/section through which the light is diffused whereas the other gauges don't. Did anybody get the light evenly bright?
 

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Quick Reply: Thinking of re-doing dashboard items - opinions and thoughts?


Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service

© 2019 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.
 
  • Ask a Question
    Get answers from community experts
Question Title:
Description:
Your question will be posted in: