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Projects 58 T Bird Dash in a 49 F1?

Discussion in 'Traditional Customs' started by TheSteamDoc, Jan 10, 2019.

  1. TheSteamDoc
    Joined: Jul 14, 2018
    Posts: 10


    I was wondering if abyany has ever put a 1958 T Bird Dash into a 48-51 Ford F series? I know it's not just gonna bolt up as is. Anyone have dimensions of a 1958 T-bird dash? I have access to a Ford truck for measurements. Like to know what I'm in for.
  2. The critical measurement will be the T-Bird dash depth... This is a very 'deep' dash, with nearly 12" from the windshield to the furthest point out on the dash face. Compared to the truck dash depth of about 4", that leaves a lot of dash sticking out...
  3. F-ONE
    Joined: Mar 27, 2008
    Posts: 1,484

    from Alabama

    Think about it. Is a 58 Thunderbird and a 48 F1 similar in shape in any way?
    In my opinion, no.
    What is?
    Late 30s-40s cars can be somewhat basic design and size.
    In my opinion, something like a 1940 Ford car dash is doable. '40 dashes show up on the Bay from time to time.
  4. BJR
    Joined: Mar 11, 2005
    Posts: 4,749

    from Minnesota

    You do realize that a 58 T Bird dash is covered with a moulded vinyl and foam cover that makes the shape. Trying to narrow or change the shape in any way will be the biggest head ache you have ever had.
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  5. TheSteamDoc
    Joined: Jul 14, 2018
    Posts: 10


    Back to the drawing board haha. Shooting for a late 50's/early 60's custom. I'm thinking about modifying the original dash. How? I'm not sure. Thinking new knobs and buttons.
  6. I have one of those dashes out and if you want to fab an upper section to replace the padded part, it may be doable, but you're going to have to chop most of the middle out of it.
  7. I think if your up to the task and want that duo cockpit style dash I would just hand build it out of tubing and sheet metal. Then your not grafting a pre built piece and you make it fit as you want, not how it dictates. For me it's a much easier job that way but understand I've been hand building for over 50 years. Also your not going to run the stock T-Bird heat/air unit and probably not the Gauge insert, also the steering column isn't going to mount where it belongs in the Truck in the place for it in the Bird dash. So ask yourself how much of the Bird dash will you use and is it worth it?
    Yes you can but there are much easier ways to get the look and I like your idea over all, just not the direction your trying to get there on.
    The Wizzard
  8. TheSteamDoc
    Joined: Jul 14, 2018
    Posts: 10


    I'm thinking about modifying the original dash. Haven't decided on what radio to use. Like to give it a new look but keep it's shape.
  9. I am assuming (We all no what happens when you do that) you are after the instrument panel.
    Why not graft the left side of the T-Bird dash in?
    upload_2019-1-11_16-57-17.png upload_2019-1-11_16-58-23.png
  10. The '50s T-bird dashes would all be hard installs in your truck. Ford cars, I'd look at '49-53, skip the '54-56, then the '57-60 would be doable. More-or-less the same goes for Mercury, although while Ford started using a lot of 'chrome' plastic in '57, Mercury mostly stuck with metal trim until about '64. The Merc dashes in the mid-'50s did have weird 'protuberances' around the steering column that would need addressing. Most Mercs also featured full factory gauges until the early '60s, Ford switched to gen/oil idiot lights in '54.
    Hnstray likes this.
  11. TheSteamDoc
    Joined: Jul 14, 2018
    Posts: 10


    I haven't made up my mind about a radio, but, I'm thinking a 58 Edsel radio in place of the stock radio/speaker on the dash and some space age looking knobs for the dash.
  12. 'Mo
    Joined: Sep 26, 2007
    Posts: 5,597


    What about the rest of the truck? How about some pics?
    AChopped1950ford likes this.
  13. RMR&C
    Joined: Dec 26, 2009
    Posts: 2,848

    from NW Montana

    I grafted a '49 Ford car dash into my '51 Ford COE. Had to narrow it a bunch, those cabs are really narrow at the dash.
    There are several dash swap threads on here if you search.

    DSCN0544.JPG DSCN0545.JPG
  14. @RMR&C, that's nice!
    I had a '53 car dash I was going to use but decided not to.
    Here's mine, still in process. I mirrored the left edge of the stock bezel and just enlarged the opening. I also filled the radio opening.

    RMR&C likes this.
  15. bobbytnm
    Joined: Dec 16, 2008
    Posts: 1,102


    Anything is possible. I swapped in a 56 Packard dash into a 58 Packard. Lots of cutting and fitting to make it work. Like others have said, the biggest issue is the depth of the 49 cab, there just isnt much room there. What about just using the cluster?
    My original plan with my 49 was to graft in the cluster from a 58 Pontiac. I made a start on it way back when but haven't gotten around to actually cutting on the truck. It's still on my "to do" list.....

    58 Pontiac.jpg Oct5c.JPG Oct7a.JPG Oct7f.JPG
    Hnstray and RMR&C like this.
  16. "56 Packard into '58 Packard"

    Isn't that pretty much how the '58s came in the first place?
    Hnstray likes this.
  17. Hnstray
    Joined: Aug 23, 2009
    Posts: 9,864

    from Quincy, IL

    ^^^^^^’56 Packards were the last of the ‘real’ Packards......the ‘57/‘58 were based on the Studebaker President body, festooned with Packard inspired gee gaws.....totally different car.
    XXL__ likes this.
  18. One of the more common swaps is the 59-60 Chevy car. I have a 51 and giving up room for the steering column would lead to driver space reduction. I have a 58 Ford dash that I had thought about using. By the time the size reduction was completed, there wasn't enough left of the dash to warrant doing it. My suggestion is to find and instrument cluster you want to look at and graft that in. There are 3 items you look at all the time: the top of the hood, the dash and the steering wheel. Do your best with those. :)
    Hnstray likes this.
  19. bobbytnm
    Joined: Dec 16, 2008
    Posts: 1,102


    I know it doesn't sound like much of a difference, but.....
    As already mentioned, the 56 was the last real Packard. The 58 was an enhance Studebaker. Here are a couple of pics. in the 1st pic the 58 dash is in the front, in the 2nd pic its on the right. I had to narrow the 56 dash about 5 inches. I couldn't cut it out of the center due to the glove box and the dash trim, so I cut and rebuilt the wings on either side.
    2012-02-08_19-55-38_756.jpg 2012-02-08_19-57-31_808.jpg
    RMR&C likes this.

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