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Technical Building 38' dash into my 31 A

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by lostone, Sep 2, 2023.

  1. lostone
    Joined: Oct 13, 2013
    Posts: 2,783

    lostone
    Member
    from kansas

    Or a better title "what the hell was I thinking!"

    So I bought a really nice 38'ford dash as I wanted something somewhat custom looking and that wasn't too bad until I bought an original 26'stude gauge panel to go in it. Stude wouldn't fit so I built something similar and this is the journey from fitting a 38' ford to fitting a model A.

    First pics are of the dash sitting in the car, nothing remotely fits and is too long.

    20211005_174013.jpg 20211005_174112.jpg
     
    flynbrian48, Tim, Okie Pete and 2 others like this.
  2. lostone
    Joined: Oct 13, 2013
    Posts: 2,783

    lostone
    Member
    from kansas

    So first up was cutting it down on width, then I cut a straight line down the top of the dash side to side to get rid of the windshield v.

    Then I took some 18 Guage metal and bent round corners to add to the ends of the dash to roll back into the original A pillar.

    In the next pics you can see how well it worked and how I cut the "V" out of the top of the dash...

    20211010_164838.jpg 20211010_190724.jpg
     
  3. lostone
    Joined: Oct 13, 2013
    Posts: 2,783

    lostone
    Member
    from kansas

    At his point it was just adding sheet metal (18 gauge) to fill in the missing pieces, at this point I started to layout the dash for the stude panel.

    20211010_164846.jpg 20210919_181712.jpg 20211017_112810_resized.jpg
     
    Tim, hfh, RMR&C and 2 others like this.
  4. lostone
    Joined: Oct 13, 2013
    Posts: 2,783

    lostone
    Member
    from kansas

    So if it's shiny it's new metal.

    Due to the shape and size of the stude panel I had to fill in the drivers side hole where the choke etc was. At this point I'm at a fog in design. I'm not opposed to the gauge panel but I'm not sure I like loosing the symmetrical look of the dash with the filled in hole... but push on.

    20211005_192745.jpg 20211010_164846.jpg
     

  5. lostone
    Joined: Oct 13, 2013
    Posts: 2,783

    lostone
    Member
    from kansas

    I build a couple brackets so that the brackets bolt into the original model A A-pillars and original dash cross bar. Weld matching brackets to the inside the new dash. 4 bolts and the whole dash bolts in or take out the entire assembly. The original dash upper panel is now gone for good and sitting against the wall.

    It's also at this point disappointment sets in, no matter how I arrange it the stude panel just ain't gonna fit.....

    So what's a fella to do?.... so I built a scaled down version of the stude gauge panel, ended up shrinking the dimensions by an inch each way, now that will fit !

    I got the new gauge panel built and the body work done and in primer... life was good !

    20230711_161821.jpg 20230711_161821.jpg 20230806_145227.jpg
     
    tb33anda3rd, Tim, RMR&C and 4 others like this.
  6. lostone
    Joined: Oct 13, 2013
    Posts: 2,783

    lostone
    Member
    from kansas

    20230711_184832.jpg Next up was cutting the dash to fit my new panel, cut the hole then took a piece of 1/8" rod and bent it to fit the panel then welded it into the back side of the new dash opening.

    Once that was done, time for a test fit and look see ! Gauge panel fit perfectly BUT due to the small curvature of the dashboard side to side the gauges sat at an angle, out with the gauges, gauge panel reinstalled and then I marked the gauge panel to match the angle of the dash, cut the angle into the panel, reinstalled, perfect fit and angle with dash !! 20230711_185127.jpg
     
    tb33anda3rd, RMR&C, Okie Pete and 4 others like this.
  7. lostone
    Joined: Oct 13, 2013
    Posts: 2,783

    lostone
    Member
    from kansas

    Again..... the symmetrical balance wasn't even close, don't have to be perfect but close....

    After a coupe days of deciding what I wanted to do (which was very hard), as I wanted to keep the familiarity of the original 38' dash so that a old timer would still recognize what it was and at the same time realize the amount of custom work to it without thinking it was a entirely new dash.

    So I went to filling holes....

    The other side hole was filled, the radio dial hole gone too, the holes on the drivers end also dissappeared.

    I had lost a bunch of the 38' style and features so the speaker grille had to stay, something recognizable. Also note I filled in the vertical slot on the drivers side next to the old filled in choke panel...

    20230722_170741.jpg
     
  8. lostone
    Joined: Oct 13, 2013
    Posts: 2,783

    lostone
    Member
    from kansas

    Finally !!

    I got it to a point where I was done! Well atleast done with the mods. And I liked the looks, although wish I could have kept more of the 38' features. The old radio knobs holes will now be the wiper and headlight switches with the ignition switch mounted between them. The old hole on top of the dash will be for the heater blower motor.

    Today I spent it grinding paint, welds and lots of 80 grit so I can put epoxy primer to it tomorrow and start adding bondo.

    Also I forgot to note earlier, the gauge panel bolts in with 2 bolts AND there is a plexiglass panel that will go between the dash and the gauge panel also.

    So I went from this to this.....

    Also need to find the trim panel that goes around the speaker next..

    20211005_174112.jpg 20230902_145423.jpg
     
  9. 8ntsane
    Joined: Jul 14, 2021
    Posts: 18

    8ntsane
    Member

    Nice work, I looks like you have more than a few hours into that. The out come looks great.
     
    lostone likes this.
  10. lostone
    Joined: Oct 13, 2013
    Posts: 2,783

    lostone
    Member
    from kansas

    I'd hate to know how many hours I have in it. The wheels are about the only item on the car that I haven't cut, welded, modded or built on the entire car so far. I'd guess close to 30 hrs in the dash and gauge panel at this point..... just think how well spent that time could have been used on other things on this car :D

    ..
     
  11. goldmountain
    Joined: Jun 12, 2016
    Posts: 4,417

    goldmountain

    Have you checked if the dash will clear your window cranks?
     
  12. lostone
    Joined: Oct 13, 2013
    Posts: 2,783

    lostone
    Member
    from kansas

    I'm using later model cable style regulators, they'll allow me to put the window cranks kinda wherever I need to. Thinking low and forward.

    ..
     
    Tim likes this.
  13. lostone
    Joined: Oct 13, 2013
    Posts: 2,783

    lostone
    Member
    from kansas

    More progress, got it epoxy primed yesterday, got the plexiglass panel built for the gauge cluster.

    Here is a pic to of the gauge panel mounting inside the dash. It's pretty much self explanatory on how it works. Also notice the mounting bracket in the corner that mate's up to a mount on the A-pillar.

    I'm posting this as when I started the project there isn't much actual how to info out there especially on building and mounting a custom gauge panel...

    20230904_115852.jpg 20230904_135351.jpg 20230904_115834.jpg
     
    juan motime, tb33anda3rd, Tim and 3 others like this.
  14. X-cpe
    Joined: Mar 9, 2018
    Posts: 1,948

    X-cpe

    Nice job. Since it's your time and not mine, maybe for symmetry you could fabricate a glovebox door to match the instrument cluster shape. :D
     
  15. 8ntsane
    Joined: Jul 14, 2021
    Posts: 18

    8ntsane
    Member

    A matching glove box door would look Kustom
     
    lostone likes this.
  16. lostone
    Joined: Oct 13, 2013
    Posts: 2,783

    lostone
    Member
    from kansas

    Yeah I did give that consideration but I figured I had enough time in just the mods I did to the dash already.

    As much custom, fab, and building everything on this car so far I decided to flip a coin to see which would happen first, driving this thing one day or being way to old to finish it, after 23 coin tosses against me I threw the quarter away and said the dash looks fine !

    ...
     
    vtx1800, Tim, Hutkikz and 1 other person like this.
  17. lostone
    Joined: Oct 13, 2013
    Posts: 2,783

    lostone
    Member
    from kansas

    At last !! Dash has all the body work done and in final prime !! Now its time to start drilling holes to fit ignition switch, headlight switch and the wiper switch.

    Got the matching tach to the gauges ordered (thanks black friday!).

    Once the switches are all mounted and double checked I'll pull it apart and lay on some cool vanilla Mopar white.... and maybe a little bit of another color :D

    20231001_152838.jpg
     
  18. fastcar1953
    Joined: Oct 23, 2009
    Posts: 3,542

    fastcar1953
    Member

    looking good.
     
    lostone likes this.
  19. Tim
    Joined: Mar 2, 2001
    Posts: 16,952

    Tim
    Member
    from KCMO

    Looks great. For as much as people stuff into a single build thread we really do miss out on some great tech by it not being a stand alone thread. Thanks for putting in the extra time to document and post this.
     
    lostone likes this.
  20. brady1929
    Joined: Sep 30, 2006
    Posts: 9,241

    brady1929
    Member

    Great job.
     
    lostone likes this.
  21. Kiwi 4d
    Joined: Sep 16, 2006
    Posts: 3,555

    Kiwi 4d
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    We put a 36 dash in a 28 tudor , nope window cranks wont clear the dash , well they might but it will be a knuckle buster, but the holes in the door handle match . So simply swap the window regulator and door handles over, well almost simply.
     
    lostone likes this.
  22. Nice job. I did a forty dash in a 1931. Lots of time.
     
  23. flynbrian48
    Joined: Mar 10, 2008
    Posts: 8,185

    flynbrian48
    Member

    Nice work. I like seeing others adaptations of stuff that wasn't meant to fit. I don't want to hijack your thread, but I did pretty much the same putting a '52 DeSoto dash in my '29 roadster. Cut it in half, took out a big chunk of the middle, filled in the corners, cut out the "V" to fit against the flat dash rail. 5F6B6490-087F-4690-843A-5906EF2B43E5.jpeg EA141627-0CD3-424B-BCD0-8BFFD1875FDD.jpeg
     

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