Friday, February 22, 2013

Dash Cluster

Here is our 63 dash cluster shortly after the gauges were removed.

Everything below was done twice.  The first time I used rattle can paint which had ugly results.  The paint was too thick, too shiny and the masking tape left marks.  I sandblasted everything off then started again. 

The bezels, simulated leather backing, outer trim, switch receptacles and lettering are one piece of aluminum.  There are no pieces.  In this picture I taped off the simulated leather backing then spray painted the same House of Kolor 2 part epoxy primer I used on the car.  

All the bezels were sanded smooth.  You can see where the primer filled in the pot marks and blemishes.  This gets another coat to make sure all the metal has primer.  But first...

I need to prep the back side for paint.  This area was painted light green at the factory.  I believe this is what gives the gauges a green glow at night.  The color is close to our primer so I'll just use that. 

This is after the second coat of primer.  It has already been sanded smooth.

Next is two coats of primer sealer.  This will keep the final color from turning dull over time.  

The backside turned out very nice.

To simulate chrome I used House of Kolor silver striping paint with a hardener.  I also used a reducer so I could shoot it with an airbrush.  3 full coats were used then allowed to dry and harden.

The masking tape was removed from the simulated leather backing then I masked everything that I wanted to stay silver.   I taped over all the openings so that the back side wouldn't get painted.

The semi-gloss paint I used previously was too glossy.  I tried some satin black but it also was too glossy.  I decided on Eastwood's Rust Encapsulator, the same paint I used on the frame.  The finish is perfect and it should be able to stand-up to a lot of key abuse.  I airbrushed around the bezels to insure good coverage up against the silver then I used a regular HVLP spray gun to insure uniformity.  The texture and gloss is exactly what I wanted.

Before the black paint dried I used an eraser on the raised lettering.  That removed the black and exposed the silver beneath.  It turned out very nice.  Click on the picture and check it out.

Now all I have to do is stuff the cluster with this.

Thanks for watching.


  1. Let's hope you have all the pieces. Nice that the lettering retains a little of that 'authentic wear'.

  2. Looks great. Nice trick on the lettering.

    It's like you'll be putting together a large watch!


  3. Q. Frost, I know I do not have all the pieces. Fortunately, most everything is available either OEM or aftermarket. It will take me a long time to clean, assemble and test everything. The tachometer will be the biggest challenge since it was already disassembled when purchased. I am not sure it is all there, but then, finding out is part of the fun.

  4. Pat, absolutely! The tachometer is very much clock like. The pointer is so delicate it will require a very gentle hand to install. I think it is literally made from aluminum foil. I will get it done but it may require a beer or two to calm the hands.

    1. I love all the old mechanical stuff (not that '63 makes it THAT old). The older stuff speaks of who designed it, often well.


  5. I love that everything you need on most corvettes is available from one source or another. When I had my 78, it seemed you could pretty much build one from the ground up. - Quentin