The dashboard is a custom fabrication, well it is a single piece of 16 SWG Aluminium with 5 bends in it across its length. This is topped off by a carbon fibre top section, with some plywood end caps.
The aluminium is practically the width of the vehicle so needed some pretty professional bending equipment to make a reasonable job of it. Therefore I decided to make a mock up of the profile required and then take this to a local fabricator. I did this by using a small section of fairly thin Aluminium that I bent by hand. I then asked for the same but 60" long.
In doing this I had nice neat bends, however the only problem with this was that I then needed to cut it to fit around the steering column and profile the ends to miss the doors by hand. This is did with the aid of my mate Guy and a jigsaw. Then there was the holes for the switches and instruments. These I marked up for position after fitting the dash panel in place, to make sure that they were central to the steering wheel. Then cut and filed. The small holes 22.5mm DIA for the warning lights and switches were cut using a Q-max Hole cutter (much easier than drilling and filing).
All of the gauges are Autometer UltraLite's and an Autometer Silver 5" Monster Tach. These are all Anodised Aluminium with a brushed Aluminium face with black lettering and bright orange/red needles. They are very clear and are used extensively in the NASCAR race car series in the US because of the very light weight and accuracy. I just like the look of them.
photos show the aluminium section with some of the gauges and switches being
test fitted. Note the cut-out for the steering column and the end cut-outs to
clear the doors.
All of the switches and warning lights are industrial 22mm Telemecanique XB2-B industrial switches and indicators. These are not usually found in any motor vehicles they are more commonly found on heavy industrial plant equipment. I decided to use them as they are easy to use and wire up and they look good and robust and fit well with the Land Rover's image.
Here is the dash in place with the top section and instruments in place.
The last picture here shows the dash glove box hole, I decided to put this in to break up wide expanse of the passenger side of the dash, plus give somewhere to actually use to be able to put things.
Two shots from above with the roof section removed show the complete dash in place. These show the carbon fibre top quite well. Yes it is proper carbon fibre, not the stick on variety you can get in halfords. I made the top out of marine ply, cutting the shape out by hand and then using a router to give a radial edge. This was then used to make a plug to mould the Carbon Fibre. The ply was then thinned down slightly and moulded into the back of the carbon to give it additional strength and rigidity.
Here is a recent picture showing the latest addition to the dash instruments. This being the SPA Dual gauge (Fuel pressure and Boost pressure). Temporarily mounted at the moment.
It will eventually be mounted in a pod, but until I find one that does not look like it cost 50p to make, it will remain tied to the side of the monster Tach with Cable ties.
I have replaced the instrument lighting with Blue LED's. I have also been told by SPA that they can upgrade my Boost/Fuel Pressure Dual gauge to have a Blue backlit display, so I will send it off soon.
I still need to change the bulbs out in the Rancho Suspension gauges, but these are actually soldered in so will do these at a later date as I will have to take the dash out again to get to the wiring. Once I have done these, all the instruments will match.
Here are a couple of photos showing the light, they are not very good as they were taken in the dark, but you get the idea.
I finally found a suitable mounting cup for the SPA Gauge, as it turned out it is actually made by Autometer (who make all the Ultralight gauges I have used). The mounting cup is made of real carbon fibre and matches the dashboard top perfectly. I decided to get the cup for the SPA and also the one that goes on the rear of the 5" monster Tach. They are not cheap, but they look the business.
Here you can see what the cups look like on their own, its a lot easier to see than when they are actually installed.
Below are various photos showing the new blue lit SPA and Ultralights as well as the Carbon Fibre Cups. You can see how well they match the dashboard top.
I managed to change the lighting in the Rancho gauges today. I couldn't get a straight replacement for the bulbs that where in them originally, I managed to get a similar bulb but had to get the soldering iron out to connect them up to the flying leads that connect into the rest of the loom.
I took a few more pictures of the dash top and pods in daylight and with the dash top out of the Lightweight. You can see them here:
A few more pictures of the interior lights, now complete: