Project Split Personality AC and Audio Install

Covering Interior Features, A/C, And Audio Systems

Rich & Barb Lagasse Feb 22, 2009 0 Comment(s)
Corp_0903_17_z Project_split_personality_ac_audio_install Interior_view 1/25

Rear compartment panels were made to smooth the area around the inner wheelwells and also provide space behind them for the eight speakers and subwoofer. Stock 63 door moldings were reversed, reshaped, and cut to length to provide a point of separation between the two-tone grey leather. A matching profile molding was found for use on the back panel.

A/C System
We chose the air conditioning, heat, and defrost system from Vintage Air and used their Gen II "Mini" system. Custom brackets were made to hang the evaporator system, and custom hoses and fittings were made which connect with a bulkhead mounted in the firewall. We ran the A/C, heater, and drain hoses through the passenger-side vent opening. It was a tight fit but worked well to hide the hoses. (See photo 20: heater and A/C lines) We used the Gen II control panel (PN 48102-SVQ) to control the air, heat, and defrost as well as a bi-level operation. This particular system uses no vacuum lines, but rather electrically operated controls including the heater valve. (See photo 04: center dash area) The outlets include two for the defrost and four for the A/C. We located two of the A/C outlets in the center of the dash and one on each side in the radio panels. The outlets open and close much like a throttle butterfly and are available from Vintage Air (PN 49215-VUQ). (See photos 04: center dash area; and photo 06: radio panel)

Audio System
Honestly, we don't often listen to the audio system while driving, but we thought it was an area that could be improved and needed to be included in our project. After looking at the systems available, we decided on the Secret Audio system from Custom Autosound. The control panel is a very small unit which fits well in the center dash area, and it also comes with a remote control. A custom billet frame was made for the control unit. The main power unit is mounted under the driver seat. A subwoofer is mounted, along with eight speakers behind the rear compartment side panels, and two front speakers are mounted behind the radio panels. We didn't have room for a separate CD unit, so we obtained a converter harness from Custom Autosound which connects an iPod to store the tunes we want. (See photos 04: center dash area; and 21: audio control unit)

Of all the aspects of our project, we really like how the interior came out. We know we've achieved our objective if everything complements the original styling of the car and is more functional and comfortable.

Lessons Learned
No matter how many projects you've done, there's always something you'll learn, whether it's a new skill, discovering helpful tools to use, or how to do something easier for future projects. We've certainly picked up a few lessons during this project, and we thought it might be helpful to mention a few.

New Skills
Molding restoration: One useful learning experience was restoring the unique '63 moldings, as the ones we found all needed work to remove scratches and dents. You can do it yourself with a little patience, practice, and the right tools. We wrote an article on that subject which appeared in the June '05 issue of Corvette Fever. If you don't keep your back issues, you can find it at this link on the CF website: www.corvettefever.com/techarticles/corp0506stainlesssteelcorvettetrimrestoration/index.html.

Polishing: This is one of those jobs that can save you some money but also comes at the price of making a huge mess of your shop and yourself. Often a polished piece can look better than chrome in some areas, but you also need a means to keep it looking that way and to prevent having to repolish it later. We found Zoops Seal to be a good choice to retain the appearance longer.

New Tools
Chassis Rotisserie: When working on a chassis, it can be difficult to get into the right position, particularly when it comes to painting a tube frame. Getting an even coat of paint on tubes was made much easier using a rotisserie we found from Accessible Systems.

Body Tilter: The extent of work we planned for the underside of the body meant many hours, which would have to be spent lying on our back. But we made a framework to mount to the body dolly, which allowed the body to be tilted onto its side, making it much easier. A picture of what our body dolly and tilter looks like appeared in Parts 6 and 7.

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