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_06_z Project_split_personality_ac_audio_install Interior_view 1/25

This shows the arrangement we made for the center dash area. It houses two of the four A/C outlets, two new gauges (fuel pressure and exhaust temperature), the audio control, and the Vintage Air control panel.

The glovebox door is from a '64, as our original fiberglass unit was damaged beyond repair. We had to restore the door, including the aluminum panel. We followed the approach we had seen on the Corvette Forums where the original panel is cut out and the new panel is slid underneath. That approach worked well and prevented having to drill out the original door rivets. We're not sure who came up with that idea, but it saved some time. We had to use a shallower glovebox liner in order to clear the A/C vent lines, and we obtained that from Hot Rod Air. We covered the inside of the glovebox with the grey leather. Both the glovebox and the gauge cluster were painted in grey, matching the leather.

Steering Column And Steering Wheel
We thought a tilt column would be a useful modern addition and chose the '63-'66 Corvette unit from Flaming River. We covered the engine compartment side of the installation in our last project installment (Part 7). The upper portion of the column was painted to match the interior color, and the lower column was polished. The steering wheel is a Woody's III three-spoke from Flaming River in a 14-inch diameter, which has a similar spoke design to the original wheel. It was covered in two-tone grey leather by Ron Magnus Upholstery. For the center emblem on the horn button, we used the stock '63 center piece, which was machined to the right diameter and glued in place. (See photo 11: steering wheel and column)

Door Panels And Power Windows
We retained the original design of the '63 door panels; however, new backing panels were custom made which were covered in the two-tone grey leather. The panels use push-style pins to hold them in place in lieu of the stock screws. The door pulls were also covered in contrasting grey leather. As with the original door panels, carpeting was used at the bottom of the panels. (See photo 12: door panel)

We decided to convert to power windows and used units from Nu-Relic which installed easily and work well. We mounted the window switches in the center console. We also had to come up with a means to route the wiring through the door and doorjamb and used conduits from Electric-Life as a starting point. This was another "more involved than we thought" aspect, as the door hinges of the Corvette are unique. A good choice would have been just to use the stock '63 power window metal conduits, but we wanted something a little different. One of the conduits Electric-Life offers uses a braided hose and a swivel collar at one end. We found that we had to use a swivel collar at both ends to get it to work right. In retrospect, while this setup looks and works well, we recommend using either the stock Vette metal conduit or possibly the EZContact doorjamb contacts. While the latter won't allow the windows to operate while the door is open, they sure would have made this aspect much easier. (See photo 13: P/W conduit)

Console
A custom center console was fabricated beginning with a stock automatic midyear console as a base. It incorporates a combination storage area and armrest and was covered in two-tone leather. The console also houses the power window switches and uses a Lokar billet shift boot ring and custom leather boot. The shift handle is a midyear-style from Keisler Engineering and connects to a Pro-Shifter for the Tremec six-speed transmission, also from Keisler Engineering. (See photo 14: center console)

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