Part 1: Maxi PadFinishing touches. We can't say enough about 'em-they're a vital part of any restoration or restification. And the perfect finishing touch for many Bow-Tie interiors is a clean, new dashpad. So what are you doing with that torn, cracked, and stained pad on your ride?
Considering the fact that most of our favorite Chevys are more than a quarter-century old, it's no surprise that sun, dirt, heat, cold, and UV rays have all taken a toll on their dashpads. The vinyl (and padding) gets old and dry, and before you know it your dash is sporting more cracks and crevices than a dried lakebed. So what's an enthusiast to do? Well, you could hide the damage with a cheap-looking dash cover, or you could handle the situation in a classier manner by having Just Dashes refurbish your pad.
As the name implies, Just Dashes specializes in recovering and restoring dashpads and other vinyl interior parts like consoles and armrest pads. If you can supply Just Dashes with a halfway decent core component, the company can strip it of its old and damaged covering, fit it with fresh foam, and cover it with new vinyl that matches the color and grain of your interior. The vinyl is applied using a thermo-vacuum forming process, which literally sucks a sheet of heated vinyl over the dashpads, filling in all of the factory curves and shapes.
The following photos chronicle the restoration of a '65 Chevelle dashpad that Just Dashes recently recovered. This particular pad was not only restored, but modified as well, since the owner wanted to fill the opening for the factory speaker. It was also re-colored to match the hue of the car's custom interior. Since Just Dashes buys vinyl in such large quantities, all parts are covered in black vinyl, then re-colored to match whatever hue the customer requests. Speaking of re-coloring, Just Dashes now offers "Fade Away," a vinyl re-coloring system that allows do-it-yourselfers to re-color (or renew the color) of their plastic or vinyl interior parts. Details of the system are covered in Part 2 of this story: "In Living Color," which begins on page 124.
Part 2: In Living Color When it comes to musclecar-era interiors, one word comes immediately to mind: vinyl. It was the upholstery material of choice for most muscle machines (and passenger vehicles in general) throughout the '60s and much of the '70s. And for good reason. Vinyl was inexpensive and durable, and available in just about any color you could think of.
Over the years, however, vinyl interior pieces (and their hard-plastic brethren) have a tendency to fade and discolor, especially if they've been exposed to plenty of sun. When restoring a car, your first inclination might be to replace such faded or discolored parts. But what if we told you that you could save them instead? If the parts aren't actually damaged (cracked, chipped, nicked, dried-out, etc.) the color can be brought back to life (or changed completely) with Just Dashes' Fade Away Vinyl Re-coloring System.
The Fade Away system is kind of a cross between a dye and an interior paint that can be used to bring interior vinyl and hard plastic parts back to life. The complete kit includes all the materials you need for re-coloring-everything from rubber gloves and surface prep cleaner to brushes and a sprayer-and enough dye to recolor the majority of an average-sized interior. Fade Away can be used on most vinyl or plastic interior parts (door panels, dashpads, consoles, kick panels, headrests, etc.) but is not recommended for high-traffic seats and should never be used on carpet. Colors include just about any factory hue you can think of, or the dye can be custom-mixed to a color sample that you provide.
We recently put Fade Away to the test on the hard plastic door panel from a '70 Camaro, and came away very impressed. The door panel had been spray painted black in the past (it was originally molded in brown), and the cracked and peeling finish looked sloppy at best. After stripping off the old paint with lacquer thinner, we thoroughly cleaned and prepped the panel (using the surface prep solution supplied with the kit) before spraying on the black dye.
The dye was easy to apply-basically like spray paint-and the finished panel came out looking fantastic, with plenty of gloss and a true black color. In fact, we're planning on re-coloring the other door panel, the back seat, and much of the rest of this Camaro's interior so the whole cabin will have a like-new look.