Tag Archives: dashboard

RESTORATION 3

I suspect that in common with most ‘amateur’ restorations the costs and time taken by this project have already overrun by at least 100%. As far as time is concerned part of the problem has undoubtedly been the onset of winter and the difficulty of working on bodywork in the great outdoors. Costs, however, just seem to keep on building up despite my best efforts to do as much as possible ‘on the cheap’. The point is that once you’ve decided to do a half decent job it just doesn’t make sense to put worn or knackered parts back on your pride and joy – so you end up buying new or spending money refurbishing as you go. Still, there’s no point in complaining – after all, this is supposed to be an enjoyable hobby!

One of the more enjoyable tasks I’ve undertaken in the past months has been the refurbishment and modification of the dashboard. In standard form the Herald 1200 dash is, to say the least, spartan and does a pretty poor job of keeping the driver informed about what’s doing on. So having decided to go the ‘non-standard’ route I set about adapting the dash from my donor 13/60 to my particular requirements. The addition of a Spitfire rev counter (the electronic version to avoid the need for a mechanical drive from the distributor) was followed by contemporary fuel, temperature, battery condition and oil pressure gauges, plus the necessary warning lights and switches.

Having first sanded down the old dash I then added a new self-adhesive veneer which I then stained before applying several coats of polyurethane varnish. The result isn’t highly polished like some of the lovely after-market offerings but it will do the job and in my view will be a good match for the car.

Not being thrilled by the thought of motorway driving at 70mph pulling 4,500 revs from the outset I always planned to give the car ‘longer legs’ than the standard Herald. Initially, I considered changing the differential from the usual ratio of 4.11 to 3.89 but eventually opted for the more popular (and expensive) solution of fitting an overdrive from a Spitfire which I purchased (along with an engine) from a local TSSC member. Buying these things without having seen them in action is always a bit of a risk, but having cleaned the filter, changed the oil and checked the solenoid I’m reasonably confident that it will be fine.

I’d originally intended to use the 13/60 engine but when the opportunity arose to buy a MK3 Spitfire engine (along with the overdrive gearbox – above) at reasonable cost, I decided to take the line of least resistance and save myself the time and expense of having to go through a full rebuild. Again, there’s a bit of a risk involved, but having had the head off and the camshaft out for inspection, both of which appear to be okay, I’m hopeful that there should be no problems. The fact that at some stage in the fairly recent past its been rebored + 20 thou gives me additional confidence and I was pleased to see that the head’s already been converted to unleaded.

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