1971 Triumph Spitfire Dash Templates And Dash Reconstruction.

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The 1971 Spitfire was originally shipped with a black plastic dash. It is a very clean and sparse design. However I wanted something a little more interesting,
but at the same time wanted the ability to return to factory if a subsequent owner desired. So, the plastic pieces are kept with the car. I had
also acquired a couple of factory wood dash with the parts and body shell package. I didn't want to disturb these and they were not
quite what I was looking for anyway.

When I did my first iteration of the custom dash, there were a couple things I was not fully satisfied with, such as the way the heater control bezel fit.

This is when I decided to attempt to plot the dash outlines and instrument placement in AutoCad. Many hours work went into this and hopefully the
result and the construction notes below are something that might be of some help. There are probably many ways one could do this project. This
is just one of them

I used these plots at templates. They were taped and / or stapled to 3⁄8 five core birch plywood after the template outer shape was cut.
The centers of the various instrument holes were marked with a pointed lead pencil and the outer shape of the dash was traced on the plywood.

Straight cuts were made on a radial arm saw with a fine toothed carbide blade. Curved cuts were made with a fine tooth scroll saw and saber saw,
and finished by sanding.

Round recess grooves and holes were made with a Dremel circle cutter. Areas requiring routing on the rear of panels were done with the Dremel router attachment.
I also found the Flex Shaft tool to be useful in trimming / smoothing routed areas. I also found by experimenting that it is not a good option for smoothing
gauge cut outs as the radius of the Dremel drum sander attachments is just way too small.

I can not recommend hole saws for this application, with one exception. Hole saws are generally a very imprecise cutter that renders a rough hole. If one measures them with a caliper,
they are not exactly round, the number of TPI usually is too coarse and they do not come in the exact sizes needed. They are very good for cutting a hole
for a drain pipe, not for a Spitfire Dash. The one exception where a hole saw worked out very well was the hole / slot for the steering column.

Bevel cuts can be done with the TR632   1⁄4 chamfer bit. I did most of the hole cutting with a 561 cutter bit, although I might recommend the 9901
or 9902 carbide cutting bit instead. The 561 is nice in that it is slender and makes a thin cut. It will have a tendency to wander unless you go very very gently.
It will also dull sooner and need replacement sooner than the 990X carbide cutters. Either way, be sure you use the circle cutter attachment cutting against the
rotation of the cutter. Experimenting on a scrap piece first is advised to get the size of the hole / feel for the cutter first.

I also used various router bits to cut the recess groove for the instruments. The only thing is to select a router bit that will be a bit wider than the groove you need,
as the hole for the instrument will be cut after the groove is cut.

I used a caliper to measure from the outside of the cutter to the opposite outside of the center pin, including the radius of the center pin.
Example: For a 2 inch diameter hole, the radius of the hole would be one inch plus the radius of the 1⁄8 center pin or .0625. So the total measurement
would be 1.0625. This eliminates trying to measure precisely the center of the pivot pin.

These are simple and inexpensive tools, but do require some practice and getting used to for set up and smooth operation. The plus side is that they are affordable.

678-01 Circle Cutter      335-01 Router       225-01 Flex Shaft    9901 Cutter    9902 Cutter

The general process was to cut out each dash section and fit them all to the car together. If you have the original dash you can use those pieces
for the template for the outer edges and use these templates to get the center points of the instruments, or any combination that works for your project.

Next, set up the circle cutter for the recess groove for your instruments. I set it up to do the small instruments first, doing a trial of the gauge recess on
a scrap piece. I then cut all the grooves for those gauges, increasing the depth a little at a time, three to four passes, always testing the next depth on the scrap
piece using the caliper. This saves a lot of set up, and once you have verified it correct on your test piece, it makes the job actually quicker and more consistent.
I then set up the cutter to make the hole for the instruments after the recess grooves were complete.

The same method is used for the larger instruments.

The most difficult to get right is the heater bezel cut out. I cut out the heater bezel area of the template with an Exacto knife, and then marked the shape
on the panel. Then the hole was cut using a table scroll saw. Drill four 1⁄4 inch holes at approximate corners of the cut out and pass
the scroll saw blade through. Cut the hole out a bit undersized. Next go to the rear of the panel and route out the areas necessary for the bezel to fit properly
and don't forget that little area that the illumination bulb needs at bottom center. Once you have the fit you want and have verified it lines up with the controls on the car,
the fine work of finishing the cutout can take place. With the rear routed out, there is less material one has to contend with making this easier. I used
a Dremel sanding drum for some of the trim work, but it was mostly with small files and hand sanding to get it sized right.

Most all of the simple round holes and recesses behind them were cut with counter bores rather than drills.

Next would be the veneer... but that will come later.....


Dash Templates:

These are drawings of the 3 instrument panel sections for the MKIV and 1500 Spitfires.  These have been taken from 3 complete sets of factory panels.
Two were wooden and one plastic, from 1971 to 1978. The outer dimensions have been fairly well vetted, although even when comparing the factory panels to each other,
they are not exactly the same.

These are for LHD vehicles obviously.

Templates are outputted to PDF and can be outputted to a fairly heavy stock paper or Autocad compatible files. Please contact me using the link at the bottom of the page.


The usual caveat is that you use any of this information or templates, you do so at your own risk. I've made every attempt to check accuracy but can not promise that these match your application.
If you find inconsistencies or errors, please let me know. You may also see some variances in metric conversion due to rounding errors.

The photos on this page are representative of the templates. However they are fairly low resolution JPEGS and should not be used for construction.
Please follow the links to the PDF files if you intend to use these templates. The PDF's have been outputted to a PC3 so some of the layers in the drawings may be enabled or disabled.

A scale has been included in each drawing set. Some printers / plotters may not reproduce at exactly 1:1. Please be careful of this. Place an accurate scale or ruler
against the printed scale to be sure the size is accurate.

12-25-2014
Left Dash
Mounting points and cut outs for wiper switch and lamp dimmer (if applicable) are not shown. Also the position for the choke cable (if applicable) has not been 100% verified.
This should probably be sorted when the panels are fit together in the car, along with the mounting studs that I forgot to put in.
The overall dimensions and the speedometer and tachometer locations are within a few thousandths of both wooden factory panels.

Click Here  for a PDF of the left dash.

UPDATE: The opening to the left of the speedometer, I believe for a GT6 air vent, appears to be located quite differently
between 1971 and 1976. One needs to verify exact location before using.

Contact me if you want full size print outs or another file format.

Center Dash  Rear and Front View.


Click Here  for a PDF of the stock center dash.

Right Dash front and rear views.



12-25-2014
Click Here  for a PDF of the right dash.
Contact me if you want full size print outs or another file format.


This is a conceptual mock up of the full dash as yet to be completed. I've not included switch and indicator positions in the left panel.
Please do not rely on the dimensions in this image.






Starting the layout of the new instrument panel(s).

 



8-19-2014
Fitting components to left panel. Images are before finish work and veneer. The speedometer case was refinished after this photo was taken.
The issue was not so much appearance, although it was a bit rusty, the paint was falling off inside and starting to get onto the face plate, dial, and into the mechanism.
It was bead blasted and re painted. Metallic foil tape was used to cover the slot originally used by the voltage stabilizer. The stabilizer is not required in this application
as the fuel gauge has its own stabilize and the temperature gauge is now mechanical. The tachometer has also been converted to a more modern electronic design.


 


8-21-2014
Fitting components into the center panel. The headlight switch (round knob) is not attached in this photo and the heater control bezel is temporarily held with a couple small screws.
The yellow switch is fog lamps. More work to do before it is ready for veneer.

The center panel layout above does not reflect the head lamp switch modification. Stock layout is shown.

 

The two propped up together after nailing down the headlamp switch, more fine adjustment on the heater control bezel.... etc... etc... etc....

 

8-24-2014
Trying to make things fit, and they do pretty well. Will need to set the dash pad in. Left panel needs some adjustment.. Everything so far works,
The led's on the headlamp switch are way too bright....... Will try to install the temperature / oil pressure gauge in the left panel tomorrow.

 


9-4-2014
Made up an adaptor to fit the new radio to the dash support. Cleaned up the edges of the cut out in the milling machine. Then glued
two pieces of 8 ½ X 3½ X   3⁄8 hardwood plywood together. Routed the front piece to fit the cut out which is 7 1⁄2  X  2 7⁄8  X not quite  ¼  inch thick.
The assembly was clamped into the milling machine and the hole for a DIN mount cut out.

Four 6-32 flat head screws were tapped into the support to hold this in place. Because the radio face plate folds down for removal and to load a CD, clearance
to the gear selector was an issue. With the radio mounted flush, the faceplate just clears the gear selector in second or fourth gear.

The photo shows the radio mounted and the start of covering the support piece. This is ¼ inch foam and will be vinyl covered to match the seats.





 



 

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