Last month we finally finished off the last of the rust repairs and also found time to fabricate some new seat runners too. Well, this month, we’ve continued to focus on the interior and have been busy making a few improvements to make sure this time it’s more comfortable and more practical than it was when we last built the Escort over 10 years ago! Yes, over the last decade we’ve made the odd tweak here and there, but as this is a ground-up rebuild – in fact, it’s almost like we’ve started the build from scratch again! – we’re able to finally address the more minor things that we always wanted to change before, but we just lived with because to would have proved too much hassle when the car was complete and working.
One such area is the dashboard. For years I’ve wanted to get it flocked, but removing the dash and all it’s electrics from a working car is, quite frankly, a pain in the arse – so I never bothered and just decided to live with the old original plastic one. But now that everything is out of the car it makes perfect sense to get it flocked before we put it back, but before I could send it away to good mate , and flocking supremo, Raj at Autoflock, I wanted to make a few modifications to the new dash.
First up, there were a few various different holes and repairs from the fitment of previous gauges and switches that I wanted to sort out. I also wanted to blank off the outer air vents, heater controls, and radio slot too. None of them are used, so if there were blacked off with nice carbon panels it would look much neater. So, as Raj is a bit of a dab-hand with carbon fibre I asked him to knock up some suitable blanking panels for these areas of the dash.
At the same time, I gave him the slightly more challenging tasks of making a custom carbon mount for a boost gauge – which I wanted positioned where the centre speak would usually live – and to make a nice carbon backing panel for the AiM MXL digital dash to mount in. No drama for a man of Raj’s talents, and he made a cracking job of it! The digital dash fits perfectly, and he’s even made sure the gauge is angled to face the driver too!
With all that all sorted Raj could finally get the dash, and a few other pieces I sent him, flocked and shipped back to me. I decided to have the dashboard flocked in anthracite colour, with the main dash binnacle surround finished in contrasting black flock. The result is a tidy-looking dashboard that is both functional and pleasing to the eye. Top work by Raj at Autoflock.
While Raj was working on the dash we also made-up a nice switch panel to mount all the safety switches and cut-offs. It wasn’t until the crash – and I actually needed them! – that I realised the battery cut-off switch and the kill switches for the fuel pumps were actually out of reach when I was strapped in the car withy the harnessed fully tightened! Obviously that’s not good! So to rectify it we’ve built a custom panel to mount all the vital safety switchgear that will act as a centre console between the dash and the transmission tunnel, and will be within easy reach of the driver, even when strapped into the seat!
One other thing I want to do before the inside can be painted and the dash refitted, is to install some form of power steering. I’m currently looking at options for both hydraulic and electric PAS systems, but more on that next month…