We’re finding more and more ways that this Bear body is set apart from the rest. We’ve always been looking for ways to remove as much as possible from the dash, without leaving it completely blank. CD player, A/C and heater controls, wiper switches, air ride switches, ignition, and finally, most of the gauges, would look better… somewhere else. Turning back to the body, it has a neat little compartment, complete with a removable face, over the windshield. “What a neat place to put all that stuff!” we thought. So we laid out where everything would go with masking tape, sat in the car for hours at a time, and, with our fair share of criticism (coming from within I might add) proceeded to cut some holes. Here’s how it turned out (so far).
I cut out the exact OUTER DIMENSION of the bezels of the instruments as well as the biggest dimension for all the other gadgets. It’s very important to calculate your space based on the bezel diameter, not the mounting hole size. See the big square on the right? That’s the wiper switch. There’s a big box on the back side that takes up space, so I couldn’t lay out the knobs right next to each other or there would be interference.
No, I’m not moving them to the top of the dash. Once again, I used some masking tape to lay out where the holes would be.
The paper layouts were oriented by hand, so I had to convert “eye” measurements to “measuring tape” measurements. I ran a strip of tape along the very bottom of my paper templates, so I knew where the bottoms where. At the bottom of one gauge, I marked the center. Now I have a home base.
This handy ruler was given to me by Zac at Classic Instruments. It has all the bezel dimensions as well as all the mounting hole sizes for all their instruments. I had to keep remembering that I was laying out the outer dimension of the bezel, not the mounting hole. I thought 5/16″ would be a good amount to put between the bezels. So, from the first centerline mark, I was able to go out half the bezel O.D. each way. Then, 5/16″ more and I could start the next dimension. Mark the center of the gauge so you know where to drill. If you’re wondering how I got the centerline level, then I must be pretty good. Write me an email if you still don’t get it.
Since the tach is a little deeper than the other gauges, I put it in the middle of the panel. The gauges come complete with senders and neat little aluminum mounting brackets with nuts. The other nice thing about the removable panel is that it’s removable, which has obvious advantages.
Having all the tools at hand, I grabbed a bigger hole saw and cut out the hole for the speedometer. I laid out the hole location in the same way. We decided to place the heat/cool vents beside the speedo for consistency and they will be at the proper height for blowing cold air at your chest.
Please email with your comments – I think I’ve only got one email, from someone asking if I’m related to Tim, and if this is the Official DonutMobile.