Antiquing the instrument panel

After much consideration, I have decided to leave the instrument panel to mature naturally but in order to stop it looking brand new and too bright, it needed to be slightly distressed. An orbital sander generates a smooth finish that *could* be polished to a high shine, but I chose instead to merely create a mild satin finish that looks like it was polished at some time in its life. It was then waxed which will be occasionally repeated over the coming years.

The next challenge was to necessary to meet MSA (Motor sports Association) regulations – competition cars need a master battery on-off switch accessible from outside the car. Seeing as the Falcon will not have a roof, I can mount this on the instrument panel but I wanted it to look old. The answer of course was to manufacture an on-off designation plaque out of brass and then antique it. A few designs were played with in a digital drawing application and a final solution chosen. The design was transferred to a small brass plate using the technique I developed before when I manufactured the coach-builders plate for Bespoke Bodywork.

Below you can see the plate in its etched form with the mounting hole cut to shape for the actual switch. What followed was a lot of cutting and filing to get to the finished form.

At this point the plate has only been slightly distressed to look ‘used’.

The switch rotates clockwise about 90 degrees from off to on and for a moment I will use the provided control knob with the addition of an engraved white line on one surface to indicate whether the switch is off or on. This was simply achieved by using a triangle profile file and filling in the groove with white paint.

Below is the completed switch suitably distressed and in the ‘off’ position. Anyone who decides to try the switch whilst we are driving will not be popular – it literally turns off all the electrics…

Next I moved my attention to the key operated ignition switch, which is a new Lucas item used to isolate the ignition and fuel pump. There is a separate start button. The switch is located on a brass washer the same size and shape as the battery isolator. This is a small detail but it ‘looks’ right.

Finally I made a small filler plate to fit beneath the steering wheel and the instrument panel strengthening bracket. The sole purpose of this is aesthetic – it makes the panel look neater. The entire support bracket is removable from the instrument panel just in case I need to remove the whole panel at some time in the future. All that is left now is to distress the small panel so that it is the same colour as the surrounding area.


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