Home Projects Fred's Sunbeam Tiger Sunbeam Tiger - Dashboard Reno - Part 3

Sunbeam Tiger – Dashboard Reno – Part 3

It now feels like forever since the Tiger was in one piece and on the road – but it’s only been 8 weeks. It feels so much longer. Still, the weather has been pretty rubbish so I don’t feel I’m missing out on days driving with the top down, sun shining…there is nothing like driving a manual V8 convertible.

After Part 2 of the dashboard reno was published, the waiting game began. It felt like ages before anything else happened.

In Part 2, I did get the heatproof material into the floorpan and firewall of the Tiger, and then since then I’ve managed to get the carpets back in, so it’s starting to look more like a real car inside now at least.

But then it all went quiet. My clock didn’t arrive back from the US, my new wiring loom hadn’t turned up. My gauges – off being cleaned – hadn’t been done, and the centre console hadn’t been rebuilt yet.

So, the Tiger sat there in the garage, day after day. Then in a big rush, things seemed to happen. My clock arrived safely back from New Jersey, complete with its new electronic components that will mean it should actually work.

Then the new wiring loom arrived from the UK, so at last I could make a start on putting the car back together – that’s always the best part.

I got the new dashboard out of its box, and laid it up with the old dashboard. The benefit of having the old and new wiring loom meant I could easily move the switches and controls across to the new dashboard, without stressing too much about having to disconnect everything on the old dashboard, and then moving the whole loom across to the new one. I would have the luxury of moving one switch at a time, making it a simple process to keep a track of the wires and their colours.

Or so you would think. The new loom’s colours did not match up with either the printout from the internet showing the standard British wiring colours for the day, or to the Tiger’s workshop manual. I ended up with everything seeming to be different. I was unsure what part was wrong – was it the new loom or had my Tiger’s wires been played with somewhere in its 52-year life?

Even my nice clean, shiny and rebuilt clock didn’t have a wire to power it – nowhere to be seen. No great stress really though, I sent a distress call (well, email) to the wiring loom people in the UK. Not long later, the correct documents with the colour codes came through, so I could continue on with getting the new wiring loom connected to the new dashboard. But then I ran out of time anyway so it all came to a crashing halt.

Well at least it’s starting to look like a real dashboard now

A call from Advanced Auto Electrical to say my gauges were ready to pick up – so really no excuses now. The gauges look fantastic, and they’ve fixed a faulty soldered connection on the rev counter, so that should work reliably now. They’ve also cleaned all the other gauges, right down to painting the needles, painting the bodies and replacing the rubber O rings. Needless to say, they look like new.

Not really a photo the owner wants to see…

Looking better…

Looking much better…

Perfect!

So now I have almost everything – the upholsterer has my centre console still to do, and I also dropped off the lower crash pad from the dash to be re-covered – all the rubber foam under the vinyl was disintegrating, so definitely time to get it redone in the same vinyl as the centre console. Once those items are back, it’s all down to me actually getting the car back together.

Stay tuned for the last episode – it will be the final instalment!

Fred Alvrez
How on earth to start this? I've been car/bike/truck crazy since I was a teen. Like John, I had the obligatory Countach poster on the wall. I guess I'm more officially into classic and muscle cars than anything else - I currently have a '65 Sunbeam Tiger that left the factory the same day as I left the hospital as a newborn with my mother. How could I not buy that car? In 2016 my wife and I drove across the USA in a brand-new Dodge Challenger, and then shipped it home. You can read more on www.usa2nz.co.nz. We did this again in 2019 in a 1990 Chev Corvette - you can read about that trip on DriveLife. I'm also an Observer for the Institute of Advanced Motorists - trying to do my bit to make our roads safer.

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