I’ve given up counting the weeks since the Tiger was on the road. Once it hit 3 months, that’s when the counting stopped.
Naturally, the weather was now fantastic and my little V8 convertible was sitting in the garage, immobile. Typical.
Then things sort of happened – quickly. My upholsterer guy said the centre console and dash crash pad were ready to pick up. I got some time (at last) in the evenings to do some work, and since Daylight Savings had kicked in, it made it that much more pleasant to do work outside in the garage.
Needless to say, I spent many more hours trying to get the wires in the right place compared to what I had estimated. Still, I just plugged away at it, an hour here and there. Slowly, the dashboard started to look like it was getting finished.
But that was only the start. I had to get the new dashboard – with the entire loom attached – into the car without scratching it, and then wire stuff up that wasn’t and test it all. Any major problems would mean a removal of the dash again, which I was desperately wanting to avoid.
Then one day – the dash was completed. All the wires I thought were in the right places, and it felt ready to be installed.
One Saturday, I booked in the entire day to get this thing back in the car. I had issues though. I bought a new glovebox inner, which refused to fit properly. In the end I had to sort of give up on it and make it fit the best I could. At some point you have to call it quits on spending too many hours on just one thing.
A wiggle here and there, and it was in! It was a pinch-me moment, but I felt it was actually in the right place, and nothing was scratched.
And then came the things I forgot. There’s a mounting bracket which holds the steering column in place, and I had forgotten to put it in first. Of course, none of my photos showed which way around it went, so it was down to a 50/50 chance. I got it right, so managed to get the steering column bolted up.
Then I had forgotten the heater cables, which are right up behind the dash near the firewall. Not fun to get to with the dashboard in, but a breeze to do with the dashboard out. So it was dash in, scrapped fingers and knuckles – but in and working.
Then it was time to start wiring the loom up to the engine bay, and then testing everything. Of course this didn’t go to plan, and took a lot longer than it should have. But I got there.
I was at the point of no return now – time to hook up the battery, and watch for any smoke. I did, and there wasn’t. Things even seemed to work – indicators, heater blower. It looked like everything was working except for the wipers.
No big deal I thought, probably a lack of power. But it wasn’t. Much mucking around later, I realised I had left off the earth that goes from the back of the dash to the firewall. That in place, the wipers worked perfectly.
I kept working at it, and got to the point where it was ready to take for a drive. My fuel and temperature gauges didn’t seem to go, but I wasn’t concerned for a drive around the block.
Success! Sunny day, and convertible mobile again. Time to work on the gauges, which I thought would take a few minutes to sort out. They didn’t.
In the end, I discovered it was the voltage stabiliser. Lots of British cars have a voltage stabiliser which puts out 10 volts DC and feeds the fuel and temperature gauges. I have never seen one go faulty, but I must have cooked it somehow. Luckily it’s something that’s readily available, so in went a new one and up came my gauges.
So that’s it. After 7 months off the road, the Tiger is now mobile. It has a new dashboard from the US, a clock that’s had some of its innards replacement with electronic components, reupholstered centre console and crash pad, reconditioned gauges, new demister tubes, a new glovebox inner, LED bulbs in place of the old ones, a new heater-bezel transfer, a new wiring loom and heat-shielding/sound deadening installed right up to the top of the firewall.
Now – on to some summer cruising.
Some more Befores and Afters