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DASHING TWINS
Two Cars, One Dash

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Every part that comes in for restoration is completely inspected and the condition recorded on a work order that will follow the item from start to finish. A job number is assigned and the part goes into production.


Chevy's 1978-'88 Monte Carlo and El Camino share the same dash pad. These vehicles are finally coming into their own with both restorers and custom vehicle builders, and in many cases the old original vinyl dash is a problem. The huge dashzilla pad is literally the entire dashboard of these vehicles, and is surely one of the largest dashes used by Chevrolet. Age, weather conditions and UV rays have usually taken a toll on the material. Cracks, fading and material lifting are common problems. Since there are no reproductions available, and a quarter century old original will surely crack as well, restoration is the best choice. Just Dashes is about to work their vinyl magic on this damaged example.

This dash was available in most stock interior colors and the vinyl grain used by the factory is called Saville. Just Dashes will completely restore these vintage pads in the correct original color and grain pattern, or in a custom color of your choice from a supplied color sample. They can also provide plastic chrome plating, instrument restoration and structural restoration of the dash frame. It's best to contact them and discuss your restoration with one of their craftsmen. They will most likely be able to give you an over the phone price quote as well.

Here's a quick synopsis of the restoration process, bringing this two decades old dash back to life. You can find out more on their products and services here at www.justdashes.com or call 800-247-3274.


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In some extreme cases the dash will need to be completely stripped down to the frame. In this case, the surface of the original vinyl is ground smooth, removing any cracks or uneven areas. A new surface of thin cardboard is now applied over the areas resurfaced with the grinder. This cardboard is then hand sanded to the exact shape of the dash.

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The shaped cardboard now is covered in a layer of high-density closed- cell foam and again hand shaped, providing a perfect surface for the new vinyl, but to also ensuring a perfect fit back into the vehicle. These dash pads have a bead along the top front edge. As you can see Just Dashes adds that bead during the restoration. The vacuum formed vinyl will mold perfectly over the recess and bead material.

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Once the foam process is completed and inspected, a smooth layer of vinyl adhesive is applied to the surface. It is allowed to dry before the actual vinyl skin is applied. No lumps or bumps allowed here. The part is now set in the thermo vacuum machine and bolstered with a wooden form and rags. The rags prevent the vacuum pressure from distorting the part or the vinyl surface.

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The preheated vinyl comes out of the oven directly over the dash. At this time the machine operator brings the tray with the dash up under the sheet of vinyl. The soft vinyl now is in contact with the part and the vacuum is applied, sucking the material down, around and into every crevice, completely covering the dash.

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Here's what it look like immediately after the vinyl application. Notice all the irregular shapes caused by the rags beneath the dash. The material is now trimmed around the outside edges leaving enough to do the finished trimming and gluing. Before the part goes to final trimming, it is inspected for any imperfections and then sent to the next step.

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Here's the results of the beading we saw in the foam stage. It matches the original perfectly and this is the kind of attention to detail that sets Just Dashes quality apart. Adhesive is now applied to the excess material to be wrapped around the edges of the dash. It is applied to both the material and the dash and allowed to tack up.

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A heat gun is used to soften the material and then it is hand finished completely around the exterior of the pad. While this pad was originally maroon, the owner wanted it restored in black. This is a far cry from the way it can into the shop, and it will now be the concours quality finishing touch for his interior.
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Just Dashes can restore almost any vinyl interior part, regardless of year, make or model, that you can remove from your vehicle. Shown here are a set of headrests from a '69 Camaro and a dash pad from a '70 Nova being inspected prior to being re-skinned in the correct grain vinyl.


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