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Old 08-18-2018, 11:35 PM
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Radster859
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Hey everyone, my name is Ryan and I am a 17 year old living in Austin, Texas. You may have seen a few posts from me with generic questions and little communication on my end. That is because my car was with a mechanic as my parents insisted a professional do any and all safety related parts of the car. Well, today I got her back and just finished my first day of work. Just a little history on the car, it was originally Dark Green Metallic with the l48 engine and a th350 tranny. Car was shortly repainted teal, then red, then yellow and black (where it is today). The car was converted to a 383 stroker that makes around 350 whp at this point in time. Car has had an unknown number of owners (I was trying to save money :p) but somewhere along the way bubba decided he wanted to replace the entire center console and control area with his own homemade "wood grain" interior (I'll post pics of this tomorrow, should be good fun to remove). Ultimately all the weather stripping needs to be replaced along with vacuum lines, suspension (almost the entire assembly including spring, arms, bushings, etc), window motors and regulators, sun visors, dash, carpet, seats, and the majority of the differential. Its quite the project, will probably end up naming the car 'bubba' for that reason. Good news is, I bought the car wanting to have work to do. Bad news is, I have no idea how to do any of it. That is where I will need your help as this build progresses.
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Old 08-18-2018, 11:48 PM
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Day 1:

I figured I would post what I did today separately just for readability on yalls end. When I was taking the car home from the mechanic, my dad (driving behind me to check signals among other things) noticed the drivers side brake light was incredibly dim. Turns out it was still the original bulb from 38 years ago and it badly needed replacing. Stopped by parts store, picked up new bulbs, and installed them so brake lights are working well now. I also bought a chrome cleaner for the chrome t-top center trim (dont know formal name for that piece, its shaped like an uppercase 'i' though) and various other pieces. Lastly I spent a solid hour removing the rotted out weather stripping around the windows of the car, but have been unable to get the last few layers of adhesive off the car without fear of digging into fiberglass. Will probably try an adhesive remover on that tomorrow. I also started removing the dash pad, but the pad appears to be stuck to the center instrument cluster through some unknown force. I got the 4 screws that were attaching the pad to the cluster, but it still wont come apart... Sadly, the dash underneath appears to be in pretty bad shape. I dont know if it is possible for a dash to rot, but if it is, then this dash is for sure rotted through. Does anyone know how if it is possible to buy a new dash? Here are a few pictures, I will try to take more tomorrow for you guys.


Headlights unscrewed and ready for bulb replacement


Shot of the interior featuring ancient weatherstripping, custom red and wood interior parts, as well as a very sketchy looking rift in the fiberglass on the far right

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Old 08-19-2018, 12:25 AM
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I also have an 80 so im biased and love the year.

I personally would keep the center console trim wood as they did a decent job with the fit from what i can tell from that angle. You can recover them in leather depending on what you are doing with the rest of the interior, thats what I did.
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Old 08-19-2018, 01:36 AM
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1980 Corvettes are favorite. What color was the interior originally? It looks like it had a luggage rack at some point, too.
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Old 08-19-2018, 02:35 AM
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It is possible to buy a new reproduction dash, but many complain about the poor quality and fit of the reproduction interior pieces. If you look long enough you can probably find a used factory original dash in good shape that you could dye your interior colour (if its not that colour already) - this would be your best bet.
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Old 08-19-2018, 11:57 AM
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gotgame - Thanks! 80 is my favorite year too (other than the woefully underpowered engine). The fit on the wood is mediocre at best, if I wanted to swap it all back to original is there any store that offers the parts to do so? All I have been able to really find is a parking brake housing and center console cover.

Bikespace - The interior was originally oyster, then some idiot decided they wanted it in black and another idiot decided they wanted it in red (probably to match the paint job at that time) but never finished the entire interior and did a terrible job... Honestly just considering stripping the trim and paint myself then taking it down to the best paint and body shop in town and seeing what magic they can work on the car.

Priya - I will try to get some pictures of the current dash today, never fully got the cover off as I dont want to force it in fear of breaking the center instrument cluster. Should I just browse around on ebay for a replacement?
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Old 08-19-2018, 12:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Radster859 View Post
Priya - I will try to get some pictures of the current dash today, never fully got the cover off as I dont want to force it in fear of breaking the center instrument cluster. Should I just browse around on ebay for a replacement?
You can check ebay as well as the parts for sale section of the Corvette Forum. I've bought most of my parts from the Corvette Forum. When buying used parts you need good pictures of the item before you shell out your money. If you come across an ad with many interior parts for sale and they all look in poor condition except the part you want to buy keep in mind that you can't tell everything from a picture and if everything else looks like poor condition the one part that looks good in pictures probably isn't that good. I found that out recently when I bought a pair of used door pulls for my 79. Many other interior items were advertised that were clearly in poor shape but the door pulls looked good in the picture so I bought them only to find when I received them there was damage I hadn't seen in the pictures.
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Old 08-19-2018, 12:46 PM
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There's not a lot of Oyster left, but that is one of the best interior colors. My wife's 79 is Oyster, was in great shape when we got it, and we've put a bunch more into making it really nice. I'll have a matched set of 79 Oyster seat cushions and door panels (cloth inserts) for sale in the forum at some point.

My 80 was originally red interior (the best color for a white car). Everything was black when I got her. I've changed a few things back, but I so liked the Oyster in my wife's car that I went with Oyster for the halos, window trim, t-top trim, and visors. So I have a mix of red, black, and oyster, too, just in a different order. With the correct SEM vinyl dye you can do some real magic for a street-driven car. I used SEM Super White Color Coat on the halos and trim. It seems to match Oyster quite well. Be sure to use the soap and vinyl prep as well.

Here she is with no carpet, as I'm working on the rear suspension. The seats are from a '79 that I bought from a member on the Forum, so the logo isn't correct, but fine for my purposes.



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Old 08-19-2018, 01:00 PM
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Those 79-82 seats always look so comfortable and inviting - and they are!
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Old 08-19-2018, 02:16 PM
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I have recently dyed all of the windshield, halo and t top interior trim with color matched paint from Ken brault auto paint supply. I would find a local pant supply store and see if they carry sem interior paint that they can color match. It is fantastic paint and in my opinion the best on the market. I have used interior dyes from Mid America motor works and the paint was too glossy and the black paint cracked on my seat shells. I had to strip all paint off with paint thinner which was a chore, but after using sem it looks at least as good as original if not better. The grain of the seat backs was undamaged and fully visible, the stock paint fills it in a bit and it was even more filled in from the mid america paint but now its fantastic. On the other trims it might be difficult to strip the paint with out damaging the grain since it is a plastic vs the seat backs are fiberglass pressed into molds. Depending on the condition of the other trim panels you have, if they have been painted multiple times and how well they clean up, you may just buy some used ones that are already the color you want. If you do not have trim panels that are only painted from the factory in the color you want, I would buy at least 1 orginial interior panel in the color you want so that you can have the others color matched to it. If you decide to paint them yourself, prepping the pieces is extremely important. If you do not do a thorough job prepping the pieces it can look really bad, but if you do it right the pieces will turn out looking as good as factory. I highly recommend getting a tack cloth from the paint store so you wont have any dust on the panels that will show through after painting them.

I also recommend checking out "thecorvetteben" on youtube. His videos are great and he works on a lot of c3 corvettes. They can keep you motivated since these cars can turn into massive projects
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Old 08-19-2018, 02:18 PM
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What color do you want the interior to be?
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Old 08-19-2018, 03:32 PM
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Originally Posted by frosty80 View Post
What color do you want the interior to be?
I am torn between going white or black. White will compliment the end goal in terms of paint (taking her to a paint shop tomorrow to check what prep work I can do and get a quote, dont trust myself with a spray gun) as I will be going for a light or dark blue metallic with white hood and t-tops. But black is a LOT easier to keep clean and requires that less parts be replaced. The dash pad and dash are both really cracking in the center, so am probably going to follow Priyas advice and try to pick up a used dash in good condition either off the forum or ebay. I still cant get the old pad entirely off, have no clue what is keeping it on at this point...
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Old 08-19-2018, 04:08 PM
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I would definitely get a good condition used dash pad. I personally got a new one around 10 yrs ago before they retooled the molds and it was a nightmare getting it in and 10 years later had many problems that I finally have mostly worked out. I wonder if anyone can chime in if they have installed a used OEM dash before, Im curious how well it fits in a different car then it was originally installed in.

A black interior would be much easier to maintain and it will look good for a long time to come. It hides dirt etc. like no other and its pretty much impossible to stain. Also when dying parts it will cover in much less coats than white and therefore cost less. SEM sells a "trim black" premixed that you can get in spray cans or a quart can. Really good stuff and will turn out well. If by white you mean oyster than that can be cool too just be careful once its installed not to accidentally get in the interior with dirty hands or back. The reason I lean towards black is because of the long term wear of a painted interior would be better in black. Also it looks like your door panels and seats might be ok to reuse but i cannot tell for sure from the pictures, I know the door panels arent original but it could save some cost. If you are buying original oyster seats and door panels then the wear will not be such an issue since there are plenty of original oyster interior that still look great.

What condition is the drivers seat in? can you tell if they were painted?

I would recommend trying to use adobe illustrator or photo shop if you can not find a picture of the paint scheme you have planned, it really helps to visualize and confirm if you will like the paint scheme. Also by paint prep do you mean removing trim or sanding etc?

Also the youtube channel I recommended in a previous post is run by a younger guy in dallas who has a lot of parts cars that are relatively close to you. He also ships parts. Just type "thecorvetteben" in dallas craigslist. Not sure how many 80s he has but I bet he will have some of the parts youll need in this extensive build.

Do you know what the original exterior color was? just curious

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Old 08-19-2018, 06:58 PM
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Originally Posted by frosty80 View Post
I would definitely get a good condition used dash pad. I personally got a new one around 10 yrs ago before they retooled the molds and it was a nightmare getting it in and 10 years later had many problems that I finally have mostly worked out. I wonder if anyone can chime in if they have installed a used OEM dash before, Im curious how well it fits in a different car then it was originally installed in.

A black interior would be much easier to maintain and it will look good for a long time to come. It hides dirt etc. like no other and its pretty much impossible to stain. Also when dying parts it will cover in much less coats than white and therefore cost less. SEM sells a "trim black" premixed that you can get in spray cans or a quart can. Really good stuff and will turn out well. If by white you mean oyster than that can be cool too just be careful once its installed not to accidentally get in the interior with dirty hands or back. The reason I lean towards black is because of the long term wear of a painted interior would be better in black. Also it looks like your door panels and seats might be ok to reuse but i cannot tell for sure from the pictures, I know the door panels arent original but it could save some cost. If you are buying original oyster seats and door panels then the wear will not be such an issue since there are plenty of original oyster interior that still look great.

What condition is the drivers seat in? can you tell if they were painted?

I would recommend trying to use adobe illustrator or photo shop if you can not find a picture of the paint scheme you have planned, it really helps to visualize and confirm if you will like the paint scheme. Also by paint prep do you mean removing trim or sanding etc?

Also the youtube channel I recommended in a previous post is run by a younger guy in dallas who has a lot of parts cars that are relatively close to you. He also ships parts. Just type "thecorvetteben" in dallas craigslist. Not sure how many 80s he has but I bet he will have some of the parts youll need in this extensive build.

Do you know what the original exterior color was? just curious
The original color was the dark green metallic, seats do not appear to be painted so old oyster ones must have been replaced at some point. They are also in good condition. By paint prep, I mean taking a razor blade and taking off the three layers of paint that have accumulated since 1980. Ill try to do some Photoshop work right now as it is far too hot to work for any significant period of time
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Old 08-19-2018, 08:07 PM
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So I have another question for you all. I spent most of today browsing around online shops and I was thinking of taking advantage of Wilcox's 20% off deal. I was looking into dashes and was wondering what the difference between their dash cover and dash assembly are other than the price tag? Does anyone have experience with a dash assembly from Willcox? I was looking for them used, but unfortunately for my wallet, I vastly prefer brand new parts to put in the car. If I get a black dash assembly, then I just need to buy the shifter console trim plate, window trim, weatherstripping, and maybe new carpet for the rear and the interior will be in a decent spot. Any thoughts on that plan?

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Old 08-19-2018, 08:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Radster859 View Post
So I have another question for you all. I spent most of today browsing around online shops and I was thinking of taking advantage of Wilcox's 20% off deal. I was looking into dashes and was wondering what the difference between their dash cover and dash assembly are other than the price tag? Does anyone have experience with a dash assembly from Wilcox? I was looking for them used, but unfortunately for my wallet, I vastly prefer brand new parts to put in the car. If I get a black dash assembly, then I just need to buy the shifter console trim plate, window trim, weatherstripping, and maybe new carpet for the rear and the interior will be in a decent spot. Any thoughts on that plan?
Put it in your cart and find out. My understanding is that many large-scale restoration parts, like dashes and door panels, only have one source: Corvette America. Others, including Zip and Willcox, buy their parts wholesale from CA (or CA's contract fabricators). Willcox likely has parts that only they make, and others may buy them wholesale and sell them, too. At any rate, I don't think the 20% discount applies to "CA interior products", meaning certain restoration parts from Corvette America. I could be wrong, though! Ernie Willcox is a great supporter of this forum, and will sometimes answer questions directly, in addition to maintaining a website that is a tremendous resource for technical information, diagrams, how-to videos, etc.
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Old 08-19-2018, 08:42 PM
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Without having looked at the Wilcox web-site I'm going to guess the dash cover is just a cap that goes over top of your existing damaged dash whereas the dash assembly is an actual complete replacement. Perhaps post a link to the wilcox page.
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Old 08-19-2018, 08:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Bikespace View Post
At any rate, I don't think the 20% discount applies to "CA interior products", meaning certain restoration parts from Corvette America.
And if it does include Corvette America parts you'll have to buy over a certain dollar amount to get the full 20% discount.

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Old 08-19-2018, 09:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Priya View Post
And if it does include Corvette America parts you'll have to buy over a certain dollar amount to get the full 20% discount.
That will not be an issue haha
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Old 08-19-2018, 10:49 PM
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Day 2:

Decided to go with a header so entries are easy to follow for all you. Anyways, this morning I took the car out to see my great grandmother (she is who convinced my parents to let my buy the car in the first place, so I owed it to her). Everything was working fine on the way out, but on the drive home I lost power steering which resulted in me very nearly crossing the median into another car... Haven't checked out the pump and hoses yet since it was dark by the time I remembered to look. So far, Bubba is living up to the name. Also, changing from park to reverse proved a challenge. Seems like the car wants to skip reverse into neutral and there is very little feedback from the stick as to when I am locked in to a particular gear. Is there any particular part that could be the cause of this? Tomorrow I am stopping by at a body and paint shop to see what can be done about the chips in the fiberglass and the atrocious paint job. Went outside and took some pictures for everyone, tell me if something looks out of place, still very new to this whole "car" thing. School starts up again tomorrow, so next "work" post will probably be Saturday.



Shot of drivers seat, little corrosion and rust on brackets and hinges, but fully functional and not bad looking


Underside of t-top, going to have to get trim for those


Anniversary steering wheel that came on the car, probably will replace at some point


Cracked dash pad


Interesting shot of footwell, is there supposed to be a divider there? Or did 80s manufacturers just not care



Shifter console plate is cracked, probably will order a new one after paint


Closer look at wood interior



Instrument cluster, you can see dash pad coming up but it is still stuck on left hand side despite all screws being out

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