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Another Nova from across the pond saying Hi!

islandman

Member
Well nothing of any significance done today, the family join me here from Singapore tomorrow so the last day of car time

I fitted some neat little rubber bump stops either side of the area where the bonnet rests to keep it straight and prevent vibration.



I also fitted the bonnet and it looks quite nice, the paint match isn't 100% perfect but its good enough.



I also fitted the wheel centre caps as it turns out I had bought some previously that didn't fit my other wheels.



Then all that was left to do was wash it, and take it for a long drive. Followed by the obligatory photos to update my records on the changes etc..






 

ratrog64

Well-known member
Car looks great. I love the new additions. Though I am a big fan of the slotted mags, the turbovecs look perfect on your car. The nostril hood was a nice addition as well. Looking at your photos makes me want to get in and drive. Only thing I think I'd like to see is a set of ground effects on there to hide your drop pans. But then again, maybe not since it looks so good as is! *thumbs up*
 
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islandman

Member
Love the headlight/signal arrangement on the MK4.

Technically this isn't really a MK4, there was never a front end with pop up lights offered as a factory model. The only one I saw like this was done by the 5th owner of the Nova brand in the UK (Sam Cobley) which is where I got the inspiration from. Although he never actually made light pods beneath the covers and used the Triumph TR7 light pods. After taking 3 separate attempts myself to get the light pods right I know why *oh my*

I do think it suits the car, especially the indicator / side lights keeping the original headlight recess lines.
 

islandman

Member
Only thing I think I'd like to see is a set of ground effects on there to hide your drop pans.

I agree I would love to find a way to discretely hide those deep floor pan drops, although the ground effect side panels I have seen so far are not so discreet

They are unfortunately a necessary evil for me as I am 6' 4" and with the MK1 body and canopy I need all the additional headroom I can get.
 

islandman

Member
Not so many posts on the site so I thought I would post even though I'm not sure what the outcome of this part of the project will be.

I have been procrastinating for far too long on what I was going to do with the Mark 4 dash. Having been inspired by all of Brett's custom work I felt brave enough to try this myself. It all started as I just wasn’t happy having only two central air vents for the face and no side vents. Having driven a Nova a lot in hot weather I know the Nova needs airflow.

So I had purchased some vents that I think could look nice, but it would require a complete remodeling of the dash to get them to fit and look like they were suppose to be there. There were a few things I wanted to address as part of the redesign :

1) Raise the top of the dash to allow for as much space as possible underneath for the heater / aircon and other gubbins to they don’t interfere with peoples feet.
2) Make the top of the dash removable for four reasons. 1) to make it easier to trim, 2) to make it easier to attach / adjust pipework to vents 3) Adjust aircon / heater mounting, 4) get to wiring behind gauges etc..
3) Make the vents look like they were designed to be there
4) Provide sufficient cover / recess for the gauges to prevent glare on the screen
5) Provide a space for the stereo / back-up camera LCD faceplate
6) Provide a space for the heater / aircon controls – I bought some nice MG alloy ones that look the biz.

I did buy some stretchy fabric to do the job, but that assumes you know the shape you want and have some parts / formers to stretch over. I don’t quite know what I want so this will be a process of discovery as I go. So on that basis I went for the expandable foam method instead. I will make a buck using the mark 4 dash as a base to ensure key reference points are in the right place (remember my car is 6,000 miles away!).

I don’t know if this will work, so need a plan B. For that reason I don’t want to destroy the mark 4 dash in the process so I have wrapped this before applying the foam.




Rather than trying to cover the dash all in one go I decided to do it in stages, so used some cardboard to try and contain the foam (semi-successful).



Next removed the cardboard to move on the next section (to be continued)




In order to model it without digging great big holes to push the vents inside I decided to make fiberglass faceplates of the vents. This served two purposes, 1) being slightly larger than the vent itself means there will be an automatic gap for fabric when the dash is trimmed, 2) I don’t destroy the new vents in the process of making the dash. I still need so lay another couple of layers of fiberglass on them to stiffen the covers up then trim them.




One of my challenges in this process is that I want it to flow into the centre console, which I can’t model easily without the car being here. I also want to raise the back recess behind the dash to allow for more space. From my test fit of a mark 1 dash in the UK I think the back part of the dash can be raised about 3 inches.

So this may all come to nothing as I can't check anything and am relying on memory and a few fixed points on the mark 4 dash, But I thought I would share the process anyway
 

Brett Proctor

Well-known member
If I recall, weren't you going to try to use the subaru dash?? if so were there issues of getting it to fit or did you decide to go a different route.

Either way it will be interesting to see how this materializes.

I was thinking of building a new dash but decided not to since the dash I have now is up and working but there are some things I'd like to change on it.
 

islandman

Member
If I recall, weren't you going to try to use the subaru dash?? if so were there issues of getting it to fit or did you decide to go a different route.

Either way it will be interesting to see how this materializes.

I was thinking of building a new dash but decided not to since the dash I have now is up and working but there are some things I'd like to change on it.


You are correct, the memory isn't failing you :D The Subaru dash is intended for the scooby Nova, the brown one. This is dash is for the blue one, as it already has its column in with mounts etc... plus and existing heater / aircon unit fitted a scooby dash wouldn't work (still not sure it will work in the brown Nova). Brett in your build you never really detailed the process of getting to the second incarnation of your current dash (unlike the first), it just kind of appeared! Did you use foam sculpturing or the spandex method for that and did you make wooden formers to assist in getting the shape?

Well I poured the next section of foam on today and the started to do some basic trimming to get rid of the lumpy bits and wait for inspiration to hit me whilst shaping the foam. I waited.......and waited.....and waited and it wasn't going to happen....zero inspiration!

So I will do a bit of googling later and see if I can get some ideas that could work on a Nova dash.

 

Brett Proctor

Well-known member
Brett in your build you never really detailed the process of getting to the second incarnation of your current dash (unlike the first), it just kind of appeared! Did you use foam sculpturing or the spandex method for that and did you make wooden formers to assist in getting the shape?
The second dash was a little easier than that I hate to say.

What lead up to the second dash design was I spent some time in the wrecking yards looking for a instrument panel that would fit in the first generation of dash that I built.
At that time there wasn't much out there as there is today, but while looking for an oem looking instrument cluster that would fit I started to look at other parts of dashes that I could make work in the car so I wouldn't be wasting time and money building something from scratch and with vents that I could make work in our cars.

What I found was a 1988 Honda civic LX instrument cluster that had the correct dimensions to fit in the car and the gauges could be made to work with the Subaru electrical system and it looked like it belonged in the car. The rest of the dash of the honda was not proportioned right to fit in the car so I had to find another dash that would look like it belonged in the car and have a vent system in it that I could work off of.
civic dash1.jpg


After some more looking and a lot of measuring I figured that the 1991 Toyota celica dash would fit without to much cutting and modifying and the vent locations worked. So everything from the center vent over could be used with very little modifying.
Celica dash.jpg

After I had my two basic components I started to put the two together. Vent openings were already there so I used the oem vents.

With a little foam and body filler I made the plug and from that the mold and the second generation of dash was made.


Going through the wrecking yards now I see newer cars(2009-2015) that have dashes that I could make work in our cars and I'm real tempted to make a third generation dash.
 

islandman

Member
Yeah I can now see where the 2nd generation dash design inspiration (and parts) came from. Maybe I have bitten off more than I can chew as I don't really have access to breakers yards in Singapore (to many laws and regulations here) to follow that approach. So mine will have to be totally custom....which means lots of trial and error, and more error (and hopefully not giving up). So lets see how I get on.

At the moment all I have is the vents I chose to start with.

 

islandman

Member
It’s not so much that I don’t have some ideas as such, there are plenty of production dashes out there that I really like the look of but frankly most would not work with the Nova dimensions. I have always liked dashes where the centres comes forward and flows seamlessly into the centre consoles and gear shift shrouds. It is quite easy to dream up all sorts of nice looks, but then reality hits about what limitations I have to factor in.

It’s more the constraints of the Nova’s size and mine that mean certain things need to be considered. For example my current set of constraints I have in my head that I need to deal with :

1) I don’t have the chassis here so can’t really model something that flows into a centre console area, or know how far I can come down etc..
2) As I have long legs my driving position is that they are bent when driving wrapped either side of the steering wheel (imagine the seating position in a go-kart). This means the centre console can’t come forward as I wouldn’t be able to press the clutch as my left knee angles to the point where it almost touches the gearstick. The only choice here is that any centre console must come down almost vertically then forward to work for me (somewhat similar to your design)
3) The dash also cannot come too much further forward making it deeper than the existing one as again it would mean I can’t get in or out of the car.
4) I’m also guessing roughly how tall the dash can be due to the angle of the screen.
5) Then I have to try and get the vents I have to look like they belong and provide a flattish surface at that point.
6) As for guages I will probably go for 2 x 100mm smiths ones that are multi function so I can do away with the additional 4 x 52mm ones I have now.

I wish I had access to dashes I could just cut up and play with but I don't. So more googling and more trial and error. I think the key is just do something rather than think and do nothing.
 

Brett Proctor

Well-known member
It’s not so much that I don’t have some ideas as such, there are plenty of production dashes out there that I really like the look of but frankly most would not work with the Nova dimensions. I have always liked dashes where the centres comes forward and flows seamlessly into the centre consoles and gear shift shrouds. It is quite easy to dream up all sorts of nice looks, but then reality hits about what limitations I have to factor in.

I thought that way once also but that thinking will hold you back at what you can do.

There is no way that celica dash would fit in the sterling but if you use the section from that center vent over , that piece could be made to work with some changes. As you can see from the pictures the bottom of that vent doesn't blend into the center console. That had to be made.

Nothing is going to just slip in and work, but if you look at things in a different way ("I can make that work") you will see things differently and plus with the smaller cars you have there you should have a wider selection to work with.

Get ideas and when you go back to the UK and go through the yards there or if you have friends and family there have them get the parts for you. I would help but the cars are left hand drive here so that stops me from helping.

There are a few members here that I get parts for because they have no wrecking yards near them.

That center section of the dash for the Chevy sonic I think would look good in the sterling and it is scaled right so it wouldn't need to be modified but the rest of the dash wouldn't work so that wouldn't be used. The instrument cluster from a Nissan 350Z or the 2007 Eclipse would fit and look good in the car so that could be used. Think of what steering column you want to use and will work. Take all your ideas and parts and then blend them together to make one. Sure it will require some work but I know you can do it. Just look at specific parts that will work not the whole dash.
 

islandman

Member
Just look at specific parts that will work not the whole dash.

I never expected to find a whole drop in dash, nor would I probably want one as I like to put something into the design myself. Your approach of mix, match and blend parts works well with impressive OEM looking results. It's certainly the one I would follow if I had parts on hand.

For now I will play with some free flow sculpturing and see how I get on.
 

islandman

Member
I had a trip out to find the salvage yards in Singapore, they do seem to exist although not in a form I’m use to. They pretty much get one car in at a time, strip it completely then ship all the bits out of the country. So no piles of cars ready to be rummaged through unfortunately.

Nevertheless I told the guy I would have the dash out of the car they were stripping (a Volvo) and also the next 2 cars lined up to be stripped also. My intention is to follow Brett's lead and cut bits and pieces of different dashes and try to make a Frankenstein dash that I meld together with foam and then take a mold from it as it will be a lot easier than hand carving everything…… Well that’s the plan as its stands now.
 

islandman

Member
a 1988 Honda civic LX instrument cluster that had the correct dimensions to fit in the car and the gauges could be made to work with the Subaru electrical system .

rereading your post got me thinking, do you mean to say that the dash gauge cluster doesn't need the ECU feeds etc.. and can be made to work with a normal engine (non ECU?). Did you get everything working correctly, speedo, tacho, fuel, temperature etc.. I like the idea as it would save a fortune on new guages
 

Brett Proctor

Well-known member
rereading your post got me thinking, do you mean to say that the dash gauge cluster doesn't need the ECU feeds etc.. and can be made to work with a normal engine (non ECU?). Did you get everything working correctly, speedo, tacho, fuel, temperature etc.. I like the idea as it would save a fortune on new guages


Yes Nothing in the instrument cluster requires to be connected to the ECU.

The cluster came out of a 4cylinder engine car so the tach works and reads correct with no changes.

Speedo requires a cable to work(no speed sensor) but is not hooked up yet.

Fuel gauge required a "fuel gauge interface module" to read right. I bench calibrated that and it works great. No issues

Temperature gauge reads correctly also, I just replaced the Subaru sending unit with the sending unit of the donor car just to make cure there would be no issues. The threads had the same size and pitch as the Subaru sensor.

Oil pressure is just an idiot light and I don't remember if that was replaced with the one in the donor car or if the Subaru unit was kept.

Turn indicators work with no issues

High/low beam indicator works with no issues.

Has a seat belt light

A rear boot not closed indicator light

Emergency brake light

I would have to check to see what other options it has.
 

islandman

Member
Yes Nothing in the instrument cluster requires to be connected to the ECU.

The cluster came out of a 4cylinder engine car so the tach works and reads correct with no changes.

Speedo requires a cable to work(no speed sensor) but is not hooked up yet.

Fuel gauge required a "fuel gauge interface module" to read right. I bench calibrated that and it works great. No issues

Temperature gauge reads correctly also, I just replaced the Subaru sending unit with the sending unit of the donor car just to make cure there would be no issues. The threads had the same size and pitch as the Subaru sensor.

Oil pressure is just an idiot light and I don't remember if that was replaced with the one in the donor car or if the Subaru unit was kept.

Turn indicators work with no issues

High/low beam indicator works with no issues.

Has a seat belt light

A rear boot not closed indicator light

Emergency brake light

I would have to check to see what other options it has.

That's really neat, I like the idea of production guages and an OEM look to the finish. Nice find
 
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