Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Restoring the Shifter Console

Since I want to keep good records of work I've done to my car, I had to include the shifter console reconditioning I did a while ago.

The console itself is in okay condition, albeit showing its age. But since aftermarket replacement parts are expensive, I decided to keep the original console with the car for now and recondition things such as the shifter plate, replace the shifter boot and knob, and repaint the black edge of the plate.



The HVAC control panel definitely needed to be replaced after four decades, so I ordered a repair kit that included the face plate and control wheels. I then rebuilt the panel which now looks and operates like it did the day the car rolled out.





The ashtray, like the rest of all shifter plate parts, also needed attention, so I took it apart, sanded all the pieces and painted the ashtray and the sliding lid. I decided to leave the base silver, in spite of a bit of surface corrosion.

I also used my Dremel tool to cut off the ashtray's cigarette extinguishing tab since its only function nowadays, is as a holder for my garage door opener. And instead of a lighter, I use the outlet for an USB plug for either my iPhone or MP3 player.

In the future I may take the whole console apart again in order to replace it with a new aftermarket unit, and at that time, I may have a few pieces powder coated for durability.




The shifter console plate itself showed its age, with lots of chips and scratches so the only solution was to mask it and repaint the black areas. But since I wanted it to look fresh, I chose bedliner spray to give it a nice textured finish, followed by a couple of coats of SEM Color Coat interior Landau black spray paint.




Other items like the shift pattern and engine info plates were beyond repair, so I ordered new ones.


The shifter boot had lost its sheen and had a hole in it (it looked like a cigarette burn), so I ordered a new one.



After all these changes, the woodgrain lookalike trim looked tired and dated, so I used an old overlay I had saved from my '75 Vette, and traced the trim pattern onto self-adhesive vinyl wrap, with a brushed aluminum finish.



And here's the finished product. I also decided to replace the chrome shifter knob which had discolored over the years, with a new composite black knob, which looks great.




I am still debating whether I want to order a new trim kit, for both the shifter console and instrument cluster, so please stay tuned.

By the way, that kit is also available in faux carbon fiber and burlwood and rosewood finishes, but for my taste, brushed aluminum looks the best.

Thank you for reading my '76 Corvette blog.