View Full Version : Recovering the dash

07-06-2004, 01:40 AM
I am planning to recover the dash on my Bugeye. I am considering using vinyl like the original but have also thought about applying a crackle-coat paint finish, like on later model Sprites and Midgets. Any thoughts? How hard is the crackle-coat to apply? Any other ideas out there? (I have also considered doing a turned metal treatment, if I can clean up the dash sufficiently.) Also: My car is black. Any thoughts on what color dash would look good? I am thinking either red or black crackle-coat or red or tan vinyl.

07-06-2004, 10:07 AM
I recovered my dash and panels last year. I stripped of the old vinyl, cleaned up the metal front and back, and renewed it using burgundy vinyl and 1/4" foam purchased from a local fabric shop. The end result is very nice, even if I have to say so myself! /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/tongue.gif I like the "padded" look, but the purists would tell you the originals weren't padded.

I had a '64 International Scout that I repainted many moons ago. It was bought intentionally for rough use, so I didn't care much about the finish. After I repainted the hood, I noticed that it reflected a lot of sunlight back up into my face, so I sprayed it with the crinkle finish (took two aerosol cans, but for $10, what the heck.) That really knocked the glare down, but it looked like I had an engine fire that wrinkled the paint! /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif

Have you considered the "speckled" spray paints available now days? I've seen these in some specialty paint stores and always wondered how they would look on a dash when coordinated with the car paint.

Tim C.

07-06-2004, 01:54 PM
Eastwood sells a wrinkle finish black, P/N 1230 that approximates the finely wrinkled finish of the earlier dashes. Some of the other ones I have tried look like brain coral, as the wrinkles are so large.
To use it successfully, be sure and follow the instructions on the can, EXACTLY. I found a heat lamp or two to be a big help when doing larger areas.

07-06-2004, 08:45 PM
Thanks, Jeff. I am leaning toward the wrinkle finish. Won't need the heat lamp, though. Our A/C went out this weekend and our new unit won't be installed until the end of the week. Our house must be at least 400 degrees right now. I can cure parts in my living room. My wife is threatening to move into a hotel, which will give me plenty of time to work.

07-06-2004, 09:09 PM
Tex, you're probably right about the heat lamps. I don't ever recall using them when I lived in Arizona, either.
No A/C in Lubbock in July..........No thanks! Doesn't anybody have swamp cooler backups anymore?
It'll be in the 60's here tonight. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/cool.gif
Jeff /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif

07-06-2004, 10:09 PM
Wrinkle paint is easy if you follow the directions.
For a nice even wrinkle, paint the dash on a board, do the 3 coats then move it out in the direct sunlight. The whole piece will absorb the heat and wrinkle real nice.
Heat lamps, or hair dryers, tend to make hot spots unless you can line up the lamps evenly along the dash and then high enough for even heat and no bulb hot spots.
Stick it out in the sun.
I just wrinkled my Healey 3000 dash yesterday, it came out perfect.

07-08-2004, 12:49 AM
OK. This evening I painted two sample pieces. For the first, I used Krylon Wrinkle Finish (#3370.) The finish is exactly what I was looking for...tight wrinkles, very hard, low gloss unless the light hits at just the right angle, where there is just the right amount of sheen. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/thumbsup.gif

For the second sample, I used Harley-Davidson Texture Black spray paint (#98606BF.) I saw a reference for this paint searching Google for "wrinkle paint." I called the local Harley dealer who had several cans in stock. Kinda pricey at $15.00 per can. The finish is not actually a wrinkle finish...more velvety...like powder coating before it has been baked. It is not exactly what I was looking for for my dash, but it is a neat looking finish that I might try somewhere else. It needs to cure for at least 24 hours, so I won't know what the final product will look like until tomorrow evening. In its uncured state, it looks like it might be kind of delicate.

Jeff...in my Google searches, I found lots of discussion among the antique radio hobbiests. I would make fun of their arcane little hobby, but then I think about ours' and... /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/nonono.gif...in any case, where you remarked that many of the paints you have tried resulted in big "brain coral" wrinkles, instead of the more fine-grained wrinkles suitable for our little cars, the antique radio people can't seem to find paints that yield wrinkles that are big enough. Our respective hobbies should get together and trade notes.

Tomorrow, I am going to apply a different color over the black wrinkle finish. If possible, I want to preserve the Krylon finish...but in red, not black.

07-08-2004, 01:26 AM
Tex, I just remembered that there is a wrinkle finish powder coat now, and it is available in red. A friend had the cam cover on his Fiat done, and it came out beautifully.
And, I'm sure you can get red wrinkle paint.

Steve P.
07-08-2004, 12:26 PM
I'm also at the point where I need to make a decision about the dash in my Bugeye. I've decided against wrinkle paint because it is so hard to clean. All of those cool looking little wrinkles will trap dirt, grease, and crud and is impossible to clean. I'm actually considering a thin wood veneer for mine. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/driving.gif

07-08-2004, 12:50 PM
Eeeeewwwwww! /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/rolleyes.gif

Actually, I find the wrinkles to be no problem to clean. A spray bottle of Windex and a paper towel work just fine.

07-08-2004, 01:10 PM
post some pics of your dash when you're done! this sounds interesting!

07-08-2004, 08:35 PM
Regarding applying a thin wood veneer...that is what I spent two evenings scraping off. It may have looked OK when the PO first put it on, but by the time I took possession it had weathered badly. Keep in mind that, at least on the Mk. I and II Sprites, the dash has a curved edge that might be hard to cover. My PO stopped at the edge and glued on a thin strip of rubber. Again...maybe it looked OK when new, but it was coming loose by the time I got it. If I wasn't going to do the wrinkle paint, I would probably do vinyl, like the original. If you want something special, how about leather? Or an exotic leather...ostrich...snake skin...eel? That might look cool and a yard of even an exotic leather shouldn't be too expensive. I have also seen some cars with smooth painted dashes, which look fine.

07-10-2004, 05:34 PM
Don't forget when you put all back together that the instruments have an O'ring on them where they mount to the dash. Reduces some noise and vibration.


07-12-2004, 08:54 AM
.. and if you put anything more than a couple of millimetres thick on the dash then you run the risk of obscuring the backlighting slots on some of the dials when they are put back (the voice of experience!).

07-06-2014, 03:15 AM
Bringing a 10 year old thread back from the dead....

I'm about ready to recover my dash. I bought my vinyl from AH spares, the same black vinyl used for my seats. I've read what I can find about the process:

Use contact cement, not the spray stuff
Use very thin stretchable vinyl - maybe seat vinyl is not the right stuff?
Use upholstery clips on the edges

I'm also curious about the black crinkle paint. It sounds easy and durable.... and no issue for Texas heat. Texas_Cicada seems to have disappeared, but I found a pic of his and it looks pretty good. I'd just have to fill in the slots left from the factory radio "prep".

Which cars came with the painted metal dash? Mark II or III? I'm assuming they did not have the slots for the radio cutout in the dash.


07-06-2014, 08:10 AM
Only the Mk2 midgets and Mk3 sprites trough 67 . All early MGB's till 68. Those Spridgets are my favorite's and from experience the wrinkle finish looks great unless it gets dirty [with age]. There is no way that I know of to get the dirt out of the wrinkles.

If the vinyl you are using is capable of stretching I think you will have no trouble. When I did my BE I contacted Moss and they sent me the same stuff that they used on my seat kits. Came out fine except for keeping the corners from coming unstuck. Now I realize that the seat clips should prevent that.


07-07-2014, 06:52 PM
I got spare vinyl from AHSpares (in order to match the seats and panels) and had a local upholstery shop do the installation. Perfect job. Well worth it being done professionally.

07-08-2014, 04:02 PM
I just have my garage man take care of it, lol.

07-09-2014, 07:10 PM
I think the original vinyl covered dash looks the best......anyone can paint it....ha, ha, and my apologies to all who are trying the wrinkle paint.
Do not use vinyl which has a heavy reinforcement on the back. Also use the spring clips to hold it on the lower edge...just like the factory.
Scott in CA33840

07-09-2014, 08:31 PM
I think the original vinyl covered dash looks the best......anyone can paint it....ha, ha, and my apologies to all who are trying the wrinkle paint.
Do not use vinyl which has a heavy reinforcement on the back. Also use the spring clips to hold it on the lower edge...just like the factory.
Scott in CA

Agreed, I'm going to try the vinyl from AH Spares this weekend.

07-09-2014, 08:47 PM
The Dap/Weldwood hi temp vinyl top adhesive works better than anything else I've tried. Use clips around the perimeter of the dash and 'fan' the cut outs for the gauges...glue the 'fans' to the back of the dash to prevent wrinkles and separation.