Dash / Pad

Dan and RJ have always tried to keep Big Red as much 1969 Camaro to the naked eye…within reason. The interior was not an exception to the rule. Since the original build, Big Red always has retained its original steel dash, plastic dash insert (with the original climate controls), and factory dash pad. The new plan was to retire the old aluminum center gauge console (installed so the navigator/passenger could monitor the gauges at 220 mph in the Silver State Classic Challenge) and get back to the basics for gauges, while retaining the look of the original ’69 Camaro. The first item to build around was the Anvil Auto carbon-fiber dash insert that has the classic original look. The first step Tim took was get out the hole saw and saber saw and start cutting it up. The rollcage door bar runs directly into the fresh air vent on the face of the factory dash panel, so a notch was cut out. New Stewart Warner gauges were purchased. Only the basics for RJ to keep tabs on the essential vitals: water temp, oil temp, and oil pressure. All other readings will be caught by the data logger. Placing the gauges in the dash up high, compared to down low in the old center console, makes them visible from RJ’s seating position so he doesn’t have to avert his eyes too far from the road or his mirrors (where most of Big Red’s competition usually ends up). They painted the carbon-fiber panel with black semi-gloss paint, and it looks similar to the original black plastic cluster. Big Red always has had the original climate control panel in the dash cluster. Just another factory piece that keeps Big Red looking somewhat like a street car. All of you true ’69

Camaro fans will recognize that this controller is for a “factory A/C” car. That’s because when Big Red rolled off the Van Nuys, California, assembly line, it had a 350 small block and air conditioning. You’ll also know that no ’69 Z/28s were built with A/C. Luckily, Dan and RJ didn’t want to cut up an original Z/28, so they selected Big Red and added their favorite badges…Z/28 badges. Only two remnants are left over from the original A/C. This controller is one of them. If you’re good, you’ll notice the other telltale sign elsewhere in photos in this book. Tim wanted to source a good, original controller, so he reached out to a great source for used parts: Steve’s Camaros in the San Francisco Bay area. Tim installed the controller and gauges. Big Red always has run Stewart Warner gauges for the vitals, and relied on AutoMeter for monitoring the engine rpm. The rebuild hasn’t changed those choices. Since Big Red has a rollcage, it was easier—but not necessary—for Tim and Cliff to install the OER dash pad through the windshield opening. The clips across the top of the pad easily can scratch the steel dash, so four hands are better than two. The dash is a good fit, and to access the clutch and brake master-cylinder reservoirs, the cover slides forward and comes out.