Whether you like PHR's or not, you will be able to appreciate the sheer impossibility of finding a reproduction dashpad. Even more daunting is finding-and paying for-an NOS piece in the case of a really rare muscle car where a reproduction part is not available. Even in this day of online auctions, it seems like finding the right dashpad in serviceable shape is next to impossible. We looked everywhere for our Laguna, and only found used ones in poor condition. Fortunately, an old, beat-up dash is all you need to start with if you elect to use the services of Just Dashes in Van Nuys, California.

Just Dashes can completely refurbish any old dashpad (or instrument panel too), and you won't be able to tell the difference between the restored one and a brand-new one. The cost isn't cheap-it ran $800 to restore our Laguna's dash and companion plastic dash panel-but it's far less expensive than tracking down and buying a NOS part for three or four times that amount. For many muscle car projects, this is the only viable option, short of building a custom dash.

The turnaround time on our project was only a couple of weeks, not including shipping time. Moreover, all the parts were meticulously packed by Just Dashes, and clearly labeled. Our dash actually consists of two parts, the padded upper portion, and the hard plastic lower portion, which Just Dashes cleaned, and applied matching dye to. We did need to find a used dash first, since Just Dashes does not stock these, and we wanted to keep our car driveable in the interim. We located one from fellow Laguna lover, Steve Yoder, for $100, and had him ship it directly to Just Dashes for us. Once restored, the Just Dashes piece went in perfectly without any hang-ups, and the visual impact was immediate and dramatic. As an unexpected bonus, the Laguna even smells like a new car again, because all the vinyl and foam is new.

To finish off the interior, we added one of Grant's Classic-style walnut steering wheels. Grant seems to really understand the muscle car guy, because they offer a wide selection of classic and nostalgic steering wheels that have a period-correct look, but with the sizes and features desired by modern drivers. For instance, we really dig Grant's walnut wood wheel for its look and feel, but we also like the fact that the metal rivets that hold the wood-and the metal part of the rim-are recessed to prevent burned or frozen hands. When we saw that Grant made a small-diameter walnut wheel with satin black three-hole spokes, we realized it fit the vibe of the car perfectly, and we ordered one. It matches our satin black paintjob and the rest of our interior perfectly, and our days of burning our hands on a metal rim are over.

In just one day, we completely transformed Project Laguna. Granted, the exterior is the most memorable visual feature of any car, it is the interior that makes it easy to live with on a day-to-day basis. Nowhere is this more manifest than the dashpad and instrument panel. Interestingly, it is now the interior that garners the most compliments from our Laguna, and that's saying something.

WHERE THE MONEY WENT
Description: PN: Cost:
Used dash for '75 Laguna n/a $100
Just Dashes dash restoration n/a $800
Grant 13.5-inch Classis Series steering wheel 313 $79.95*
Grant wheel installation kit 3196 $16.95*
Grant Bow Tie horn button 5643 $17.25*
Dupli-Color Vinyl & Fabric paint HVP-104 $7.95*
Misc. interior fasteners n/a $30
Total: $1,052.10
*Price from Summit Racing
SOURCE
Summit Racing
Akron
OH
800-230-3030
330-630-0240
http://www.summitracing.com/
Just Dashes
Van Nuys
CA
800-247-3274
www.JustDashes.com
Grant Products
1770 Evergreen Street
Duarte
CA  91010
800-952-6947
www.grantproducts.com
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