Above is a photo of my new Peter Wiggins dashboard, or as now known in the TVR community the ‘Pete Dash’. I remember when I first picked up my TVR Griffith being very disappointed the first time I pressed a button on the dashboard. The OEM dashboard looks good but whenever you press a button the whole dash flexes and has a very flimsy feel to it. I am very pleased with my new Pete dash not only has it solved a couple of recurring issues with the OEM dashboard I have explained in more detail below, it looks and feels like real quality item.
I had a new walnut dashboard fitted to my TVR in 2012 it was supplied by Classical dash and I was very pleased with the finish. Unfortunately as my Griff lives outside every summer the glue would fail on the rear of the dashboard buttons and they would end up floating around inside the dashboard. Various glues where tested including Araldite and 2 ton epoxy adhesive, none would secure the buttons for more than 12 months.
Recently I also noticed that the veneer had cracked, this is again probably mainly due to the extreme temperatures the dash is exposed to during winter and summer. Having to remove the dashboard so many times to re-fix the buttons I asm sure also did not help.
A good friend of mine and fellow Griff owner Peter Wiggins mentioned he was developing a new dashboard for his car to address the issues with the original TVR design. Despite the issues with the design of the original TVR dashboards being well documented, none of the existing suppliers of these dashboards have chosen address these issues in the products they sell.
Peter’s design to eliminates the manner in which the gauges and switches were fitted from new, they were simply glued to the rear of the panel dash panel. The design also addresses the poor choice of a veneered piece of thin 1.5mm steel sheet, which flexed and twisted in use causing the veneer to crack regularly.
Peter’s design is a laminated dash concept; meaning that it has an aluminium backing of 1.5mm that holds all the gauges via bezel mount and has ‘press studs’ to provide fixing capability, then a front bonded layer of 4mm ply veneered with bur walnut. This design produces a nice relatively flex free surface and allows all the switches and gauges to be properly mounted rather than using mastic or an araldited little bracket.
Peter started with a digital CAD file of the dash outline, kindly supplied by Dave Horthersall (TVRCC deputy editor) and then produced a paper 1:1, then modified the file to follow as accurately his original profile. Peter then produced two layers; 1 the aluminium with gauge holes the size of the case and 2 the wood with gauge holes a clearance fit for the bezel. Peter also designed switch and indicator lamp mounting brackets to all fit onto the aluminium layer. Finally Peter had both the wood and aluminium water jet cut from the CAD files, then the veneered wood layer was bonded to the aluminium. Lastly the veneer was coated with 7 coats of lacquer to give a deep shine.
The following are photographs showing the stages and finished items (kindly provided by Peter Wiggins):
Machined Swirled Aluminium
Pete also offers a machined swirled aluminium option and brushed stainless steel for those who prefer the more modern look. My car came with one of these from the factory and it did look very good.
I took delivery of my dashboard February 2015, Peter very kindly let me have one of the first 500 dashboards he produced. The finish looked fantastic I could tell that a lot of time had not only gone into the design but also the finishing of the product.
While my car was in for a service this year I took the opportunity to ask David Batty (TVR Specialist) to swap the dashboard over for the new ‘Pete Dash’. I also had the stereo headunit swapped for an updated unit as the old one had failed. Trying to find a head unit which did not look like a disco ball was quite difficult, I ended up settling for a Pioneer DEH-80PRS which is a good quality unit being part of the Pioneer reference series and also has full iPhone/iPod connectivity including charging which is useful when using the phone as a sat nav.
David did a great job of fitting the dashboard and the item itself is absolute quality, I am really pleased with it.
If you fancy one of Peter’s fantastic new dashboards can be contacted via email at email@example.com