Precision Street Rods & Machines - Building Quality Cars Since 1982
Precision Street Rods & Machines
 "How We Installed A 1959-60 Impala Dash Into A '56 F100"  
 
 
This is how we install the dash from a 1959-60 Chevrolet Impala into a 1956 Ford F100. This story is intended to spark an idea and most definitely separate your truck from the rest of the pack. Car dashes which are from the same era as the truck lend themselves very well.
 
 
INSTRUCTIONS: Roll your mouse over the the photo, left side click to view it in a larger format. Use the manual arrow buttons to proceed in either direction. Use the (X) button to return to the original format. 
 
OPTION: Click on the bottom left arrow to start the automatic slide show in the larger format, Click it again to pause the show.
 
 
 
Lead Photo
Lead Photo
(Finished)
Photo 01
Photo 01
Photo 01: Here is a look at the almost stock 1956 Ford F100 dash. (the switch holes had been filled in)
Photo 02
Photo 02
Photo 02: This is how the Impala dash looked when we received it. Everything we need is here. The pieces that were missing were going to be discarded anyway as we want the dash to be smooth in these areas.
Photo 03
Photo 03
Photos 03 & 04: The first thing we did was to find the center of the gauges and mark the dash.
Photo 04
Photo 04
Photo 04
Photo 05
Photo 05
Photo 05 & 06: Next we measured from our mark to the driver’s door pillar. This measurement will be used to locate the new dash on the left side. As you can see, the dash is definitely wide enough for our project and will need to be trimmed.
Photo 06
Photo 06
Photo 06:
Photo 07
Photo 07
Photos 07 & 08: We used a plasma cutter to remove the F100 dash face. We left a small lip surrounding the windshield area to attach the Impala dash to later. This way we can retain the upper F100 dash trim as well as the defrost vents.
Photo 08
Photo 08
Photo 08: This is how the cab looks with the dash removed. Notice that the sides are double walled.
Photo 09
Photo 09
Photos 09 & 10: We measured the Impala dash both in width and depth to get an idea of where we will be trimming it. This was compared to the new opening we now have.
Photo 10
Photo 10
Photo10
Photo 11
Photo 11
Photos 11 & 12: We started fitting the Impala dash into the F100 cavity by trimming the depth, followed by the dash braces.
Photo 12
Photo 12
Photo 12
Photo 13
Photo 13
Photos 13 & 14: All of this was followed by cutting the dash in two pieces (1 ½” off center) separating the dash. We predetermined that the dash was 3” too wide. By removing 1 ½” off center each way, we will have removed 3” in 2 cuts instead of 3 by cutting it exactly down the middle, then 1 ½” off each end.
Photo 14
Photo 14
Photo14
Photo 15
Photo 15
Photos 15 & 16: The driver’s side is the first to be marked with the shape of the Impala dash and trimmed to size as the gauge instrument cluster location is critical.
Photo 16
Photo 16
Photo 16
Photo 17
Photo 17
Photos 17 & 18: Now that the Impala dash shape has been cut into the old dash sides, we can temporally clamp it into place and check the fit. Notice that the lines of the truck dash and Impala line up perfectly making it look like it was meant to be.
Photo 18
Photo 18
Photo 18
Photo 19
Photo 19
Photo 19: Now that we’re happy with the fit and location of the Impala dash, we made a paper template of our cut-out and transferred it to the other side. We will trim the excess metal as we did previously on the driver’s side.
Photo 20
Photo 20
Photo 20: We noticed that our dash was a little too deep and needed slight trimming. We used aviation snips for this.
Photo 21
Photo 21
Photo 21: With both dash halves clamped into place, we can go ahead and mark our second cut to narrow the dash. Our 3” prediction was right on the money. If we were off slightly, we could have adjusted for it at this point by either leaving or removing more material.
Photo 22
Photo 22
Photo 22: Here’s a look at the pieces we removed from the center of the dash. The next step was to sandblast the dash halves where we will be welding..
Photo 23
Photo 23
Photos 23 & 24: Our new dash mounts underneath the lip we left around the windshield. We found that it was blocking the defroster vent holes. We marked and removed those areas from the dash.
Photo 24
Photo 24
Photo 24
Photo 25
Photo 25
Photo 25: If you look closely you’ll see that the dash sides are not flush with the pillar allowing the stock kick panel to make up the difference. Since our dash is a little taller, we want to flush fit this section.
Photo 26
Photo 26
Photos 26, 27 & 28: This is how we went about the transformation. We started by removing the excess material in the dash edge, welding it back together and grinding it smooth.
Photo 27
Photo 27
Photo 27
Photo 28
Photo 28
Photo 28
Photo 29
Photo 29
Photo 29: Remember in photo #2 that there was a few missing pieces when we received our dash? We made and welded in plates to fill in the holes and give the dash a smoother look.
Photo 30
Photo 30
Photos 30 & 31: The welds were ground smooth next. We added an extra switch indent for a more symmetrical look, besides we needed it for our heater switch. Again, the dash was ground smooth, then primed.
Photo 31
Photo 31
Photo 31
Photo 32
Photo 32
Photos 32 & 33: For no reason we started installing the passengers dash half first. It helps to have someone help you do this step. The dash and lip from the other dash need to be pushed together tightly and tack welded.
Photo 33
Photo 33
Photo 33
Photo 34
Photo 34
Photos 34 & 35: The driver’s half was positioned next. We started joining the 2 halves together by tack welding the seam in the middle of the dash. Prior to positioning the dash, we added filler pieces to smooth out the dash where the speaker grill and ash try were to the drivers side.
Photo 35
Photo 35
Photo 35
Photo 36
Photo 36
Photos 36 & 37: Just as we did on the passenger’s side, we tack welded the dash to the lip from the original F100 dash.
Photo 37
Photo 37
Photo 37
Photo 38
Photo 38
Photos 38, 39 & 40: This is how our dash looked after it was tack welded together. Our tack welds are a couple of inches apart for now.
Photo 39
Photo 39
Photo 39
Photo 40
Photo 40
Photo 40
Photo 41
Photo 41
Photo 41: We will continue tack welding in between the tack welds many times tightening the spacing until it becomes a continuous weld, skipping around the dash and not applying too much heat to any one area. This is very time consuming to say the least, but necessary to keep the dash from warping too much. The dash is very thin (20 gauge) sheet metal.
Photo 42
Photo 42
Photos 42 & 43: Here is a peak at the freshly ground welds. If you didn’t know any better, you would think it came this way from the get-go.
Photo 43
Photo 43
Photo 43
Photo 44
Photo 44
Photo 44: The radio portion of the dash is the next and last thing to tend to. We will remove the radio knob support brackets leaving a rectangular hole in the middle of the dash.
Photo 45
Photo 45
Photo 45: This is the piece that will fill in the old radio hole. We made it from left over sheet metal we weren’t using.
Photo 46
Photo 46
Photo 46: The radio filler piece is positioned, welded and ground smooth next.
Photo 47
Photo 47
Photo 47: With a little body filler and a coat of primer, your dash should come out looking something like this. Notice that the dash runs parallel with the back window opening. This is very important!
Website Builder provided by  Vistaprint