I thought I would share a blog on the re-building of the dashboard from Ian Hopper’s third and final Special.
Remarkably all the parts of the car had remained together since it was last used on the road in 1972.
From the dashboard the original and
lovely Jaeger instruments, original Lucas switches and dashboard
plaques recording major sporting successes were all present.
|As found Hopper H3|
However the leather-covered alloy dashboard had been painted numerous times and in an array of colours over the years. Although quite badly deteriorated, it was possible to carefully remove the layers of paint and to reveal the original colour of the tanned hide in certain areas.
|Original leather dashboard covering|
The search was now on to find a hide to match the original in colour, texture and thickness.
|Full hide underside|
Eventually one was found that was big enough to upholster both the dashboard and the bucket seats. Fate played a hand in that the hide found was tanned in Scotland and was supplied by Andrew Muihead of Dunn Street, Glasgow.
|Andrew Muirhead Glasgow|
As the sheet alloy below had corroded quite badly, the leather was removed and the dashboard etch-primed. A section of the hide was selected for suitable grain and not to compromise the availability of the best hide for use in covering the seats. The slightly larger section was bonded to the alloy using PVA adhesive, which was chosen as it would allow the leather to flatten before the glue had set. As this is water-based, it was hoped that it would also tighten the leather as it dried. This proved correct and after a week had passed, the edges were turned and stuck in place with impact adhesive.
|Leather bonded to etch-primed alloy|
The openings for all the instruments were carefully cut using a knife, punches of the correct diameter being used to make the holes for the switchgear. The dashboard plaques were remounted in their original positions as was the grab-handle and map reading light. The instruments had been restored over 40 years ago and kept under dry conditions since then. They were re-fitted to the dashboard along with all the switchgear and ancillary items.