1968 Pontiac Firebird Interior Restoration Page 1

As you saw in the Rust repair sections and the sound proofing sections, I totally gutted out the
interior. With the exception of the headliner which was in excellent condition and required nothing.
Every other piece below the headliner was removed including the headliner trim moldings, the
windshield pillar covers and the sail panels. As you can imagine if you have looked at any of the
other pages, nothing went back on until it was in a condition that I was happy with. Some things
were purchased new, but most was just restored, refinished, or just cleaned really well. Every
piece of exposed metal in the interior was repainted. So here is what I started with.. Not horrid,
but not good either. There was a bit of a barny mouse kind of smell in it as well. The carpet as
you see, was nasty. The little cheapo gauge set also had to go. And the dash had a nice crack
right in the middle of the top. And the kick panels were both in pretty rough condition.

I had a 4 speed console plate (which seem impossible to find now-a-days)saved from my old 68.
It had been cut up pretty bad as you can see. As I mentioned on the Early Days page, he must
have had a thing for gauges. there were 5 cut-outs (3 with a torch and 2 with holesaw) that were
intended for gauges. with all those holes there was no use saving the decal so I used a paint stripper
on it and it lifted really well. It is very thick vinyl and glued on pretty well so scraping and grinding
would have taken much longer.

then tack weld in some round 18ga patches to fill the holes without warping the sheet metal.

the stud on the top edge of the shifter hole was missing so I ground the head of a correctly sized
machine screw down until it was thin and flat and tack welded it on in the correct position. You can
faintly see the spot it was supposed to be in on the picture just above.

I used a hammer and dolly to get the sheet metal straight and contoured correctly after grinding
the welds smooth, then worked with some fillers to get it perfectly smooth. Yes, I know a decal
will be covering it, but I have the sickness.... Perfectionist.

then a couple of coats of primer-sealer.

I actually had a great console door with a good decal but chose to strip one that was not in good
shape since I was going to put a new decal on it anyway's. same goes for the little cover at the
back of the console. Used the heavy-body stripper again. worked great.

console cleaned and masked, ready for paint.

Here are some the Painting products I used on the interior.

and the console painted. I like to paint outside when I can to keep the garage fumes down.
I painted this with SEM flexible paint shown above (prepped with SEM cleaner and SEM adhesion
promoter) on all the plastic parts in the car. I had heard very good things about this stuff before
I chose it to use. Crazy expensive ($16 a can) here but by all accounts the right stuff to use.
I believe by the time the dust settled I had used 6 cans of the red, 3 cans of clear and lots of
clear and 1 each the prep products.

and here is the finished console installed with the decal kit on. I got the decal off ebay from some reseller.
It worked pretty well. It was even textured a bit like the original. The chrome hole insert had already been
trimmed to fit the not-correct 4 speed hurst stick I have which hits the front of the cup I understand. It was like
this from the old car and I will have to live with it for now until I can figure out something better.
It was cut very roughly and was painted black. I trimmed and smoothed the edges and removed the black paint.

Here is a shot I inserted much later of the finished console with the new shifter installed, the new
shift cup installed, the gauges installed,and after I replaced the Standard Seats with the Deluxe seats.

dash instrument bezel being masked for painting. Just trimming around the masking tape with a
razor knife in the pic below.

and the finished bezel installed. The flash bouncing off the metal painted and the plastic painted
seems to want to make the shades look really different but in reality they are quite a nice match.

some of the metal interior parts cleaned, sanded and ready for paint.

and with a coat of primer and 2 top coats applied. I used Duplicolor Truck Van & SUV Victory Red for
the Dash bright red parts. I tried to get the "correct" colour using old paint codes I found on the internet
and pontiac service manuals but the local paint shops could not get the mix codes. So I eventually
gave up and found a great match with this colour at my local handy-dandy Canadian Tire store.

I used SEM Portola Red on all the plastic parts. First the cleaner, then the adhesion promoter,
then the paint, then a coat of Semi gloss SEM clear to knock down the shine a bit and for added durability.

most of the parts to be painted all sitting out.

The Kick panels that were on the car were in pretty rough shape with several cracked and broken parts.

I did have a nice set of kicks that I had saved from my previous 68. They were black and grossly dirty but had
no cracks or broken parts and the vent mechanisms worked well. the shot below is while I was cleaning off the
ton of old caulking that was on the backs of them to seal them to the kick panel wall. There was also a big chunk
of 40 year old fibre glass insulation stuck to it where that pinky area is. you can see a hint of the colors my old 68
had been before on the edge of the kick panel. (lime green & hugger orange)

test fitting the new Kick panels in the car. these devils are very tricky to get on and off.
The large vent sections fit only one way. the green tape all over the fresh paint is to protect it
from the top of the kick panel as it rubbed around during fitting. the "fitting" was to get the
speaker hole positioned exactly right so the back of the speaker fit into the hole behind correctly.

even with the speaker hole in the right place I still had to open up the square hole behind a little
bit to keep the magnet from touching the edges of the metal. here is a shot of the enlarged opening
and the holes in the kick panels. I used JL Audio 4' Coax speakers in the kick panel

s.

and here is the finished, painted kick panel. Because these may get "kicked I used several light coats
of the SEM paint and clear coat. The speakers were chosen for their size, sound quality and the fact that
they had good strong "plain" speaker covers that blended in nicely I thought to the interior. a lot of the
modern speakers have pretty"in your face" graphics, designs, and covers on them. These were just right,
and fit well in terms of diameter and depth. I did not want to lose the functionality of the stock vents.
I have seen examples of interior sound systems where people sacrificed their vents to install kick panel
speakers. And I also had absolutely no intention of cutting speakers into the doors, as so many people do.

a shot of the finished drivers kick side.

The heater box paint was in rough shape and there was some rust from a leaky heater core likely
many years ago. I sandblasted the whole thing, removed, and replaced the foam on the control doors.

and coated it with a coat of the Chassis Saver gloss black. then a couple of coats of semi-gloss spray black.

the package tray. I removed the vinyl top off the existing tray, but had to replace the cardboard
panel under it because it was in very bad shape due to the leaking window in the back. Here is the
package tray with the new speaker holes cut into the cardboard. ready for paint.

and with the parts all stitched together and painted.

before and after shots of the little roof hooks. they cleaned up really nice.

 

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