Design iteration

Constructing a completely new dash is an iterative process that evolves as components must be fit into the available space and various dependencies become apparent while assembly progresses. See the dash makeover and dash refinements posts for an overview of the process.

Initial conceptual ideas centered around a T-shaped flat dash that echoes earlier British sports cars. The large circular dual instruments and center facial small instrument placement were retained along with a row of toggle switches.

Dash concept with circular digital instruments, climate control, and toggle switches

Dash layout depends obviously on the choice of switches and instrumentation. After settling on the Honda S2000 start button, the Dakota Digital HDX and DCC climate control interfaces, and Vintage Air vents, the challenge became how to fit everything into the limited dash surface real estate defined by the classic T-shape outline.

The next version placed all the components on the dash together with a faux glovebox cutout that might be useful as an access port for behind-the-dash wiring and plumbing. The Honda S2000 start button was planned for the transmission center console.

Dakota Digital HDX instruments and DCC interface with oval vents (open video screen)

The oval vents seemed to overemphasize the air conditioning system, so more traditional circular vents were substituted on either end of the dash.

Dakota Digital HDX and DCC dash with round side vents (closed video screen)

The asymmetrical placement of the oval switch plate wasn’t helped by the appearance of the Pioneer pop-up screen.

HDX and DCC dash showing retractable single DIN display up

 

Final conceptualization

The off-center placement of the oval switch plate seemed to make the dash look more complicated. In addition, the S2000 start button proved too long to fit into the center console, so it had to be relocated to the bottom left of the dash. Final installation of the Vintage Air climate control system indicated that a faux glove box cutout for access was pointless — you could just see A/C plastic hoses — so it was eliminated. The contemporary flat leaping cat logo was then replaced with an older “Jaguar” script badge.

Current symmetrical design

Rounded dash ends echo the original XJ6 dash design and the return of symmetry looks more elegant. The Eagle style Moto-Lita steering wheel completes the restomod look.

Dash with Moto-Lita steering wheel and simulated walnut color scheme

Refinements of the dash include rounded corners that meet the center console.

Full dash concept (colors not accurate)

 

Construction

Like the original XJ6 dash, our redesign will be assembled in three sections. The ends have top and side bolts while the center section is held in place with two top facia hand screws. Moulding trim (green lines) surrounds the center facia board and side under-panels (red outline) will be modified from the originals.

Dash construction using PVC boards

The plan is to use hydrographics to print a burl walnut design across the dash facia boards. Instead of plywood that may warp during the process, the backing is white PVC. This surface must be carefully covered with fiberglass resin in order to prepare it properly for priming and printing.

Center facia and tunnel console layout

The three-part dash facia anticipates the center console design which projects back from the center facia to the entertainment unit mount and then to the shift platform and armrest/storage between the front seats.

The appearance is rather stark in its white PVC backing, but when printed in dark walnut burl surrounded by a black leather upholstery finish, the effect should be functionally elegant.

Switch mount and labels

Switch mount and engraved label plate

The center dash facia has three ovals — top A/C vent, middle A/C interface control, and the bottom LED switch console. The 22mm LED switches are all mounted on a 3D printed platform. This will be sanded down and incorporated into the hydrographic walnut burl print so that it will appear to be a single piece of wood. A custom label plate shows the various switch functions.

Entertainment unit

Head unit between switches and shifter

Pioneer with opened screen on PVC mount

The entertainment single DIN head unit is sandwiched between the center facia switches and the flat shift platform.

The original XJ6 design incorporated an awkward tray — now eliminated — so the head unit mount must be brought forward about one inch using a PVC piece to match the inclination of the dash facia board.

Since the shift lever has also been eliminated, there is plenty of room for the head unit’s flip-up video display to operate without impacting the shifter functions.

The forward position angle matches the the slight tilt of the dash facia for better viewing and also provides more space for the flip-up video screen display while avoiding conflict with the oval switch plate just above the screen.

Storage tray

Storage tray under the armrest

Storage tray USB connectors

The under-the-armrest storage area, originally a thin plastic cavity, was shortened to fit the shifter mechanism beneath it and reinforced with fiberglass. This cavity also holds a dual USB charger with voltmeter display and a smart phone cord pass-through to the entertainment unit which provides navigation, bluetooth audio, phone, and other connectivity features.

After sanding, the tray will be flocked with black fibers for a classic premium finish.

Console tray

 

Subwoofer controller

Subwoofer controller in ashtray surround

The subwoofer handheld control interface, wired from the trunk up along the transmission tunnel, is conveniently housed in the old ashtray finish piece at the end of the center console.

Shifter platform

The original XJ6 Series 1 center console top was cheap pressed aluminum. This was filled in with plywood, wood putty and fiberglass resin so that the top is completely flat before hydrographic walnut burl is affixed.

Modification of the center console for the shifter push button pad and window switches

A custom designed and 3D printed surround for the GSM shift push button interface hides the four screws holding it to the platform. The surround will be sanded and painted black to match the interior.

The shifter platform will also have a round “sport” toggle switch to change from A to B transmission modes. The default position (off) is the Cal A setting. When switched on by receiving 12v+, the TCU will operate from the Cal B calibration.

Steering wheel, dash, and shifter keypad

Center console

The leather center console holds the entertainment unit, electric window controls, the platform for push button shifting, and the end interior light while also providing a mounting infrastructure for the PCS shifter assembly. The console front edges merge into the side panels and the dash facia to create a unified appearance.

Center console functional role