Every model produced by the UK and European car industry during the Fifties and Sixties was a classic its own right. Those were the days when mass production and brand engineering was less widespread, meaning that manufacturers could indulge themselves, with many models using hand crafted designs and craftsmanship that stood the test of time.
These are the reasons why classic car restorers worked so hard to maintain the special atmosphere created by these twentieth century artisans and why its so important to maintain a restored interior, especially the dashboard.
Maintaining a classic car dashboard requires a gentle touch and some specialized care to ensure that it remains in good condition. Here are some steps you can take to keep your classic car dashboard looking its best:
Use a soft, damp cloth to wipe down the dashboard regularly. Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaners that can damage the surface of the dashboard.
Sunlight can cause the dashboard to fade and crack over time. Whenever possible, park your car in a shaded area or use a windshield sunshade to protect the dashboard from the sun's rays.
Apply a UV protectant to the dashboard to help prevent sun damage. Look for a product specifically designed for use on automotive dashboards.
Keep liquids away from the dashboard to prevent staining and damage. If a spill does occur, clean it up immediately with a soft cloth.
Avoid attaching accessories to the dashboard that could scratch or damage the surface. If you must attach something, use a non-scratch adhesive and be sure to remove it carefully.
With the dashboard taken care of, maintaining the gauges and clocks is as much as a responsibility.
The gauges and clocks on a classic car are delicate instruments that require special care to keep them working properly. Here are some tips on how to maintain them:
It goes without saying that all gauges must be kept clean to function and so that the information displayed can be clearly seen. To keep them clean all that is required is a wipe with a soft, dry cloth. Water or any cleaning products must be avoided as they could damage the delicate mechanisms.
The moving parts inside the gauges and clocks can become dry and stiff over time, causing them to malfunction. Apply a small amount of silicone lubricant to the moving parts to keep them working smoothly.
If the gauges or clocks stop working properly, it's best to have them professionally serviced by a specialist who has experience with classic car instruments.
Many of the classic cars, especially those produced during the Fifties had wooden dashboards, that also matched wooden trim on doors.Maintaining the wooden trim on a classic car dashboard requires special care and attention to ensure that it remains in good condition. Here are some of the steps required to keep a classic car dashboard and wooden trim looking its best:
Apply a protective coating to the wooden trim to help prevent damage from sunlight and moisture. Look for a product specifically designed for use on automotive wood trim.
Sunlight can cause the wooden trim to fade and crack over time. Whenever possible, park your car in a shaded area or use a windshield sunshade to protect the dashboard from the sun's rays.
If the finish on the wooden trim becomes dull or damaged, it may need to be refinished. Consult with a professional who has experience working with automotive wood finishes to determine the best course of action.
A principal feature on a classic car will always be its steering wheel, with some exotic designs and finishes characterising steering wheel designsa steering wheel will always require specialised care to ensure that it remains in good condition.
If the steering wheel is made of leather, use a leather conditioner to keep it soft and supple. Look for a product specifically designed for use on automotive leather.
It may seem like a minor point, but wearing rings, watches, or bracelets while driving can scratch the surface of the steering wheel. Remove any jewelry that could cause damage.
If the steering wheel becomes damaged, such as cracking or splitting, it may need to be repaired or replaced. Consult with a professional who has experience working with classic car steering wheels to determine the best course of action.
By following these steps and making every effort to maintain a classic car dashboard, clocks and gauges, wooden trim and steering wheel, the car will be a source of pride and pleasure for many years to come.
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A guide to acquiring, restoring and maintaining UK or European Classic Cars of the Fifties and Sixties- as well as a recollection of the iconic cars of the era and the visionaries that produced them.