Today I decided to tackle one of the more intimidating jobs, enlarging the opening in the dash for the center vent. This modification involves trimming the side edges of the opening to make some additional room for the vent provided by Vintage Air. The amount to be trimmed is about 5/8″ on each side of the opening.
I started out by carefully measuring the opening and marking the edge where I needed to cut using painters tape. Then I got out my Dremel tool with a cutoff disc and started cutting. I quickly discovered that I couldn’t always get the Dremel at good angle. So some portions were cut with an old fashioned hacksaw. A bit of trimming and some touch up and the vent was able to slide into the opening. That’s the good part of the story.
The bad part of the story is that while attempting to position the Dremel I wore a groove in the dash knee pad. It was an original part and was in excellent condition. I was pretty upset with myself for ruining the pad, but I knew replacements are available. I brought up the NPD website and proceeded to order a new reproduction pad. That’s when the wheels fell off the wagon. The description for the part mentioned that it was poor quality, had fitment and finish issues, and was the only reproduction available. I went ahead and ordered a replacement anyway as I doubt I will be able to find an original in good condition.
Here’s a picture of the center vent. The gouge in the pad is pretty obvious. It hurts every time I look at this picture, but maybe I can help somebody else prevent making the same mistake.