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Re: Mk I, Mk II dash

To: Jim Stuart <>,
Subject: Re: Mk I, Mk II dash
From: Don Malling <>
Date: Thu, 05 Dec 2002 23:29:09 -0500
Hi Jim,

That is the question. How to put a metal dash in a 68-74 BMH MGB
Roadster Body shell.

Thanks very much for the reply.

Jim Stuart wrote:
> If the question is regards swapping in a metal dash in a later car, then my
> experience may help. First a bit of info- when MG went to a padded dash in
> 1969(?), they shortened the cowl to compensate for the thicker dash, and
> they angled the mounting lip. As a result, the early dash will not bolt up
> to a later car, & vice versa. In order to make the swap work, you need the
> cowl from an early car. This can be overlaid over the original cowl &
> fastened with structural adhesive, or trimmed & welded to the forward edge
> or the original cowl, or the original cowl can be removed & a complete early
> cowl welded in.

Having to cut into the cowl of my new BHM body shell was giving me some
pause on this.
Sounds like there are some options here. Sounds like I could even
pop-rivet the  
early US MKI cowl in place to see if everything will fit, and then weld
or whatever.

> The early cars had different defroster ducts in slightly different locations
> & using them is optional, but easier, as the early cowl has the correct
> slots. These slots can be enlarged to use the later vents as an option.
Sounds like when you overlay the early cowl on top of the existing MKII
body shell,
you do not overlay the defroster vents. Yes/No? 
> As to the metal dash, there are several versions. The earliest cars were
> slightly different than the 67-68 but the differences are insignificant.
> There are several versions of the European metal LHD dash ( driver sits on
> the left, drives on the right side of the road). The early dash, probably
> through 1968 would be the same as the US dash of the same years. When the US
> dash changed in 1969, the European (and UK) dash did not change
> significantly, and the metal dash was retained. There were changes at some
> time after 1968 in both the UK & European dash and smaller gauges were used
> for tach & speedo, the radio was replaced with fresh air vents mounted
> horizontally, unlike US cars that had vertical vents.
> A significant change affecting the metal dash swap was the change in
> transmission tunnel design. I am not positive, but think this occurred with
> the 1969 model year. The change in the tunnel means that the early speaker
> console will not match the early dash when installed in a later car. A
> console from a later UK or European car WILL meet the dash if it was from a
> later model metal dash car. A metal dash & console from a later model
> European  will also swap in for a slightly different look, still requiring
> the cowl modification.

A little confused here..."still requiring the cowl modification". You
mean the 
dashboard cowl from above, not the steering column (near steering wheel)

Sounds like the later LHD European metal dash will not bolt into what I
anyway if the dashboard cowl modification is still required. This says I
may as
well go with the early US metal dash. Yes/No? The European LHD metal
dash would
seem harder to find.

> As a note, the early US metal dash will accept the later model vertical
> fresh air vents in place of the radio, if you want an early dash in a late
> car & still want face vents. The radio can be mounted in the later European
> console.

OK not sure I understand exacly, but sounds not to be a problem.

> If you use the early dash in a later car, you will have a problem with the
> steering column. The column itself is too large for the opening in the metal
> dash, & the plastic surround will be too long & too large. Simply cutting if
> off will not solve the problem, as it will partially obscure the tach &
> speedo. One solution is to use the early steering column, another is to use
> a late model European dash which has a larger opening for the column, but
> these have the smaller gauges. I chose to use smaller gauges, retain the
> late steering column, enlarge the dash opening & shorten the plastic
> surround.
> you used the later model European metal dash?

If I use the early US steering column I think I have to change
the mounts on the cross piece bar that is below the dash? Remove the
existing cross
piece bar and weld in one from an early US MKI. I understand that if I
an early US steering column there are also modifications at the

Maybe these are the reasons to try to go with the European late model
Seems like a European late model LHD metal dash would be hard to find.
Are there lots of
MGBs on the continent?

No matter what, I need a late model UK or European Radio Console, but
that should
be easier to find because I can use one from the UK -- RHD. Yes/No? 
> All this goes to show that making the swap is not as simple as it looks, but
> it can be done. Thanks to Kelvin for finding the last repro swap console in
> Moss's warehouse to solve the console problem for me. Don't bother asking,
> Moss has no more.
> Jim Stuart
> Reply to <>
> Jim Stuart
> Reply to <>

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