Um, if it's too light for your liking, stain it!
Start with something light - Minwax Ipswitch Pine looks great on maple
in my Herald. Err on the side of yellow - every replacement dash I've
ever seen except mine :> is too brown.
Give it a couple days to air our, then apply 6 coats of water-based
polyurethane, with a satin finish, such as Benjamin Moore "Stays Clear"
in the Low Lustre flavour. Use foam brushes. The water-based stuff won't
yellow or crack like standard polyurethane. Hand sand after coat 3
dries, with 150 grit paper. It's going to take 3 coats to seal the
grain. Allow at least half an hour between the first 3 coats, and an
hour for coat 3 to dry before sanding.
Hand sand again after coat 5 dries, with a very fine grit paper. Give
coats 4 and 5 an hour each to dry.
After coat 6, wait 24 hours before you put it in the car, to let the
finish fully harden.
If you choose standard polyurethane, recognize that it will add a yellow
hue to the finish. Also, change all references to 'hours' to 'days'.