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Restoring the dash and arm rests on the 911/912 models

By Jim McGowan

American enthusiasts have always considered the Porsche the premier European autobahn cruiser. Far more affordable than a Ferrari or Lamborghini, the Porsche refinements of the Sixties models made them the sporty car of choice for performance import car enthusiast. The 911, 912, 914, 928, 924 and 944 models from 1968 through 1986 were equipped with a vinyl covered dash and arm rest pads, and like most vinyl parts, they deteriorate with time. The Targa model shown here was no exception. Top off cruising and the heat of the California sun, dried and cracked the original dash pad, while the arm rests suffered from daily use. The foam used in manufacturing padded dashboards is comprised of thousands of small air pockets, which expand and contract with the temperature. Eventually the vinyl will crack from this constant stretching and contracting. This holds true for any padded dash, no matter what make or model.

Once the vinyl is cracked there is no way to correctly repair it without changing the vinyl skin. Just Dashes is famous for restoring vinyl interior parts in American cars and trucks, but they can also repair almost any import vinyl interior as well. The owner removed the original dash pad and arm rests from this daily cruiser and brought them to Just Dashes for restoration. Most Porsche models received Sierra grain vinyl at the factory, but the 924 and 944 models were fitted with Coachman grain. The example shown here came stock with Sierra grain vinyl. Just Dashes will restore your Porsche, or other import pad or parts, to concours quality using their hand preparation and Thermo Vacuum Forming process, and return the items to you via UPS. Color matching or color changing is never a problem, simply send a color sample with your parts. Here’s how we do it.

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Even the most high-end sports cars show their age. This Sixties Porsche is no exception. The California sun and normal wear and tear have taken their toll on the interior of this car. The owner, who wants to keep the car pristine, opted for a Just Dashes restoration.

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The dash pad and armrests were removed from the vehicle and delivered to Just Dashes. After a close inspection, the restoration procedure was established, and the parts put into the work schedule. Every part is examined to determine what it will take to do the repair work and then assigned to a craftsman who specializes in that area.

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After stripping off all the old vinyl and exploded foam a new layer of high-density closed-cell foam is applied to the dash frame. It is then hand sanded and shaped exactly as the original. Restoration work like this is labor intensive but the end product is exceptional.

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Here we see the detail work put into creating all the original factory contours and shapes. The speaker grille must be sent with the pad to ensure a perfect fit after the new foam and vinyl is applied.

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The hand finished pad in installed in the Thermo Vacuum Forming machine to be covered in a new skin of Seville grain vinyl. All areas of the item must be supported from underneath in order to prevent the vacuum pressure from bending the pad.

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The new vinyl has now been sucked down over the foam and the piece is being removed from the machine. It will now go the hand-finishing department to have the edges rolled and glued in place. After that step, it goes to quality control for a minute inspection before color is applied.

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Here’s the completed pad and arm rests prior to shipping back to the owner. This interior was black from the factory so no color needed to be added. Just Dashes can match any factory original color or change the color to your specifications and color sample. Inquire about custom color changes.

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