Custom Dashboard Cadillac Gauge Instrument Cluster

Since the new gauge cluster is deeper and wider than the original, the dash need to be heavily modified.  In addition, I wanted to shade the gauges to reduce glare when driving with the top off.  Here's how the old dashboard was replaced with the new.
Original FJ40 Dashboard 

The original dashboard is definitely classic so I want to keep the feel of the original dash but make it slightly more modern. Since I'll be upgrading to a Chevy 5.3 V8 I figured I might as well make use of the sensors it has and incorporate a GM gauge cluster.  I chose an Escalade cluster.

To start, I drilled out each of the spot welds across the top of the factory dash panel.  Then cut the welds on each of the door jambs, removed the electrical connections (and choke, vent etc) and pulled the panel.
Original dash removed
Upper and Lower Dashboard Frame 

Using the new 6 point roll cage I started with 1.5" upper and lower tubes to be skinned with sheet metal.  The "horseshoe" shaped piece will fit the steering column from an '89 Pontiac Firebird.


I started with a 1" tube and framed out the "hood" to shade the gauges.  Then the inside was skinned with 16 gauge sheet metal.
Gauge cluster hood

After bolting in the gauge cluster, I made a paper template of the inner metal face and tacked it all together.

Just for fun, I tested the steering column out.

Firebird Steering Column in FJ40 
Outer gauge hood sheet metal skin 

The other skin wraps the driver's side A pillar hoop and bolts to the door jamb.

Here it is fully welded and ground.
Large Dash Panel with Glovebox 

Here's a really junky picture of the other half of the dash...Lucky for me, we've got a bead roller and a pneumatic press brake. To keep the classic look, I'll reuse the glove box door.

I'm real happy with the way that turned out.  It's attached at the top and bottom with 1/4" allen head screws
Completed new Dashboard