There's no doubt about it, anyone that owns a classic truck will tell you they enjoy the nostalgic feeling they get when they drive it. It might be said an old truck's ability to make one feel young again works better than any vitamin or anti-aging cream on the market-unless, of course, it also brings back some unpleasant memories. I love my '68 GMC, but the dashboard reminds me of when I was a flat-broke 16-year-old kid driving a beat-up old heap with nothing in front of me that worked. Not only was it a drag not being aware of how things were going under the hood engine wise, but not having a speedometer made me paranoid every time I saw a cop.
Beyond a desire to have everything working on the Jimmy's dashboard I wanted to make the truck look better and offer more options than it came equipped with brand-new. All it took was a visit to the pages of LMC Truck's catalog for '67-72 Chevy and GMC trucks and I located 98 percent of what was needed to do the job. I also looked to Mothers for detailing products needed to carry out restoration processes and Eastwood for paint supplies.
Here's what we had to work...
Here's what we had to work with; a gauge cluster packed full of instruments that didn't work and one of the weirdest factory color combinations imaginable. LMC Truck's Color Bond made an easy job out of handling the color change, and installing LMC Truck's complete dash cluster meant new gauges without having to address sending unit modifications.
On a personal level, I admit I kind of liked the strange contrast GMC created by using red and green, which are complementary colors, to decorate the interior of the cab but I was after a sexy '60's high-performance look.
The easiest way to do work behind a dashboard is to get everything out of the way, and gain direct access. The original glovebox was in tatters and came out with an easy tug to tear it out, but installing the new reproduction glovebox from LMC Truck required finesse, and a little bit of good timing. By timing I mean it was best to handle installing the new AM/FM stereo and dual-cone speaker before stuffing the new glovebox in. This was also a good time to remove a rat's nest of unnecessary wiring present.
The decision to scrap the original GMC cluster was a good one. Installing LMC Truck's new dash cluster returned complete functionality to the GMC's dashboard and added a factory-style tachometer in the process. I was lucky because there are other things that will prevent gauges from working. For example, a broken speedometer can be caused by a bad speedometer cable or drive gear. Because early C10s use a mechanical oil pressure gauge there's no sending unit to go bad. The problem is going to be either a broken or disconnected feed line or a bad gauge. A faulty sending unit, a broken gauge, or a disconnected wire can cause a coolant temp gauge failure.
The best way to upgrade the sound system in a classic truck is forgo destroying the original looks of the dashboard by cutting the sheetmetal and opt for a shaft-mount style unit that slips right in the existing hole. I went for LMC Truck's dual-cone speaker because I wanted stereo separation, but I didn't want to draw any extra attention to the truck by installing visible stereo speakers in the kick panels. It must be added that the sound quality isn't quite as good with a single speaker in the center of the dash. The finishing touch that really turned up the nostalgia was installing LMC Truck's beautifully chromed glovebox door. Chroming the glovebox door was a trick us California customizers used to do back in the '60's that made it a lot easier for our girlfriends to check their makeup.
The first step was to disconnect...
The first step was to disconnect the battery, eliminating any chance of grounding a stray hot wire while working under the dashboard.
It's a bad idea to use harsh...
It's a bad idea to use harsh detergents around interior plastics. Instead we used a heavy concentration of Mother's California Gold car wash to cut through 40-plus years of grit and grime. Compressed air works best for drying things out and begins the process for color-changing the interior with Color Bond.
Removing the glovebox allows...
Removing the glovebox allows the best access when replacing the radio and speaker. Note the glovebox hinge serves as a clamp to retain the box's bottom.