A confusing array of dash trim styles were incorporated into various models throughout the production life of the Mini. The first cars, most 850 models and the commercials had only a single round speedometer projecting from between the dash panels, while the Cooper spawned the oval binnacle incorporating two additional instruments in temperature and oil pressure gauges.This was slowly offered as standard or as an option across a larger portion of the standard saloon range, alongside the generally higher specification Clubman cars. The Clubmans were different again in that they benefitted from offset instruments and consequently featured different dash treatment; this design eventually replaced the iconic Smiths centre speedometer on production Minis altogether!
It is good to know that of the centre speedo Mini variants, the replacement process is much the same across all of the models produced. Here we replace a pair of speedo panels and renew the dash liner in an early Mk3 Mini 1000.
1- Replacing the dash supporting boards- if necessary!
Mk1 and Mk2 cars had a solid panelled dash tray built into the body of the car, on top of which the dash liner was simply laid, before the speedo/dash panels were fitted. If your car is a Mk3 vehicle or later, you will find that the dash liner (often a thin plasticised felt item) sits on top of a pair of supporting boards. We re-manufacture these in Leiston (Part No. DT3076) from automotive quality fibreboard- if you find they need to be replaced, they are a very simple to bend into shape (they are pre-creased) and simply drop into place.
2- Replacement dash tray liner supports have most of the necessary cut outs already pressed in- these boards often require replacement because of water ingress and warping. If additional equipment, ICE or similar instrumentation needs to be accomodated, it is quite simple to cut another slot in the board for the extra wires.
3- Dash tray liners are supplied backed in a non-permeable foam, bonded to your material of choice. These again are a very simple fit which simply lay in place. They do need to be dragged forward gently to sit under the lip of the dash rail, but, they locate where they locate and should be impossible to confuse. Once the speedo panels are fitted on top and either side, the liner will not move anywhere.
4- As before, the speedo panels fit very similarly irrespective of whether round or oval- this photo shows the panels' correct orientation.
5- The speedo panels are trickier to fit- they need to be eased into place, and the top lip which is very important for location, needs to be encouraged to flip under the dash top rail very gently. Be careful to spread the pressure evenly across the entire boards, when pushing into place, as they are a very tight fit and can otherwise split or crack under fitting.
6- The final finishing touch when re-fitting any speedo panels is to trim, and glue the edges flat to the body as shown above. If the edge looks a little unprofessional, don't worry because the door draught excluder section will cover the majority of the work here- the trimming does ensure though the the panels are held to the body with a little glue just to seal against the weathers along the A-pillar edge. A brushing contact adhesive will give the best and most permanent results.
So, Mini dash trim renewal isn't rocket science- but with modest outlay and only a little time, care and attention, a great new appearance can be achieved!