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Interior restoration?



Need help, tips and any information on the restoration of the plastic parts for the interior of a 59 Corvette. My side panels, gauge housings, console, etc. have faded and I need to restore them, but I am not sure about what products to use. Any help or advice would be appreciated.
interior paint


Don't think you are being ignored. I have been working some long hours this weekend. I have paint codes for interior low gloss paints somewhere. Hopefully I can look them up when I get home today. The guage housing is die cast zinc alloy (pot metal). All of these parts were painted with laquer with a little flattener in it.. What color do you need?

Thanks for the reply Tom. All my interior components are black, but they look faded out. I'm not sure about what kind of prep work needs to be done before painting the parts. I have been reading some articles that suggest using a plastic primer or a flexible plastic primer. Are you familiar with these products? I plan to start the restoration this winter, but want to gather some info. before I dive into the project.

Also, how tough is it to get the dash gauge housing out?


interior color


First, thanks for the suggestion Ken. If these parts were black plastic it would work great. The instrument cluster is die cast and the other parts are fiberglass primed and painted with black laquer automotive paint.


Grab a pen and paper. I talk fast. :D (Ken likes that) '59s were painted with acrylic laquer on the body, inside and out, but the interior trim pieces were painted with regular laquer. In other words the stuff that was available before acrylic laquer. I don't know why they would use a different product but it appears that they did through '60.

For '59 interior black the specs call for regular laquer with a flattening compound added. The old numbers are:

Du Pont "Duco" 44 with Du Pont "Duco" 4528 laquer flattening compound added as needed.

If you really needed these, there are some specialty paint conpanys that could supply an equivalent. Fortunately you don't. If the enviromentalist Nazis haven't marched through Kentucky yet you should be able to buy Du Pont 99S Acrylic Laquer at your Du Pont automotive paint store. They will have an appropriate flattener too. It will look just like the original when applied, just more durable. No flex agents are needed as these parts don't flex that much if any.

I would use a medium thinner and follow the directions on the cans for the right amount of flattener and thinner. A small touch up gun would work fine for this. If you can't get laquer I would use a catylized enamel such as Du Pont "Centari" again with the recommended flattening compound added. If you have to use this stuff It would be smart to have a body shop spray it for you. This kind of paint is nasty and likes to stick to lung tissue. Very toxic also. Also sticks to everything in the garage that isn't covered up. Laquer overspray just makes dust.

The finished product looks like it needs rubbed out to be shiney but that is the correct low gloss finish. If that is what you have now maybe you don't need to paint these parts unless they are scratched or chipped. Also the fiberglass parts are press moulded and have a texture to them. They are not perfectly smooth and you want to keep them that way. If someone were to take the time to make these parts perfect they would be ruined for restoration purposes.

To prep them remove the metal trim and wash them down with Prep Sol or equivalent pre paint cleaner according to directions. You need all wax, silicone, Armor All ect. off of the part before you sand it. Lightly sand or scuff it so as not to remove the surface texture and prime them. You may have to fill scratches with a glazing putty if they aren't real deep. Then paint. Do not rub out or color sand these parts. They should be left as sprayed. Another point for having a body shop do the spraying if you aren't experienced.

As far as removing the guage cluster all I can say is I hope you are good at standing on your head and have small hands. I took mine out in '71 to have the tach fixed. The bandages come off next Tuesday.

I would like to know more about your '59 Dale. Like engine/trans, options, how long you have had it, date built, (if you don't know I can figure it if I have the last 6 digits of your ser #). There were also several differences between early '59s and the rest. I would be glad to help in any way I can.

Thanks Tom, for all the tips on the interior restoration. I'm glad this site has such a knowledgable person to answer questions for us.

As for the car, it is currently black with silver coves. It has a hardtop and a white soft top(looks better with the top down).
The drivetrain isn't original. It has an early 327(63-65) possibly out of a corvette with a muncie 4-speed. It still has the generator with tach drive. I purchased the car out of Atlanta, GA about 4 months ago. I am still learning about the car and overall everything is in good shape except for the interior and a new paint job. The VIN # is: J59S101390. Any info. you might be able to provide would be appreciated.


Your Corvette's birthday


Congtarulations. You also have a November '58 Corvette. Yours rolled off the line on November 15th . Probably the last car before lunch if the line ran without problems all day. Mine, #881 rolled off on November 7th mid afternoon.

The carpet in you car should be the Daytona Weave, the expensive stuff. The later pile carpet is just fine if you won't be going for a Top Flight restoration. I plan on building a 355 for my car to make it more drivable on long distance runs. What I'm saying is that if you like your 327 and want to use your car more for driving than NCRS shows, run it like it is. But of course, fix up the interior, paint ect.
Just for fun we can try to figure out the original engine. What is your tach redline? We'll start there.

Tom, thanks for the info. I appreciate any additional info. that you can come up with. I am not going for the top flight corvette, just a nice quality cruiser. I really like the drivetrain combo and want to keep it in the car after some restoration, paint, etc. I will check the redline tomorrow and get back with you.

How accurate are the factory gauges and do you have any suggestions for keeping the corvette running cool?

Tom, the redline on the vette appears to be 6500. Let me know if you need any additional info. and I will try to come up with it.
high tach


With the high redline tach it would be either a 270 dual 4 bbl or the 290 FI engine assuming that the tach is the original. The easiest way to tell is check for the FI air cleaner hose inlet. On the passenger side of the radiator support is a fitting for the heater fresh air intake hose. On the driver side is a nearly identicle fitting. This is for the FI air cleaner intake hose. If your car was a 270 there will be a plate covering this hole held on by screws. If it was a FI the plate will be removed and probably will have a screen over it like the right side..

I would think that if it had been a FI it would be unlikely that anyone would search out this cover plate when they removed the injector. There are other ways to tell also but this is quick and easy.

Tom, the vette does have the inlet on the drivers side with the screen.

I read your post and my heart srarted thumping

If that opening has the screen on it there must have been a Fuel Injection air cleaner there at one time. Check on the drivers side hood opening lip and the inner skirt right under it. There would have been a bracket riveted to this area ddirectly in line with your carb for the air cleaner to bolt to. Also a couple 18" long straps to hold the flexible tube to the screened hole were mounted to the same area between the air cleaner and the radiator support. Look for evidence of the parts or holes where they were. A carbeurated car will not have any holes along the hood opening or top of the skirt except for the hood prop.

It looks like you may have an original Fuely. If you have the interior kick panels off look for evidence of the FI nameplate holes on the inside of the fender above the cove and just in front of the door.This is exciting. Good luck.

Tom, I made a big mistake when I said the car had the screen...it doesn't have it. It has the plate over the hole instead. Not sure what I was thinking when I said it had the screen. I simply glanced at it as I pulled into the garage and I thought it had the screen. No such luck. Sorry, about the wrong info. I hope your heart can take it. So, I guess this means I have the other engine instead? Regardless, I still love to drive this car.
No problem

Well. it looks like your car originally had a 270 hp engine like mine. Nothing wrong with that. Our cars are close to being alike. Mine was all black (naked now), 270hp close ratio 4 speed, positraction, soft top only, and the courtesy lamp. No other options. No radio or visors.

Out of the 9670 '59s built only 1846 were 270 hp, RPO469.


My vette has the visors and an aftermarket stereo in it. I think it may have been turquoise at one time. Not sure if that is the original color though. Is there any way to tell?

No way to tell by the numbers. There wasn't any type of trim tag on these. You will have to do some detective work. Look in areas that might not have been painted like behind a moulding or wheatherstrip that would have been hard to remove. Many find their original color when they remove their windshield during restoration. I would think that if you look in enough obscure places there would be a trace of color someplace.

My car was all black including the cove. It was then completely repainted red. Then white, dark blue, dark green and yellow when I got it. All in the 1st 10 years. No wonder it sagged on the springs. I bought it in August of '69 when I was between Viet Nam and Germany. What an education I got when I stripped this car in '71. It's been bare since. :eyerole I tell people I'm letting the fiberglass repairs cure. :L


btw Click on the www icon below to see my masterpiece. It was just moved to the new shop. That's what Ive been working on for the last year.
The shop is much farther along than in the pics and I need to update the site.
Look for overspray when you remove your kick panels, door panels and under the dash when you're standing on your head removing you gauge cluster. Label all of your wires with tape as you disconnect them. You might want to consider replacing your haness with a new one if the wires dont have any give. Just take your time. Welcome to the straight axle club too.
Hi 60,

Long time no see. Good suggestioins on looking for old colors.


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