The console is a focal point of any 63 to 67 Corvette interior. It houses the shifter and separates the seats. After 30+ years, it starts to show its age. The satin aluminum trim gets worn. The black painted surfaces becomes scratched and the shifter boot always seems to get a tear in it. Any of these problems can turn an otherwise nice interior into a shabby one. The remedy is simple. A console makeover. Everything you need is readily available from Zip Products and the entire project can be done in one afternoon. Our Project 64’s console had started to show its age so a makeover was in order. Follow along as we convert our console from an eyesore to eye appeal.
LEFT: Zip Corvette supplied these items for the repair: Console trim, 4-speed boot and retainer, ashtray receptacle, lid and guides, console mounting screws and mount brackets and the center console bezels. You will also need some Semi-Gloss Black Spray Paint, 3M 08984 Adhesive Cleaner, 1/4” and 3/4” masking tape, chrome polish, fine scuff pad, tack rag and some ordinary hand tools.
LEFT: Start by disconnecting the battery. You will have the doors open for some time and you do not want a dead battery. Remove your Corvette’s shift ball, T-handle and rod.
ABOVE: The console radio access side panels can now be removed.
ABOVE: Remove the console retaining screws and then lift up the console plate while sliding it back out. It helps to put the shifter into 4th gear or pull the automatic shifter down into low.
LEFT: The shift boot and shift boot retainer can now be removed. With this removed, you can now polish the shift lever.
ABOVE: Turn the console plate over and remove the ashtray lid handle. You can now slide the lid out and then remove the old nylon guides.
ABOVE: Use a flexible wide bladed putty knife to remove your Corvette’s shift pattern indicator plate.
ABOVE: Now take the new aluminum shifter and ashtray trim plate and check its fit. You want to make sure that it will fit correctly in its opening and around the shift lever and ashtray opening. You can also decide on how you will install it. Some restorers will glue the new trim panel directly on top of the old plate (if the old plate is securely affixed to the console top plate). Others will remove the old trim and glue the new trim plate directly onto the console plate. The choice is up to you. I prefer to remove the old plate, but you do have to make sure that the new plate will fit in and around all of the raised areas.
LEFT: Use 3M #08984 General Purpose Adhesive Cleaner to clean all of the old glue residue off the console plate. The cleaner the better.
ABOVE: You should now polish all of the exposed chrome with a good chrome polish. I prefer The Wax Shop’s Metal Polish. It is easy to use and does an excellent job.
LEFT: After all of the chrome is polished, take the 1/4” and 3/4” masking tape and carefully tape off all the exposed chrome surfaces. Remember to tape off the areas where you will be gluing the new trim panels.
LEFT: Now that you have only the black painted surface exposed, take some 3M Adhesive Cleaner and wipe all these areas clean. After this is done use a fine scuff pad and scuff the painted surface. The reason you do not strip off the old finish is because you can use this as a base coat. If it is still on after 30 years, it will make an excellent base coat. Now take the adhesive cleaner and wipe down the surface again two or three times. When this is done, take a tack rag and wipe off any lint so that you have a good clean surface.
LEFT: Now use some Semi-Gloss Black Paint and spray two to four light to medium coats over the surface. Remember two to four light to medium coats are better than one heavy coat with runs.
ABOVE: You can now start to reassemble your Corvette’s center console plate. Remove the paper on the back of the trim plate and carefully press it into place. Do the same for the shift indicator. Remember, do not remove the protective clear cover on the exposed side. This will protect the finish from getting scratched while you are doing your re-assembly.
ABOVE: Turn the plate over and install the new ashtray lid guides. Use a pair of needle nose pliers to snap the guides into place.
LEFT: Slide the lid into the guides and install the new handle. Check to make sure the lid slides as it should.
ABOVE: Re-install the shift boot and shift boot retainer boot and screws. Here you can see the upper and lower retaining plate. The lower plate is riveted to the underside of the body. Ours
was in good shape so we did not need to replace it, but if yours is damaged, Zip Corvette can supply it and the correct rivets.
ABOVE: Before you re-install the console plate, make sure all of the mounting brackets are in place. There is one at the rear and one on each side at the front. These are also riveted to the body. Here you can see a sample of both along with the rivets. Ours were in good shape but if yours are missing, they are readily available.
ABOVE: Make sure the console side trim U-nuts are in place. There are two on each side. Without them, the screws will not hold.
ABOVE: Slide the Corvette center console plate back into place. Now re-install the console radio side trim panels and install and tighten all of the mounting screws.
ABOVE: Re-assemble the shift lever. Remember to install the T-handle nylon bushing. This will keep the T-handle from vibrating and making noise. You can now re-connect your battery.
ABOVE: Now that everything is in place and secured, remove the clear protective covering on the shift indicator plate and console trim. Your console is now ready for another 30 years and has gone from an eyesore to an eye catcher.
1964-1967 Corvette Shifter Console Restoration
Source: Zip Corvette Parts 8067 Fast Lane | Mechanicsville, VA 23111 | (800) 962-9632
The Author would like to thank Scot Coral of Greg Donahue Collector Car Restorations, Inc. for his assistance with this article.