The console area is a focal point in any Corvette interior. Any time you have to shift gears or use the heater or air conditioner, you are drawn to this area. If this area in the Corvette does not look good, it will make the rest of the interior look below par. Restoring the 1968-1976 Corvette console is a fairly easy task. The whole shifter console top plate can be removed as one unit without any special tools. The restoration process is very straight forward and all of the console items that you need are available from Zip Corvette Parts. The console in our 73 Corvette had seen better days so we decided it was a prime candidate for restoration. The whole process took less than 6 hours from start to finish and the results speak for themselves. Now let’s get started and give that worn console a brand new look.
Click on the images for expanded views – it’s much easier on the eyes.
01: Here are all of the items we received from Zip Corvette Parts to restore our 73 console: Woodgrain trim panel, mounting screws, automatic shift dial indicator, shift lever sliders, A/C-Heater control assembly, heater blower switch, ashtray cover, sliders, and receptacle and the console engine decal. You will also need some paint stripper, 1/4” and 1/8” masking tape, semi-gloss black paint, a scuff pad or 600 grit sandpaper, some common hand tools and a shop manual for your year Corvette.
02: Start by disconnecting the battery and removing your Corvette’s console top plate assembly from the car. The A/C-Heater controls will stay in the console. They are removed separately. It is a good idea to tag each light and connection as you remove them from the top plate assembly. This makes re-assembly much easier. With the top plate out of the car, remove the woodgrain trim.
03: Carefully remove the engine identification decal. Do not pry against the chrome lip around the decal. If you knick it, it will be noticeable when you are finished.
04: Turn the top plate over and remove the ashtray receptacle and socket, the ashtray lid and sliders and the shift dial socket and body assembly.
05: Carefully remove the ashtray lid stop. This will have to be re-used. Make a note where it is located because you will have to replace this in the same location when you re-assemble it.
06: Now remove the shifter indicator lense and backup. Also remove both shift lever sliders (if the Corvette is an automatic). The console should now be totally disassembled.
07: Use a quality paint stripper and remove all of the black paint and glue from the console. If you are re-using your ashtray cover, you will also want to strip it.
08: The new ashtray cover and dial indicator lense backup need to be scuffed before being painted. You can use either a fine scuff pad or 600 grit sandpaper to do the job. Always sand in one direction. Do not crisscross your strokes.
09: Use 1/4” masking tape to cover the outer chrome edge of the console plate. Then use 1/8” masking tape to cover the chrome edge around the ashtray, A/C-Heater control, shifter, shift dial area and engine decal plate. When all of these areas are covered, use semi-gloss black paint and re-spray the whole console top plate. Use light, even, overlapping strokes. Remember to spray the ashtray cover and shift dial backup plate.
10: When the console top plate is dry, remove the tape and lay the console woodgrain trim in place with the adhesive back cover still in place. This will allow you to see how it fits. Make a few trial runs to see how to lay it in place. Once you lay the woodgrain trim in place with the adhesive exposed, you will not be able to re-adjust it. This is a one time shot so make sure you get it right the first time. Start at the wide end and work toward the narrow end. It works much easier this way.
11: Once the woodgrain trim is in place, use a bondo squeegee to press it into place. Make sure you get it to fit around each raised area on your Corvette’s shifter plate.
12: Turn the top plate over and start the re-assembly by installing the ashtray lid and new sliders. Remember to re-install the ashtray lid stop back in the original place. You may also want to put some white lithium grease on the area where the ashtray stop slides against the console plate. Now install the new shifter indicator lense, backup and retainer. This will now hold all of these items in place.
13: Install the two automatic shift lever sliders into place. Make sure you get the large sliders cut out facing in the right direction.
14: On the right is the new A/C-Heater control assembly that Zip provided. As you can see, there is a big difference between this new one and the old one that we removed.
15: We installed a new heater blower switch on our new A/C-Heater control assembly. The installation is very simple. Just two screws hold it into place. The A/C-Heater control panel can now be re-installed into the retaining plate that is in the car.
16: Now the engine decal can be put into place. Remove the protective backing, center it into its area, and press it into place.
17: Here is the console top plate ready for installation. We placed the A/C-Heater control in its opening so that you could see how the finished product looked. All that is needed now is to re-connect the lights, cables and switches. Screw the console plate into place, re-connect the battery and be proud of a job well done!
1968-1976 Shifter Console Restoration:
How to Restore Your Corvette’s Shifter Console
Source: Zip Corvette Parts
8067 Fast Lane | Mechanicsville, VA 23111 | (800) 962-9632
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