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Dash & Steering Column

During the build one of the the main focal points that I intend to spend a lot of time with is the interior.  No offence to other builders out there, but the dead giveaway that shows the car is a "Fake" is the interior.  I can not fathom using Fiero switches. Or something from Radio shack.  I have seen some beautiful interiors done but it total screwed because of some crazy switches that look like they came out of a cereal box. Even if I have to go a get some switches from another vehicle there is no way I will reuse switches and control panels from the Fiero.  This same mindset is for the dash.  After painful research I wanted to have a VERY authentic dash including the proper Idiot lights and indicators.  I finally took a trip to the closest Lamborghini dealer and with their permission, I took some very close up shots of the finer details that some many other builders seem to over look.  I have below, some images that I took of the dash including the Idiot lights.  Hope this helps others.  For a larger view just click the image. (They are about 500K so be forewarned if you have a slow connection)  If anyone needs larger images I have some others however these are the best of the pick.  I plan on making a light bar similar to JC's kit using Dale's printing techniques.  I'll keep you posted as I continue...
I test fitted the dash for the first time and I found that the sides were too long by about 1 1/2" I t may not be noticeable to you, however compared to the original there is a much bigger gap between the dash and the side of the door jam. I am going to originality so I decided to shorten the dash .
As I took these pictures I also did not like the Fiero steering column.  Again it is a dead giveaway that it is a kit car when you see that old column almost 15 years old. This is simply not One word here... YUCK!  There has to be an easy solution
Ok here is a nice little secret after having this column from my Riviera engine swap I had the column added to the engine I bought because I needed the ignition key for the Antitheft system the 3800 engine had.  I laid out the Fiero and the 98 Riviera column side by side and there are almost identical except the Riviera was a little longer.  I simply cut the column down and remade the mounting points so the column was about the same length as the original Lamborghini. This is the new column mounted it looks so NEW! and non-Fiero. I got out my Helms manuals and matched up the wires from the old column to the new one and everything worked including the Antitheft key lock from the Riviera.  I did however have to buy a Riviera wiper motor because it used different signals and was a little different that the Fiero so rather than banging my head against the wall I got a $40 motor from a salvage yard and looks almost the same the the Fiero and works great.  For your information all Riviera from 1995 to 1999 use the same setup and you can get a column from MANY salvage yards for between $150 to $200 with a key and if you don't have the key as long as you have the VIN you can get one made from a GM Dealer.  I paid more for two stupid Widow switches and look how much nicer the Riviera column!
I even got the Shroud from the Riviera. at no extra charge and the Steering wheel. The Wheel pictured here is actually a Saab and looks almost identical to the original and is black leather. I am still considering using the Riviera wheel because it looks similar to the Saab, but it is not black and not leather so I will have to get it re-covered. the Saab looks great and got it from Ebay for $25 I will finish the Shroud with a Leather boot and will look like the original. I may consider getting a rubber boot however it is too early to finish this part
  I cut the end off the dash and the fiber glassed a new lip. I will use what I cut off as the cover plate that the originals have.
I shortened  and moved the side steel to hold up the dash as this is where I will mount the fuse box and the Air vent.  I have actually removed the angle iron that you see here since this picture was taken.  I planned on mounting the fuse box to it however I found a better fit and access from the side by mounting it directly to the 1 X 2 that the column support is welded to. Here is another shot.
Well after a long break from moving, I decided to scrub the pre-2000 dash and steering column and go with a 1999 style dash and use an original steering column and steering wheel. I think I spent close to 4 months researching the original column until I found a European model car not sold in the US to supply the main parts of the column supports.  I imported the parts and ordered a real steering wheel and air bag and turn signals from Lamborghini.  The final assembled column looks and functions exactly like the original and it uses the SAME real Key to open the doors as it does to turn the ignition! I hope to make a mold of the air bag for other builders who don't want to spend $2000 on a functional one.
One of the thing I had to do to correctly position the column was to "install" the dash to get the proper depth and height of the column.  Using D&R's 2000 dash it was very evident at this point that the dash was made to fit a Fiero/GM column and is somewhat elongated about 6 inches longer than the original.  Well for me that did not look right, since I am spending more and more time around the real cars and tons of parts.  The reason for this elongation is because there is not enough room behind the dash to fit all the original steering supports and wires and then be able to fit the gauges.  It was clear that I had to cut out all the old Fiero supports and custom make a new steering support to be able to cut the dash 6 inches back to match the original design.


Here is the old cross-member removed and the beginning of a heavy duty replacement.  The Lamborghini column does NOT have a "Tilt" like most US cars, but rather the whole column moves in and out and Up and down.  There is two mounting points this is a picture of the rear mounting points and the support.
After about pondering for about an hour, I decided to get rid of all the old Fiero wiring and replace it all with a new Painless Wiring system.  It was a no-brainer because the whole engine was on a separate system and I was not keeping any of the old Fiero accessories and the shear amount of wiring under the dash was ridiculous.  and it makes for a cleaner work area.  for now the wires are pushed aside but I plan on cutting them out when the new harness arrives. You can see how the rear part of the column support attaches.
Before I started adding the new steel, I also decided it would be a good time to mount the "gas" pedal.  Since I am using an electronic throttle system I had unlimited options on where and how to mount the pedal.  I figured that this in reality was going to be the "last" big give-away to a real Diablo owner that it was not a "real car" so I got out my pictures and measurements and took a piece to 1/4" stainless steel,  cut, welded, polished  and mounted the pedal in such a way that is looks and feels exactly like an original.  Pretty sweet huh?!  

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