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Doodle's Dash

Pete Willmin's progress report

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I've always loved old aircraft cockpits and the dashboards of old vintage racing cars. Seldom decorative but always possessing a strange beauty.

When I began building Doodle it soon became clear what it was about Pembletons that drew me to them rather than other three-wheeled kit cars. With a Pembleton you can scratch-build, you can play. Whilst thinking about the dash, I realised that I could do pretty much anything I wanted to. And what I wanted to do was try to capture the old cockpit/racing car dashboard spirit. It's not finished yet but almost. I think it's not half bad! I hope you might like it too.

The two dials I found on eBay. I've had the bezels de-chromed by a chroming company to get back to the brass base metal. The speedo will soon go off to Speedy Cables for stripping down and recalibrating.

The lights are the standard 2CV lights and the toggle switches purchased from Auto Electric Supplies Ltd.

The plates holding the lights and switches are zinc letterpress printing plates. I made artwork in Illustrator for each of the panels using VAG as the typeface and full stops for the centres of any holes that would be drilled out later. The artwork was made as white lettering on black shapes and the plate-maker instructed to make the lettering 'right-reading' on the plate. This results in a printing plate with a flat surface with lettering etched into it. Drilling out bolt holes or holes for the lights and switched was made easy with the full-stops providing centres for the drill bit. Once each panel was fretted out and the edges smoothed, it was held over a gentle heat and black or red sealing wax rubbed into the lettering.

The engine will be started with the button marked 'Left', this is a start button from an old AOP9 Auster, another eBay find.

The gear lever is from an old piece of signalling equipment bought many years ago from the Permanent Way railway shop in London.

The clock I'm not too happy about yet, it looks too 'plastic' but it will do for now. The handbrake too will change. I've got the handle from an old Pyrene fire extinguisher that I will adapt as soon as I can figure out how the ratchet button might work.

The radio stack is also from eBay (where would we be without eBay?!) and will be wired in to the start sequence somehow or another as an anti-theft device. It's just sitting there at the moment but will be fitted into a panel soon.

The steering wheel is a single spoke Dyane wheel that will be cord bound and have an anti-theft lock – more on that later!

I think that about covers it for the time being. Hopefully the dash will all be finished in time for a photo or two in ePAG33.

Hope you like it!

Pete Willmin


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