Radio Restoration For 1964-1966 Chevy Trucks

Brothers Trucks’ 1964-1966 Dash Patch

By Rob Fortier –  Photography by the Author

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It won’t be long before the word “radio” will have no relevance whatsoever with late-model trucks—if that’s not already the case. But when it comes to the classics we deal with—at least those manufactured from the late ’40s on up—it’s almost uncommon not to find one with a factory radio … or at least the carnage of what was once accommodations for a radio in the dash!

Old-butchered-radio-1966-chevy-truck
We’ve all seen worse, there’s no question, but since this truck is to receive a factory-stock radio, the oversized display hole just won’t cut it … no pun intended. Fortunately, once the lower radio area is cut out, Brothers’ 1964-1966 dash face repair panel will properly accommodate, as you’re about to see.

It’s the last statement that many of us find ourselves dealing with—that being a dash butchered up at some point or another in an effort to fit an aftermarket radio—and oftentimes in a not-so-pleasant manner if the end result is to ultimately put a stock radio back in service.

Watch: Installing a 350 crate engine in a 1979 Chevy C10

brothers-radio-patch-004-rotated
First, to gain full access to the back side of the dash panel, the heater controls and ashtray need to be removed. Notice too that we’ve covered the inside of the windshield with masking paper to prevent any damage caused by flying sparks/weld slag.
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While the majority of early radios ranged dramatically in size up through the ’50s, most standard two knob radios found in trucks manufactured in the ’60s through the ’80s all had basically the same size fascia features, which meant (most standard) aftermarket radios were direct bolt-ins. Factor in the fancy media options, such as 8-track and cassette tape features, and the size ranges were anything but common.

brothers-radio-patch-005-rotated
Since we’re only going to be patching the lower radio section, we’ll start by eliminating the upper portion, as shown (oversize for the area that will ultimately be replaced).

And making things worse, by 1984, Germany came up with the DIN (Deutsches Institut fϋr Normung) size radio, which literally changed the face of car audio for the next couple decades. Now, what does all of that have to do with classic trucks? Simple: Chances are someone at some point has attempted to install one of said aftermarket radios and, in the process, made a mess of your dash.

Check Out: Analog-Digital Instrument System for 1967-1972 Chevrolet C10s

brothers-radio-patch-006-rotated
Since we’re only going to be patching the lower radio section, we’ll start by eliminating the upper portion, as shown (oversize for the area that will ultimately be replaced).

If your goal is to remedy that metal massacre, Brothers Trucks has the answer—and it’s not as painstaking or time-consuming as you might think. For the 1964-1966 Chevy C10s in particular (available for all early C10s), they offer an OE-exact full (top to bottom) center dash patch panel that can be used in its entirety, or, as we’re about to show you, just the lower radio portion to repair and replace a stock radio.

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Here’s the somewhat-tricky part: We’re going to retain the OE inner dash brace (in order to retain the shape and structure of the dash), so we need to eliminate the brace spot welded into the dash face repair panel … without damaging the exterior of the replacement panel.
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What you’ll need to accomplish this classic car radio retrofit task: basic metalworking and welding tools/skills … and of course, the affordable dash face repair panel from Brothers Trucks!

brothers-radio-patch-008-rotated
Here’s the somewhat-tricky part: We’re going to retain the OE inner dash brace (in order to retain the shape and structure of the dash), so we need to eliminate the brace spot welded into the dash face repair panel … without damaging the exterior of the replacement panel.
brothers-radio-patch-009-rotated
Carefully drill out the spot welds and then carefully pry the brace off, as so.
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Next, we mocked up the patch panel and then trimmed it down to better fit between the right and left sides of the dash, as well as to give us the best surface area in which to weld.
brothers-radio-patch-011-rotated
Next, we mocked up the patch panel and then trimmed it down to better fit between the right and left sides of the dash, as well as to give us the best surface area in which to weld.
brothers-radio-patch-012-2
Once cut to the desired size, the panel was set in place and its outer perimeter scribed to the dash to reference the area to be cut out.
brothers-radio-patch-013-rotated
With a thin-bladed cutoff wheel, the stock radio portion was carefully cut out of the dash—paying extra attention to the lowermost edge to only cut through the outer portion of the dash, leaving the inner brace completely intact.
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With a thin-bladed cutoff wheel, the stock radio portion was carefully cut out of the dash—paying extra attention to the lowermost edge to only cut through the outer portion of the dash, leaving the inner brace completely intact.
brothers-radio-patch-015-rotated
The factory spot welds were drilled through in order to remove the old portion of the dash—like so.
dash-panel-bracket-bare-Chevy-C10
Keeping the inner brace intact, as such, not only retains the dash’s shape and integrity, it also aids in installing the new panel.
brothers-radio-patch-016-rotated
The factory spot welds were drilled through in order to remove the old portion of the dash—like so.
brothers-radio-patch-018-rotated
The freshly trimmed edges got a quick once-over to remove any paint/primer in preparation for welding the new panel in.
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The repair panel was double-checked for fitment and consistent weld gap—having the original inner brace to use as a guide definitely helps.
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It also helps when it comes time to set the panel in place for welding—we used masking tape and butt-weld clamps to get the piece positioned perfectly.
Radio-patch-panel-Chevy-C10-Brothers-Truck
It also helps when it comes time to set the panel in place for welding—we used masking tape and butt-weld clamps to get the piece positioned perfectly.
Weld-radio-patch-panel-install-brothers-truck-Chevy-GM
We first tack-welded the repair panel in with a MIG to minimize warpage before fully welding it in place.
Grinding-off-finish-of-patch-panel-Chevy-C10
All welds were taken down (at the bead) with the grinder before a quick hammer-and-dolly session with the seam to fully flatten out our playing field. (Since the dash as a whole will require some minor bodywork before paint, the weld area was not completely metal finished.)
Radio-patch-panel-bending-lower-section-install
All welds were taken down (at the bead) with the grinder before a quick hammer-and-dolly session with the seam to fully flatten out our playing field. (Since the dash as a whole will require some minor bodywork before paint, the weld area was not completely metal finished.)
brothers-radio-patch-025-rotated
Next, the lower edge of the repair panel was drilled for the attaching spot welds to the remaining inner brace (which had been fully cleaned up prior).
brothers-radio-patch-026-rotated
Next, the lower edge of the repair panel was drilled for the attaching spot welds to the remaining inner brace (which had been fully cleaned up prior).
reinstalling-dash-components-1966-Chevy-C10s
Now all that’s left is to reinstall the heater controls and ashtray …
Final-installation-of-patch-panel-brothers-trucks-1966-C10
… and she’s good for a new-old radio, just like she used to be!

Brothers Trucks
(800) 977-2767
brotherstrucks.com

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