14. The absence of a foot-activated starter switch is a definite plus, not to mention a necessity with an automatic trans―but that doesn't distract from the original aesthetics of the 70-year-old dash. Thanks to Bowtie Bits, the original 1939 gauges are up to modern standards; a beveled switch bezel from SO-CAL Speed Shop helps blend the key switch in (a set of re-popped GM key blanks will get cut to match the current ones).
15. With the fuse panel on the driver's side of the seat pan, the charging system feed is easy to route. The harness is set up to accommodate standard SI and single-wire alternators (eliminate exciter terminal wiring for these).
16. There is a third option, though it's no different than a one-wire alternator in terms of wiring: Powermaster's PowerGen 70-amp alternator disguised as a Delco-Remy generator, which is just what this minimally accessorized 235-six needed.
17. Even though the Highway 15 can handle more than its share of power accessories and components (heat-A/C, wipers, radio, etc.), for now, just the four major component groups will be used. This next stage will focus on the lighting, starting with headlight switch and accompanying harness.
18. Bowtie Bits provided some needed preservation once again; this time with a reproduction headlight control knob that was press-fit on the new switch and uses another beveled SO-CAL bezel sandwiched between the jamb nut and the dash (later, the nut will get machined off, leaving just the threaded shank).
19. Odd as it may sound, the lighting will be the only active dedicated circuits until the other accessories, such as the turn signals (which require a slight harness modification that will get covered next month), are installed. When securing fuse panel connections, make sure 3/8-inch of bare (stripped) wire is inserted into each circuit cavity―and always use a flat screwdriver with a max .150-inch blade.
20. After the switch is installed and wired to the panel, there are still quite a few yards of wire to be run and almost as many connections to be made. Before wiring the headlights up, mount the dimmer first and run the power feed down from the headlight switch. The dimmer harness will supply power to your headlights, but there are a few different ways to do this depending on applications.
21. Even though the intent is to eventually facilitate turn signals (using a separate turn signal harness), the headlights were wired accordingly using the diagram for the open-wheeled vehicles with everything routed down the left frame rail. The signal wiring will simply splice into the running light feed (brown wire).
22. With the help from Chevs of the 40's and Juliano's, the stock '39 headlights retain their Deco styling and appearance, but illuminate and protect like a new vehicle thanks to a halogen conversion and LED signal/marker lights (another installment soon to follow).
23. Speaking of turn signals, unless you plan on using the popular ‘70s GM-based type steering column (orig or aftermarket), you'll need to improvise in order to accommodate the brake light function in the taillamps. The column harness will be used with the forthcoming signals, so just enough length of the brake feeds (green/yellow) was cut from the "tail" end.
24. The improvise is by bypassing the steering column harness and feeding the brake lights directly from the hydraulic switch on the master cylinder; the running or park lights feed as-intended from the headlight switch.
25. Running into "snags" isn't uncommon, especially when attempting to route wiring through a lengthy piece of enclosed frame rail. To help avoid that, not to mention skinned knuckles, try using one of those inexpensive spring-loaded extractors with the small metal claws to pull rather than push.
26. As with the headlights, the taillights (re-pops from Bowtie Bits) were wired in the same fashion with a single harness that splices off to the right-side lamp. Unlike the headlights, though, when the signals do get incorporated, it'll require a full-length feed for both lights from the column plug, so the brown (park) wire will be the only portion unaffected.
27. Finally, some light at the end of the tunnel…or is that gauge illumination? The final stage of the initial install can end up being one of the easiest steps to accomplish depending on the type of instrumentation used―as was the case here, with the "bulk" of the labor simply getting set aside… literally.
28. This is all the '39 required: fuel gauge (orange/black), grounds (black), lights (grey w/ bulb socket) and 12-volt lead (red/white) for main power/voltmeter. If you'll notice, the termination point for that last gauge connection is non-existent―the stock ammeter will be converted internally to a voltmeter, as a recent bad experience with the prehistoric method won't allow the use of such potentially "explosive" equipment!
29. Jeff at Bowtie Bits did an amazing job restoring the ‘39's original gauges, from the aesthetics to the delicate mechanical sending units and 12-volt upgrade. It doesn't get much simpler than this.
30. At the moment, the almost-complete dash is one of the biggest visual highlights of the Chevy… right next to the Highway 15 Nostalgia kit, that is! It'll be a shame hiding that cluster behind a big ol' '41 DeLuxe steering wheel, but it'll eventually have to happen if this project's ever to see the light of day.
31. Save for that obvious bundle of ignition wire (a safety precaution done so as not to get shorted lengthwise if the fuse panel ended up getting relocated behind the dash), the seat pan confines wound up pretty neat and tidy. What's better, everything from the battery to the fuses will be easily accessible just by lifting the seat bottom rather than having to pull up carpet or get all contorted up under the steering wheel.