The cockpit...the command center. After countless hours invested in working on the car, you climb into the driver's seat.....this is where you reap the fruits of your labor. Here is where you are in control. You grip the wheel and lunge forth, feeling the move of her body, her voice a stimulating and magnificent growl. Here is where you realize that it was all worth it.
So surely you can't neglect the car's interior. What you decide to do in here is a combination of aesthetics and functionality.
Stripping the interior is an option. The rear seat is really unnecessary...it's so cramp back there anyway! =) The upholstery can go as well...it's just one more thing that dirties easily. Cleaning metal is so much easier, and metal is more enduring...ever see old car upholstery? I'll go into more detail (e.g., process, weight savings, etc.) eventually.
If you race, or drive like you do, you'll probably want to replace that cushy, family-car seat with a good racing seat. It'll hold you firm through the turns so you don't miss a beat. I slide quite a bit in the stock seats. There's a good number of seats to choose from and locating a dealer shouldn't be very difficult. I haven't looked much into this area yet, so I won't make any recommendations at this time.
A nice set of racing harnesses should accompany those seats, of course! Not only do they look great, but they also contribute to your safety, which like drag, becomes an increasing concern as speeds go up. There's no doubt that they provide more safety than standard seatbelts...it's surprising they're not standard equipment on cars yet. =) As with the seats, I can't make any recommendations at this time.
A smaller diameter steering wheel connects the driver to the road better. With a smaller diameter, the steering wheel can be rotated through a smaller angle to achieve the same amount of turn. This results in quicker response when negotiating the turns. However, installing a racing wheel in an AE102 requires disabling the driver-side airbag. You're probably safer with the racing harnesses anyway, but disable the airbag at your own risk.
A short shifter kit is available from Nopi. TRD might carry one as well...C52 tranny, after all...I'll have to look into that. Custom short shifters can also be acquired. For aesthetics, shift knobs are also available, for both manuals and automatics. There are quite a number of manufacturers to choose from. I prefer TRD (right three below), of course, but Levoc shift knobs are also quite nice (far left below). Levoc shift knobs are even available for automatics with overdrive. Below is a picture of one. They are available from Napolex, which carries a wide variety of decorative interior parts (got rice?).
Racing pedals are available. I personally like the look of Razo carbon fiber pedals. Aside from being primarily decorative, racing pedals can give you better pedal feel and grip.
Before I got my larger Broadway rearview mirror, I thought the stock one was good enough. However, I now realize how small and limited the field of view of the stock mirror is (cop spotting!). Therefore, I recommend larger rearview mirrors. I also recommend blindspot mirrors for the two side mirrors! I know this is not an interior part, but I figured I might as well throw it in, considering how beneficial and cheap blindspot mirrors are. Ever notice how many people move into your lane when you're momentarily in their blindspot? Of course, they would see you if they turned their head or leaned forward a bit, but a lot of drivers just don't know better. Having blindspot mirrors allows you to quickly see what's to your side with a glance. The time required to turn your head is time wasted when your mind is always RACING.
Interior lights? I won't even talk about that. The dome light is for seeing inside in the dark or for reading a map. It's not meant to be blue or green or whatever rice color you can think up. A halogen bulb in there would be nice though. =)
And this one is purely for aesthetics: dash kits, wood or carbon fiber. The following are pics of the wood kit (left and right steering), which I personally don't like much. For the carbon fiber kit, well, imagine carbon fiber in place of the wood panels. =)
And of course, more to come...
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