Eyebrow Cabinet, Sovereign

I’ve got to get ready for the Restoration Rally, so it’s time to do the next major refurbs in the Sovereign. The first one is the eyebrow cabinet–man, that was one ugly hole in the front end! Not only that, but the thermoplastic dome is flimsy. NOTE: this is my third eyebrow cabinet and every one has had significant differences due to the shape of the cutout in the dome shroud. This shroud was the least structurally sound–no support at the rear of the cabinet (at the top of the window frame). It also has a curved front edge that is difficult to match in a cabinet, due to flat doors on the face of the cabinet.

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I wanted to get maximum depth on the cabinet for (1) putting 3-ring binders in and (2) to get close enough to the shell so I can get support on the top of the window. This made for a complicated cabinet shape–front and back faces had different slopes and the ends had to be trimmed to fit the curve of the shell. Previous cabinets weren’t quite this wide, so the shell curve wasn’t as big a factor. The cabinet also needed a decorative edge along the top to cover the ragged edge of the shroud. BTW, you can never have enough clamps…

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Once the cabinet was done, its weight began to concern me. I had decided to support it on the top of the window, but the more I thought about it the more I realized that every bump is going to impart forces that make it want to tilt down. So I set about to restrain the rotation of the cabinet (slight as it might be–I didn’t want to crack the shroud any more than it already is). I thought the shell would be pretty stiff–wrong! Even small point loads on the shell, even along a joint, caused signifcant deflection. I decided I had to stiffen the shell and at the same time not change its outside appearance.

I took out five rivets, approximately around the top of the cabinet. I then formed two 7″ pieces of 1″ “L-channel” to fit the shell (love that shrinker!). Once those were installed I put a cross piece of heavy “U-channel” between them. The U-channel then could restrain a vertical piece of structure that was supported on the window frame. I also attached a long L-bracket to the inner face of the window frame to support the bottom of the cabinet.

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Once the main structure was in, I could put in the “wing” piece of L-shaped sheet that could both support the cabinet and restrain it from rotating forward.

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You can see below how the support interfaces with the inside of the radio compartment of the cabinet. That flat bracket to the left will support a terminal strip for the heavy ground and +12 wires. As you can see, the speaker wires are quite long, long enough to remove the radio and set it down on the couch below without disconnecting it.

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The end result is that the cabinet doesn’t deflect the shell enough to notice–actually I think it doesn’t deflect at all. The really happy news is that the modification isn’t visible from outside or inside!


Got the eyebrow cabinet installed. It took a couple of extra weeks because I had to install a switch between the rear and outside speakers (car radios do not like to have paralleled speakers). Deciding how I wanted to do that and where to put the switch and getting the faceplate made, etc., etc. I also wanted to move the voltmeter and ammeter, so I needed to figure all that out. Turns out the wonderful price I got on the meters wasn’t so wonderful–they needed isolated power, which took another couple of weeks. The doors are held closed by the action of the hinges and by a small 3/8″ magnet. If you look close you can see the shiny magnet in the vertical divider and the corresponding dark spot on the door (you have to put a felt or rubber cushion on the face of at least one magnet–these rare earth magnets snap together with enough force to crack them). The other side of cabinet has similar, but not identical, divider and shelf.

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The radio is an HD FM receiver with CD, USB, and Aux audio connector, all accessible via the face.