I managed to get the console installed finally…
There was a bit of last minute drama when the dashboard ashtray did not fit correctly, and the screws for the bracket are much much MUCH easier to get to with the console out, so I decided to spent a little time on that.
Somehow the previous owner had managed to screw up the opening so it was rounded on the sides. I am still puzzled about why this was done. I could believe the radio hole getting cut out to a larger rectangle, but that section of the dash is intact. Why (and how?) they rounded the sides of the ashtray opening I will never understand.
I took the face plate off of the dash, and poked at it a bit, enough to get the bracket to aim the ashtray low enough to actually seat into the opening.
I also did some caveman hammer-and-dolly work on the trim plate to get that sort of back into shape again. Someday I’ll get the ashtray fitting better and I’ll spring for a new trim plate, but it’s good enough for now.
I buttoned it all back up, and…it’s passable. I wasn’t planning on using the ashtray anyway.
With that last hurdle out of the way, a little paint, new rubber gaskets on the shift plate, and…bolted into the car at last.