Get a dash cap rather than an ugly pad, a bit more pricey but it looks nearly factory when installed.
+1 on the aluminum shifter, I've still got TSRUH burned into the palm of my hand from the aluminum T handle I used last summer
I had a B&M ratchet shifter in my 74 Trans Am, I feel your pain. After 20 or so years, the scar does fade.
97 Thunderbird LX (The GT Bird)
PI Swapped NPI motor with some port work on the heads, PI cams, 80mm MAF, CAI that feeds from fenderwell. Jmod, 3.73:1 TL in Mark VIII carrier, Mark VIII aluminum LCAs, 93 Mark VIII driveshaft, PBR brakes (soon to be Cobras), 18x9 wheels, 255/40/ZR18 Tires, Front and Rear strut/shock bracing, GR-2 shocks, Eibach 1.5" springs, 1989 SC front and rear sway bars.