What’s the one thing in every car that you can’t live without? If you said a cup holder, air conditioning, or leather interior, you might not be a real car guy. OK, I didn’t really mean that, or did I? What I am talking about is the dash and gauge cluster. If you don’t have gauges, bad things can happen, and you won’t know about it until it’s too late. But, how long do you think that the factory gauges in your classic ride will last? If your car was built in 1966, that means that it’s 48 years old. Personally, I don’t consider 48 that old -- my kids do, but me, not so much. Nevertheless, at 48 years old, are they as accurate as they were when new? Do they function at all? What if they’re a little slow to react? Well, it might be time for a face lift. Remember, I’m talking about the gauges in the car.
We encountered just such an aged condition with a ’66 Barracuda. The bezel was completely faded, the gauges -- well, they looked like gauges, didn’t even work (speedometer was dead, oil pressure pegged and never moved, and the fuel gauge was a crap shoot). It was definitely time for a rebuild.
There are a couple of ways that you can do this. If you’re restoring your car to factory original, you can have the gauge cluster rebuilt to look and work like new. If your building a modified car, the sky’s the limit. In our case, the Barracuda was being built as a cool modified driver, so we were able to give the dash a modified touch, we just needed to figure out how. If you have the tools and the capability, you can build a custom bezel to house new gauges, but if you don’t have the tools, having it made for you could get costly. The option we chose was to figure out how to install a set of aftermarket gauges in the factory bezel. Since each factory gauge is round, we figured that a set of simple round gauges could be made to work in the bezel, so that’s what we decided to do. Now all we needed was to decided what gauges to use.
Plug it Where?
When you look at the above image, you’re probably wondering where the speedometer cable gets plugged in. In this case, it doesn’t...the gauge is entirely electronic. Now, that doesn’t mean that you can’t use it in your classic Mopar. AutoMeter has the parts that you need to connect the gauge to your existing cable, or, you can go hi-tech like we did.
If you don’t have gauges, bad things can happen, and you won’t know about it until it’s too late.
It was really an easy decision. AutoMeter gauges have been building gauges for a long time, and they just released their Mopar-branded pieces. Our factory bezel has four small openings (fuel, oil, ammeter, and temperature), and two large openings (fuel and a performance/vacuum gauge). Once we figured out which gauges we needed, it was time mount them to the bezel, and get ’em in the car. Check out how we did it.
|Speedometer sender (for cable)
|Misc paint and supplies