Last month we made really good progress on our Project Totally Gassed '55 Chevy dash. This month we will wrap it up and give you an insight into how the craftsman at Classic Instruments make their very popular line of custom gauges—face and inner workings.
The objective behind the project was to build a dash that was reminiscent of what we might have done back in the mid-'60s but to have the inner workings, the behind-the-scene goodies, to be current and take full advantage of modern technology. Items like the Classic Instruments GPS, Custom Autosound stereo, and American Autowire wiring complete with connectors and labeled just for our project.
The Correct Cluster
While our Gasser project is based around a reproduction steel body from Woody's Hot Rodz and Real Deal Steel, for this portion of the project we were fortunate enough to locate a near-perfect original dashboard. The good news is the dash was all original; the bad news is it was absolutely devoid of any trim or switches. Well, that turned out not to be a problem thanks to Danchuk, but the big question was what to do about the gauge insert. We did get a beat-up gauge cluster with the dash but it was in rough condition. As it turns out we had the only piece that Classic Instruments needed, the stamped housing that goes behind the dash. They would fill that factory stamping with their own modern gauge movements, add turn signal indicators and a high beam indicator, and basically remake the entire gauge face to our design. From here we enlisted the help of American Autowire to handle the electrical connections. Then when it was all done the completed gauge cluster was boxed up and sent back to us ready to bolt in. And bolt in it did, and it also plugs in, as the American Autowire wiring is done with a disconnect plug that will allow the unit to easily unplug should we need to remove it from the dashboard anytime in the future. The gauge cluster package also contained all the proper sending units and wiring directions to complete the project. In the end we had a gauge cluster that looked better than new with gauges that will be more accurate too. Now let's take a look at how Classic Instrument breathes new life into old clusters.