Frequent Questions And Answers From Classic Dash

The gauge cluster in your classic Mopar is a very important part of your vehicle. It is the information center of everything that is going on with the car. Unfortunately, with modern performance parts and age, many of the gauges have stopped working, been bypassed or not relevant. Replacing your factory dash panel with a Classic Dash can cure all of those issues while giving your ride a custom look. 

We know many of our readers are facing many of these issues. Restored gauge clusters looks great but with high cost and lack of proper gauges, it could be a waste of time and money. Trying to build your own can be difficult and a custom shop will charge through the roof for a custom setup. Adding additional gauges on top or below the dash is an option but tends to be difficult to see and becomes crowded. Classic Dash is the answer to all those issues as they offer an array of quality and functional gauge clusters for many of our classic Mopars. Here are ten questions that should help relieve any concerns of purchasing a new Classic Dash panel and gauges.

How is a Classic Dash better than an original?
Answer: There are two considerations; style and functionality. Often cars came with huge linear speedometers, no tachometer, and “idiot lights” to monitor key functions and sometimes faux wood grain or fabric inserts. Not only can you update the look of the dash by selecting a matte black, brushed aluminum or carbon fiber finished panel (and trim pieces, with some applications), and equip it with gauges styles that range from classic to contemporary, but it’s easy to keep tabs on the systems and spot things like declining oil pressure and voltage or increased water temperature. This warning lets you take corrective measures before it’s too late.

What are the Classic Dash panels made of?
Answer: They are manufactured in-house using a special 5/32” thick UV-resistant ABS composite material.

How durable are they?
Answer: Structurally, they are as strong — or stronger — than OEM panels.

What are the color choices?
Answer: You can choose between a matte black, brushed aluminum or carbon fiber finish.

What are the gauge choices?
Answer: Depending on the application, there are approximately 15 Auto Meter gauge styles to choose from. They include American Muscle, Ultra-lite, Phantom, Sport Comp, Carbon Fiber, Cobalt, Ultra-lite II, Phantom II, Sport Comp II, GT series, C-2, and NV models, Also available are some “Thunder Road” gauges.

Which gauges are typically employed?
Answer: By far the most popular group of six gauges includes the 3-3/8” diameter speedometer and tachometer, plus 2-1/16” diameter oil pressure, water temperature, voltage and fuel quantity gauges.

Are wiring kits available?
Answer: Yes, complete wiring kits are offered for most short sweep gauge applications; they come with an illustrated 24-page instruction booklet.

What tools are required for an installation?
Answer: For the most part only common hand tools (screwdrivers, wrenches, pliers, are needed —plus a soldering iron, heat source and test meter (multimeter).

How long should an installation take?
Answer: Most installations can be performed in 6-8 hours. Once a person has done an installation, the second one goes much quicker —about half the time. Some vehicles are more complex and tighter-fitting than others and will require more time.

Do they require dash frame modification?  
Answer: In most cases it’s a simple bolt-in situation, however minor trimming may be required to achieve proper fitment. Understand too, that some older cars (Camaro comes to mind) were built in two factories (Ohio and California) and were not 100% identical, nor were production methods as accurate and consistent as they are today.

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Gavin Wollenburg

Editor – [email protected] Gavin grew up around Mopars in his lakeside home in Ohio, his father showing him nearly everything he needed to know about haulin' some serious rear in his '72 Dart Swinger. Since then, he's made his little A-Body a serious autocross contender and regularly shows the modern boys how an old Dart does it!