How is a Classic Dash better than an original?

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?

They are manufactured in-house using a special 5/32” thick UV-resistant ABS composite material.

How durable are they?

Structurally, they are as strong —or stronger— than the original equipment (OEM) panels.

What are the color choices?

You can choose between a matte black, brushed aluminum or carbon fiber finish.

What are the gauge choices?

Depending on the application, there are approximately 15 Auto Meter gauge styles to choose from. They include American Muscle, Ultra-lite (electric), Ultra-Lite (mechanical), Phantom (electric), Phantom (mechanical), Sport Comp (electric), Sport Comp (mechanical), Carbon Fiber, Cobalt, Ultra-lite II, Phantom II, Sport Comp II, GT series, C-2 gauges, and NV gauges. We sell Classic Instruments AutoCross Gray gauges and AutoCross Yellow gauges as well. We also sell our house brand Thunder Road Concourse Series Gauges available in white, black, and silver faces.

Are they mechanical or electric?

Both are available, although most enthusiasts prefer electric. The electric gauges use sending units while the mechanical gauges use fluid (capillary) lines for measurement.

How is an electronic speedometer better than cable driven?

Versatility is the primary advantage. A mechanical speedometer uses a cable driven by a gear inside the transmission. When you install a new mechanical speedometer, it will give you the same output you had with the old speedometer, meaning you will use your speedo cable (adapter required).

An electric speedometer reads electric pulses that are counted and converted to miles per hour. This means the speedo cable will be eliminated and replaced by a speedometer sending unit.

This may be important to correct issues that come from a taller tire wheel combination, or a gear change in the rear end that makes a cable driven speedometer give a false output. The electric speedometer has a calibration circuit in it that allows the user to calibrate the speedometer to show the correct speed.

Which gauges are typically employed?

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. Most gauge styles offer a 5″ speedometer and tachometer as well.

Are others available?

Yes, panels can employ other gauges —or they can be mounted in auxiliary panels. Some choices include oil temperature, boost gauge, transmission temperature, etc. We even have clocks available in most gauge styles!

Can I use my own gauges?

Yes, panels are available individually for those who have already purchased gauges. Select the “NO GAUGES” option after you have selected your dash panel finish and then click on “Add To Cart.”

Are panels available for 2-5/8″ gauges?

Yes, larger gauges are available in some applications (space permitting).

Are blank panels available without holes?

SOME of our Classic Dash panels are offered with no holes or BLANK. However, they are not a stock item and must be special ordered by phone (866) 882-3525.

What tools are required for an installation?

For the most part only common hand tools (screwdrivers, wrenches, pliers, are needed —plus a soldering iron, heat source and test meter (multimeter).

Are wiring kits available?

Yes, our universal gauge wiring kits are offered for most short sweep gauge applications. They come with an illustrated 24-page instruction booklet along with an LED kit for your turn signal, parking brake and high beam indicators. Kits are also available for Nova/Camaro quad pods.

How do I calibrate the new speedometer?

Regardless if you’ve changed tire sizes and/or gear ratios, the speedometer will “learn” your vehicle. Here are the steps for speedometer calibration:

1. With the power off, push and hold the calibration button located on the front of the speedometer.

2. While holding the button, start the vehicle and continue to hold the button until the pointer sweeps to full scale and stays at full scale.

3. You may now release the button.

4. Drive to the beginning of a pre-marked two mile stretch of road (i.e. a toll road with ACCURATE mileage markers) and come to a stop. It does not matter how far away the stretch of road is. DO NOT SHUT OFF THE ENGINE.

5. Push the release button and the pointer will drop to half scale.

6. Drive the two mile distance. The pointer will remain at the half scale mark no matter what speed you choose to drive during the two mile stretch. (If the speedometer has an LCD display odometer, it will be normal to see it counting rapidly as it receives a speed signal). If you have to stop during the calibration that is OK. The speedometer is simply counting pulses during this time.

7. At the end of the two mile distance, come to a complete stop, push and release the release button. The pointer will drop to 0 (zero) and the calibration will be stored.

Are there differences in fuel quantity gauges?

Yes, they vary by vehicle manufacturer. The key is the “ohm” value when the tank is empty. Some of the more popular values are 0-30 ohm, 0-90 ohm, 73-10 ohm, 16-158 ohm and 240-33 ohm. Classic Dash furnishes the correct unit for the application.

Can I use existing sending units?

No, you should use the oil pressure and water temperature sending units that come with the Classic Dash package to ensure accuracy.

Is there a warranty with the gauges?

We offer a one-year warranty on our Classic Dash panels.

Thunder Road Concourse Series Gauges have a one-year warranty.

Auto Meter gauges are backed by a one-year warranty.

Classic Instruments gauges have a one-year warranty.

Experience has shown that any problems that the gauges may have will usually manifest themselves within the first year.

What is “half sweep” vs. “full sweep?”

Thinking of the gauge like a clock, the half sweep gauges go from about 10 o’clock to 2 o’clock. Full sweep gauges are about 7 o’clock to 4 o’clock. Most of our electric gauges are short sweep. Mechanical gauges tend to be full sweep.

How long should an installation take?

Most installations can be performed in 5-7 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 modifications?

In most cases it’s a simple bolt-in situation. However, minor trimming may be required to achieve proper fitment. Some older vehicles (Camaro comes to mind) were built in multiple factories (Ohio and California) and were not 100% identical. Production methods weren’t as accurate and consistent as they are today. Please beware that multiple manufacturing plants mean that there may be some slight dimensional differences that need to be fabricated.

Get Your Ride Car Show Ready for LessSAVE UP TO $250 OFF YOUR ORDER

For a limited time, our complete lineup of dashes, analog gauges, dash and analog gauge complete kits, and accessories are on sale*. 

*some exclusions apply