Memorable Dashboards

jeijei Member Posts: 143
We had a 1960 Chevy when I was a young kid. Its
dashboard had a sort of horizontal scooped-out area
at the top of each side. The passenger's side was
an empty rounded-off shelf of sorts over the glove
box. The driver's side had 5 round, hooded
binnacles or "pods" with guages and idiot lights.
The center binnacle was the largest and held the
speedometer. There were 2 smaller "pods" on each
sides that each held the gas guage, ammeter and a
couple of idiot lights. The whole thing had a sort
of sculptured, stylized jet fighter look to it.

What dashboards - good, bad, ugly or beautiful -
do YOU remember?? We spend a lot of time looking
at them whether driving or riding.


  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    I always liked the "machine-turned" dashes on Studebaker remember, aluminum faced with those little swirling circles in rows and rows?

    And the "thermometer" gauges on Volvo P1800 "sports" cars, as they are euphemistically known.
    The gauges NEVER worked right but watching the little fluids go up and down vertically was fun.
  • badgerpaulbadgerpaul Member Posts: 219
    I remember my dad's '60 Oldsmobile had a ribbon speedometer that changed from green to yellow to red the faster you went.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonMember Posts: 20,338
    Had the strangest dash. When you looked at the speedometer you were really looking at a mirror image of it. It had a know where you could adjust the angle.

    Some of the best looking in my opinion were 1965 Thunderbirds and 1965 Buick Rivieras.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonMember Posts: 20,338
    Not "know"!
  • carnut4carnut4 Member Posts: 574
    from the mid-fifties, mostly from GM. In 1954, my cub scout den mother had a new '54 Olds, and I remember looking at that dashboard full of symmetrical, sweeping chrome that blended in to the door panels and thinking "what a car!" Always liked the 55 Chev dashboards too-thought they were simple, yet attractive examples of classic 50's dashboard styling. For pure schmaltz, though, try one of the early 50's Buicks with that huge chrome radio. Today, of course, all those chrome salads and shiny surfaces are STRICTLY ILLEGAL! Safety, you know. Gotta have the organic, grey padded look as per NHTSA.
  • chris396chris396 Member Posts: 53
    I'll second the '65 Riviera dash. As for the ugliest how about the bathtub-looking Nash dash.
  • speedshiftspeedshift Member Posts: 1,598
    The machine-turned Stude dash is my first choice too. Always liked the 57-60 Chevy dash, with each instrument in its own hooded receptacle. The early XR-7 dash looked like something out of a Jag. Early Covair turbo dash, flat aluminum finish with lots of round gauges. GTOs with gauge package--handsome and purposeful. Mid-60s full-size Pontiacs with optional gauges spread out in a row, in chrome bezels. The '68 Charger had an elegant layout, a flat black ribbed background with lots of (small) gauges. The '67 Charger's was impressive for the opposite reason--full gauges in large chromey pods. You have to spend $30k+ today to get a dash worth looking at.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonMember Posts: 20,338
    As a youngster, I seem to remember a friend of my parents who had about a '48 Plymouth.

    At night, I seem to recall the color of the dash lights changing with the speed of the car.

    At higher speeds they turned almost red.

    Am I dreaming or does anyone know?
  • badgerpaulbadgerpaul Member Posts: 219
    I was reading something the other night that talked about Chrysler products in the 40's having changing color lights in the speedo. It was green up to 30, yellow between 30 and 50, and red over 50. It's been a long time since I've driven a '40s Chrysler, but I seem to recall that with a six you were going to wait a loooong time for the lights to turn red.
  • gkelly3gkelly3 Member Posts: 38
    This heap had a very interesting dash layout-it had a ribbon speedometer (which worked in fits and starts-you had to give it a good smack now and then)., and a multi-colored temp gauge. The real piece de resistance was something called the "icealert"-this was an amber light on the dash-it would start blinking as the outside temp dropped below 35F, and would stay on when it hit 32F. An of course, the helpful lamp to show you that the heater was on-very useful, as you otherwise would not know!
  • sebringjxisebringjxi Member Posts: 140
    Remember the swing-away steering wheel? And the little door on the dash end of the console that rolled up and down like an overhead garage door? Anyone recall cup holders in the old day of metal (gasp) dashes? I remember my mom and dad's 63 Galaxie 500, when you opened the glove box, there were two depressions in the back of the glove box door for sitting drinks! Cool!
  • lokkilokki Member Posts: 1,200
    It had the tach and speedo in little black crinkle finish cowlings sticking up from the dash like the gauges on a motorcycle... between those and the wooden steering wheel (no ugly rivits) I had to buy the car.....
  • sgaines1sgaines1 Member Posts: 44
    Neither of my two '70's cars had/has them, but my parent's '76 Aspen had a dent in the glove compartment door that was obviously meant to hold cups, even though it was less than 1/8" deep. Utterly moronic. Not a memorable dash either, so...
  • billy9billy9 Member Posts: 19
    I've driven lot's of cars, but none will stick in my mind like this one:
  • billy9billy9 Member Posts: 19
    Isellhondas:; was that moveable mirror in dash an option or standard on all '60 Buicks? I've been interested in that year of Buick. Mostly because I like the front end. But then I read in the Ultimate Car Spotters Guide, it was the first year of the three sheild insignia and the year of return to portholes after a couple years off. I think it would be a cool car to own. Thanks for any info.
  • sebringjxisebringjxi Member Posts: 140
    Now that is truly a memorable dash! I have never seen a car that color--beautiful! Is it yours? I'd love to have something like that but right now my garage is full of them natty little furen cars!

    Thanks for sharing that with us!

  • billy9billy9 Member Posts: 19
    Thanks for the compliment. Yes it's mine. The color sort of clashes with the sheet metal, but I guess back then like the pamphlet says "you can order interior colors to match or CONTRAST the exterior. They are kind of southwest colors. The whole site is:
    I'm going to put some new pics up tonight of the car with the skirts on.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonMember Posts: 20,338
    Well, I've been a long time Buick fan and for some perverse reason have always liked the 1960 model also. An Invicta or Electra coupe would do!

    And that wierd mirror/speedometer...I think they all had that. It was only used one year and I have no idea what they were thinking!
  • speedshiftspeedshift Member Posts: 1,598
    My parents had one (white Le Sabre) and also my grandparents (blue Electra). The Le Sabre definitely had the mirrored speedometer. What was Buick thinking? Probably chalk it up to the "gee whiz" factor. Kind of like the HUD on my GTP. It's one of the reasons I leased the car (it seemed like real progress) yet I rarely use it.
  • carnut4carnut4 Member Posts: 574
    in Portland yesterday. There was a 48 DeSoto 2dr in a dark olive green that looked like new. Was from North Dakota-must've been stored for years in some old ladies garage. All original. Anyway, I took a look inside and noticed the dashboard and the steering wheel. Holy chrome salads what a steering wheel! The whole thing was like a revolving jukebox, and with that white pearl wheel-it was pure art deco. And that dashboard was glitzy as well. What a huge, comfortable, gutless car-but that steering wheel! Just couldn't get over the size and decoration of it-almost another dashboard by itself.
  • badgerpaulbadgerpaul Member Posts: 219
    With the lack of power steering you needed a wheel that big just to get that big old barge pointed in the right direction. But if I found a nice one, nearby I'd be sorely tempted to buy it.
  • carnut4carnut4 Member Posts: 574
    I haven't seen too many cars that age that nice. It would probably run decently for a long time [question mark on that Fluid drive] and could be had very cheaply. A guy couldn't lose money on it, I don't think. Maybe I'll go back and look.
    I think it could be had very cheaply. Much less than the 57 Chev I went to look at.
  • carnut4carnut4 Member Posts: 574
    just got the latest issue, which has a great feature article on dashboards of the fifties. Lots of great pictures and stories! Thought I'd pass it on. I'd forgotten about those Chrysler corporation dashboards of 1955. They sure don't make 'em like that anymore!
  • crestonavecrestonave Member Posts: 209
    I own a 1960 New Yorker with the AstraDome instrument panel, complete with Panelescent lighting. One of these days I will post a
    picture. Awesome!
  • email9email9 Member Posts: 2
    Learned to drive on my dad's 1960 Chrysler Windsor with that panel.
    Push button transmission and a steering wheel that wasn't round,
    but flat on the bottom. "Forward Look" Chrysler products were works
    of art.
  • tombayertombayer Member Posts: 23
    Post #26 reminds me of the old Chrysler we used to have, come to think of it the steering wheel wasn't round either, it was flattened out on the bottom. .....Always wondered about that.

    That car was had a front end that was sooooo ugly it was sorta cool. I did like the rear end styling though. And the drivetrain was bulletproof! 361 with a Torqueflite.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonMember Posts: 20,338
    Another memory. A kid in our high school took his mother's 64 Chrysler 361 out one night.

    Tried to race my buddy's 65 GTO. Of course, the goat won, but not by very much!

    The Chrysler must have laid 200 feet of rubber though! I remember looking back through the back window of the GTO and seeing a WALL of tire smoke!
  • speedshiftspeedshift Member Posts: 1,598
    it would have won.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonMember Posts: 20,338
    I'll bet that girl is a better person today as a result of the "lesson" you taught her! :)

    We did the exact same thing in front of a girl's house with a buddys (dad's) 63 T-bird. It was about 1:00 in the morning. Every porch light on that street must have come on...dogs barking, etc.

    We still laugh about it today.

    Since she lived on a steep hill, we would also go down the hill, switch off the ignition until we got in front of her house and turn it back on.

    Man, that T-bird would backfire like no other car!

    Did we impress her?

    " You guys are such a******s!"

    THAT was her reaction!
  • egkellyegkelly Member Posts: 17
    Does anybody remember the weird looking CITROEN speedometers and tachometer? These were rotating cylinders, which carried the numers on the sides. They were from all accounts, quite readable, but next to impossible to fix. Anyway, Shiftright, are they still used? And, what's the chances of seeing CITROEN back in the USA?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    I don't think we'll see Citroen in the USA anytime soon...their cars are really built mostly for the home market, and besides, selling cars in the US requires an enormous investment in service and parts networks. I really don't think Citroen can compete effectively in the world market except in their own former colonies perhaps. They are interesting automobiles,however, if more than a little eccentric. After World War II, Citroen was a pioneer in aerodynamics and active suspension systems.
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 24,882
    They may have changed things by 1964, but when the 3-speed Torqueflite 727 came out for 1957, it actually had a few features to keep people from damaging the tranny. If you pushed the "1" or "2" button at too high of a speed, it won't downshift until the speed is low enough. Also, if you shift from a forward gear to reverse at any speed over 10 mph, it's supposed to go into neutral.

    I don't know if it had a provision from shifting from reverse to drive though! And I've never purposely tested any of the above on my '57 DeSoto...just read about it. However, I did accidentally hit the "1" button once when I was driving pretty fast, and it didn't downshift.

    As for burnouts, I've done a few of them, but they were all in my '68 Dart. Did two in the parking lot right outside the window of a college class I dropped. They were taking their midterm, and the professor was bored at his desk, reading his book. Oh yeah, it was a summer course, so the windows were open. As the engine started revving, you could tell the professor was getting annoyed, but when the right wheel let go and started screaming (no suregrip, so only the right side would peel out), half the class jumped! Then we were dumb enough to sneak back again about 20 minutes later and do it again!

    I've also peeled out in front of an ex-girlfriend's house, and out in front of a Little Caesar's I used to deliver for.

    As for how rugged the things can be, well, I let a friend drive my Dart once, and he accidentally parked it at about 35 mph. Now keep in mind most Darts and other "lesser" cars only had the TF904, not the heavier-duty TF727. Still, all it did was stall the car, and we restarted in neutral. That was about 8 years and maybe 75,000 miles ago, so I doubt it did any permanent damage ;-)

  • tombayertombayer Member Posts: 23
    Yep, you're right, the 1964 tranny in question did have the safety features you mentioned. If you were going too fast and pushed the first gear button it wouldn't engage, but if you continued to slow down it would engage later.
  • arriscararriscar Member Posts: 13
    Anyone ever been in a '66 Mark X. Jag? The boat version of a British car and the largest thing Jag made (other than a few limos).
    Dash is all wood, walnut and of course for the civilised (with an S) pic nic trays ala airlines (now) which were also placed in the back. Very proper you know. Room to move in that back seat if you know what I mean, plus a tray for what ever. Might not have lights and heat dials but it was classy
  • ndancendance Member Posts: 323
    1970 Boss 302 and Mach 1 (428 CJ for what it's worth in this case) the gauges have really cool looking blue lighting and the high beam light is a Mustang emblem. Say, driving from Phoenix to Tucson late at night; between the dash, the boy racer look of the car generally, and the noise the car makes, you get a pretty hip experience.
  • speedshiftspeedshift Member Posts: 1,598
    Yes, I had a Mark X and the interior ambience was the best thing about it. I actually used those picnic trays on a date with my future wife and can thoroughly recommend the car as crumpet bait. One thing about real wood and leather, it ages quickly if it isn't maintained and garage stored. I was used to American vinyl and plastic, which is a lot more forgiving.

    Speaking of 428 CJ Mustangs, I looked at a '69 someone was selling years ago. The guy fired it up in his garage and with the exhaust bouncing off the walls it sounded like it had about 800 lbs. ft. of torque. "Awesome" is not a word I use frequently, but that's how 7 liters with a lumpy idle sounds in a small garage.
  • tombayertombayer Member Posts: 23
    I work as a licensed engineer in the engine room on commercial freighters. EMD( Electromotive Division of General Motors) engines have a displacement of 640 cubic inches per cylinder. Some ships have 4 20 cylinder engines so that's 4X20X640 cubic inches in that engine room. What does it sound like? LOUD! Oh by the way, the muffler for each engine are about the size of small car.............
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Maybe they'll put that in the new Viper!
  • tombayertombayer Member Posts: 23
    They actually are locomotive engines adapted for marine use. They come in 12, 16 and 20 cylinder configurations. The basic design goes back to the thirties. 2 stroke turbo charged diesels. 20 cylinder rated 3600 HP at 900 rpm. Average life of cylinder assembly before rebuild is 20,000 hours. Some engines I've worked with have had over 100,000 hours (that's over 11 years of running time )on them, with out having the crankshafts removed, cylinders assemblies (heads, pistons, con rods, cylinder liners) are of course replaced more often. These engine typically are run at wide open throttle continuously.
    I am the first to admit that it is not fair to compare industrial engines to automotive engines, but sometimes when I hear about "new" technology in the automotive field, it's not new at all, most of these so called innovations have been in use for decades in industrial applications.
    So what has this got to do with dashboards? Nothing, unless you want to know what the gage console looks like in an engineroom..........
  • eggenbergereggenberger Member Posts: 7
    This car had a beautiful dashboard, probably the best one of the 1950s. Four round gauges in front of the driver (speedometer, tachometer, clock, 4 real gauges with no idiot lights) but it also had a quirk. Since dashboards were built with lots of metal pieces back then, with all sorts of braces and pieces behind them, Lincoln didn't want to have squeaks and rattles appear on their $10,000 super-luxury car, so instead of putting the dashboard together with sheet metal screws like everyone else, they welded everything together!
    It was great until something went wrong and you had to get something out and back in!
    By the way, all 1960s Buicks had the mirror on the dash with a knob to rotate it. The speedometer was mounted below the mirror pointed straight up and reflected back to the driver.
    All Mopars in the forties era had a speedometer (only) that changed color from green to yellow to red as the needle went around the dial.
    For oddball dashboards, how about the 1958 Edsel with the rotating drum speedometer or the Dodge Chargers and Pontiacs with the clock in the tach?
    1968 Mercury Cougar with the oil pressure gauge over in front of the passenger seat? 1955 Plymouth with 2 gauges over in front of the passenger and the chrome spear sticking out of the left center of the dash to shift the transmission (and spear anyone sitting in the middle)? I have a 1952 Jaguar XK120 coupe in the garage that has the speedometer in front of the passenger!
    Oh well, enough for now.....anyone know where I can install an oil pressure gauge and an ammeter or voltmeter on my 2001 Dodge Stratus R/T coupe that will look proper????
  • speedshiftspeedshift Member Posts: 1,598
    Yeah, the Cougar XR-7 dash with the oil gauge on the passenger side was a little awkward, but the psuedo Jag image that dash conveyed was the best part of the car.

    Olds also had a combination clock/tach called the "tic-tac-toc" or something like that.
  • corsicachevycorsicachevy Member Posts: 316
    My favorite dash is from the mid-to-late 1970s LTD/Marquis line. Why? It had one of those big sweeping speedometers that only went up to 85 mph.

    When I was in high school my friends and I had a fleet of these things at our disposal. We, while partaking in youthful indiscretions, would race these cars at extra legal speeds and bury the speedo needle way past the "85" until it would disappear.

    We often joked about what it would be like if we were pulled over for speeding. The officer would saunter up to the driver's side window and ask in that law enforcement voice, "Son, do you know how fast you were go'in?". And we would reply, "No officer, I had no idea". Too bad we never had an opportunity to try that line out.
  • mdelrossomdelrosso Member Posts: 18
    My '65 Caddy has a beautiful dash. Very elegant, it sweeps away on the passenger side allowing for a tremendous amount of foot/knee room. The ignition switch is positioned very high up on the dash adjacent to the radio knobs. The a/c vent ducts protrude out from the end panel and flow into the central design.
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