cancel
Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 
Bryan
Hagerty Employee

6 of the coolest speedos in production cars

The amount of importance put on how the exterior of a car looks is huge, and the driver is likely the owner who selected a car based on that outer appearance. However, when we drive we don’t get to see the outside. Instead, we’re left gazing through a clear windscreen with an occasional glance at the gauge cluster.

 

If you are less concerned with the outside appearance and more concerned with what you will see from the driver's seat, here are six cars that might be worth considering for your next purchase.

 

Read the full article on Hagerty.com:

https://www.hagerty.com/media/entertainment/6-of-the-coolest-speedos-in-production-cars/

124 REPLIES 124
EJsClassicJags
Passenger

BTW, Boing didn't make the DC-10! DC stands for Douglas Craft!!  Boing made the 747.

Sajeev
Community Manager

Thank you, I have made that very necessary change! 

Jaguarman
Pit Crew

"...a dash that would look right at home in a Boeing DC-10"  Uh, not to nit-pick too much, but Boeing never built the DC-10.  "DC" stands for Douglas Corporation who later merged with McDonnell and wasn't purchased by Boeing until long after the DC-10 was retired.  I guess you could claim it as Boeing now, but that would be like calling a Rambler or Nash a Chrysler.  Just sayin'...

Forshage
New Driver

That would make a Willis a Fiat

Sajeev
Community Manager

You aren't nit-picking, that's absolutely correct and I have made that change! (speaking as someone who enjoyed multiple trips on DC-10s as a child)
GC
Intermediate Driver

Not to nitpick further,  but DC actually stood for Douglas Commercial, to differentiate  between their military and commercial aircraft ☺

Stewbert
Passenger

The ‘60 Olds speedo was much cooler than the Fury going from green to yellow to red as your speed increased 

Happylindeen
New Driver

You beat me to it. We had a 60 oldsmobile,  I always thought it was the best speedo going! These folks need to do some research. 

Forshage
New Driver

If we are talking Dash, as opposed to just Speedometer.  Its pretty hard to beat the 64-66 Tbirds.  Like a plane cockpit including T switches not only to the front, buy from above as well.

TimK
Detailer

I have a C4 and I suppose the speedometer is OK with the ability to switch to metric, whoopie. I do remember the 60s Chrysler products and several were more interesting. The others listed were interesting but if I voted for the all time coolest speedometer, it would be the (fictional) speedometer on the (real) 427 Cobra that Shelby made for Bill Cosby. To quote Cosby's description in his skit, "200MPH", "the numbers started at 0 and went all the way up to 200MPH!. And there was still more room with the words, OH WOW!"

dclaxon
Pit Crew

"And I wasn't going to tell Bob I went with the fire extinguisher."

hb
Intermediate Driver

I agree with Studebaker. My grandfathers station wagons speedo was a big lens with the numbers to either side of center looking small. When they moved to the center, rotating like a compass, they got magnified quite large. As a small kid I was totally fasinated by this unit.

wfbarto
Navigator

A question came up yesterday that I cannot find a definitive answer on....Can anybody confirm or deny that the Chevy Corvair may have had a push button transmission selector either in the center of the steering wheel or on the dash in any of their model years? Thanks for input!

mchalewj
Pit Crew

Corvair had a lever which moved vertically "R - N - D - L" with no provision for "Park."  Chrysler had push-button transmissions from the '50's through mid '60's.  Edsel did have the push-buttons in the center of the steering wheel.

 

Kyle
Moderator

The Corvair model was never equipped with a push button transmission selector on any of its trims.
AUTOARCHITECTUR
New Driver

I would agree with those illustrated other than the 84-89 Corvettes with the "Cheesy" plasticized cluster which was problematic from the standpoint of reliability, the boards burning out and not sunlight readable. 1954-55 Buick utilized a scrolling speedometer also.  Perhaps edit out the Corvette and add that one. 

martyb
Passenger

dodge had a speedo similar to the 60 plymouth in 1957

OldMoparMan
New Driver

OK, maybe a little more automotive history is in order here.
The '39 Plymouth had a speedometer that changed colors from green, to yellow, to red, depending on the speed alone. The 1959-61 Buick, and likely others, had a horizontal ribbon speedometer.
The Tucker had nothing special going for it, with only 50 copies, was hardly innovative or let alone even seen. I believe the Riviera also used a drum speedo like the Toronado. The '29-'31 Ford Model A used a drum speedo.

There were other digital speedos before the vette, like the '80-83 Chrysler Imperial. I believe some Janese cars may have also.
The Chrysler 300F was the 1st use of high voltage electroluminescent lighting, also used on later Dodge Chargers, a beautiful look, with no age dimming or yellowing.
This stuff needs to edited better!

Kyle
Moderator

Thanks for the comment @OldMoparMan. This list was meant to be a fun opinion piece to shed some light on a handful of fun cars and their speedometers, rather than a historical feature on which makes and model had these features first. You are right that a lot of automotive technology goes in circles (what's old is new again), but each iteration has a unique style and execution.
richreed701
Pit Crew

The Chrysler 300 dome has to be the best ever.  When I saw the teaser mail message I thought to myself "I bet they didn't include the 300.  Nasty e-mail shall be written" but lo and behold, it was your leadoff.  Very cool.  My best bud in high school inherited his dad's 300 (and 6 mpg) and we had lots of cool memories in that car.  Thanks.  

NoelH
Passenger

Yes - It’s easy to get my 300-F down to 5 mpg by having ‘fun’ with it, but I’ve cruised cross-country in my dual Carter AFB ram inducted 413 over 62,000 miles in the past 10 years, and open road highway cruising gives me 12-13 mpg, which really isn’t too far below the other big cruisers of the day!

RBHatton
New Driver

    My all time favorite was my first car, a 47 Plymouth, whose speedometer read green from 0-30, then yellow from 31 to 50, and a glaring red from there on up!    Actually, that was probably a good idea, as driving that car faster than 50 was hazardous.

1959Imperial
Pit Crew

I own two of the speedo's listed, '62 Chrysler 300 and a '66 Olds Toronado. I also feel my '59 Imperial should be on the list or at least honorable mention.

1964tbird
New Driver

You missed out on the 1964-66 Ford Thunderbirds with the horizontal red-line thermometer look!

Fairlane500
New Driver

Also a vote for the 4th generation Tbird. Neat interiors. Have the Jet age look. Oh, dump the 4th generation Corvette, garbage.
TRAGAR
Pit Crew

I agree that the list is lame, but seeing the 300F Speedo alone was worth the read.  

DADSOLDS_1968
Pit Crew

I was always partial to my '89 Mercury Cougar. Mercury always pushed the limits.

It was such a great driving car. Got 95k out of her and still sold for a nice buck.

 

Scott
Pit Crew

1960 Chevy ooOoo.

MoparJeff
Pit Crew

The Chrysler astra-dome dash really is a marvel, it is most incredible at night when lit with the indirect lighting of the electro-luminescent gauges.  This dash was on all 1960-1962 Chryslers (Windsor, Newport, Saratoga, New Yorker, as well as 300).

 

The 1960 Plymouth dash is also very neat, but it is a totally different car than the 1958 Plymouth that was Christine.  Plymouth was all new for 1960, including the dash.

 

 

cabrioandtr3
Passenger

How did the 66-7 Charger not make this list. Probably the coolest looking dash at night.

https://images.app.goo.gl/sVJ5vei9tuBcM29i6

 

Kurtbob
New Driver

How do you not include the 1964-66 Thunderbirds?

pauldridge
New Driver

I agree whole heartedly with most of the other posts.. you guys are getting desperate for content I guess.  OMG.. when I think of all the truly beautiful that have graced vehicles over the years, not a single one of these abortions would even be in the same book.  And those ugly-when-new-now-obsolete digital disasters have no place in any publication.

I recommend spending more than 20 minutes on an article before sending anything resembling this again!

Lignum52
Navigator

1949-1950 Nash Uniscope Gauge Cluster Pod!

hywaystarr
Passenger

My vote for Number 1 !!

Maestro1
Instructor

 The picture of the 300F Speedometer was the one of my Father's Cars. Black with a Tan Interior and those wonderful front seats that moved. My Mother thought it was a very pretty Chevrolet.........

I bought a '66 Toronado and remember the car and dash well. The car, an early version, had vacum operated headlight lids which, when driving at night, would fold back into the body at 60mph, apparently zero vacum. It was a Warranty issue and I had it fixed with a kit from the Olds Dealer. It was a monster car, enjoyed every minute of it with the exception of the gas bills, it was the only complaint my Father had about the 300F too but I remember him saying "I knew it

when I bought it." He wanted me to bring the Olds to him so we could find an empty space and have a go with those cars. Thank you Hagerty. For the memories.

dough
Intermediate Driver

Almost anyone who has driven a mid 80s Corvette would never put that dash on a list like this, simply because they were such piles of utter garbage, looks be damned.  If you even breathed on it wrong, it would chirp, creak, break, or have something randomly fall off.  The cheapness of GM in their construction of these (and C4 interiors in general), and in their apparent lack of (or interest in) quality control during this time is difficult to surpass (although I'm sure they gave it all they had in trying...)  Gauge clusters are more than just their looks.  They are just as much about functionality and visibility as design.  One thing's for sure, they are NOT about sounding like a wooden pirate ship listing badly on its way to its imminent demise at the bottom of the ocean...

sytydave
Pit Crew

I owned my 86 C4 from 1994 until 2006. I never had a single issue with my dash. The tach was useless at WOT but that was my biggest gripe. The issues I saw when I owned mine were from owners taking them apart and not paying attention when they reassembling them and damaging the LCD, perhaps that is the issue you are seeing. I agree the interior quality was an issue and the interior really need to be babied. I saw this when they were 6-8 year old in looking at used examples. I took note of this, I was really careful and my interior still looked good after 20 years.

TrustyRusty
Intermediate Driver

My favorite is the 54-55 Oldmobile... CHROME CITY!  They lost their impact when they started going to ovals from circular instruments.  Just my opinion.  I gave up my '54 Super 88 "post" when I was drafted in 1966.  Really miss that car AND the times we had, back then.

fredwhyzer
New Driver

The late 40's, early 50's had tons of chrome.  I would pay $25,000 extra for a car if they had four things I miss.  A wiper switch (knob) on the dash,  a headlight dimmer switch located on the floor with a RED high beam indicator.  And finally, side vent windows.  They called the move away from those simple things, progress.  I call them automotive failure.

jbarone01
Pit Crew

I have a 1989 Corvette Convertible and like the speedo display. Assume bit technology from the C3 Vette. Mine works fine and is rather different when compared to other cars of that era. Normal Gauges are fine but the bar graph LED display is awesome on my 89 convertible Vette.

wisbit
Passenger

You guys missed my personal favorite, I called it the "Thermometer Speedometer", (say that 3 times fast), that adorned the dash of my aunt's 1965 T-Bird coupe, I thought that cockpit was the coolest thing I ever saw!  

ED146
Passenger

Try looking at the 1966-67 BUICK RIVIERA. It had a drum speedo

ED146
Passenger

Try looking at a 1966-67 BUICK RIVIERA. It had a dry speedo.

Figuero
Intermediate Driver

All speedometers should be round and analog.  Tachometers too.  

Rich1
New Driver

This stuff all looks pretty chintzy compared to the speedo and other honest Stewart-Warner gauges that you will find in any Studebaker Hawk or Avanti.  I absolutely detest the phony space-age glitz in anything Chrysler made and the cheap-cheap Corvette stuff.  It's all superficial and plastic.  Give me the S-W real metal gauges any time, in a nice engine-turned simple dashboard layout.  Studebaker perfected the aircraft feel in a land-based missile.  And they had no problem keeping up with the big dogs when it came to performance...like reading the ascending arc on that 270-degree S-W speedo.

merlebalke
Detailer

The Chrysler was the one I immediately thought of before I read the article.

Historian
Detailer

Got to wonder what you have been smoking.  You refer to the C4 as "comparatively unloved" and then praise one of the very things that made it "comparatively unloved".  A great many C4 owners call them Atari clusters.  True, some people think they look cool, but then, some people are idiots too.  When I bought my 84 C4 Z-51 three years ago, the first two things I replaced were that butt-ugly steering wheel, and that wonky, badly designed Atari cluster.  My cluster was a replacement, and still worked, so I sold it to a fool who thought that restoring a C4 to factory original made good financial sense.  I got $200 for that cluster.  I proceeded to build my own cluster from 1/4-inch Aluminum plate and a beautiful set of Marshall electronic-analog gauges.  Every C4 owner who has seen my cluster has raved about how nice it is, and they are right.  The factory cluster was bad from the day GM invented it.  In each successive year, they modified it, and modified it, and modified it until finally changing it out for the late-model C4 style, and even it was wonky.  Chevy never could get one right.  If anything, the late-model version "looked" better than that early version, but like I said, even they were failure prone.  There is a whole cottage industry of people rebuilding those Atari clusters, and they still fail.  In the last three years, I have spent a considerable amount of time and money undoing the idiotic ideas that Chevy's moronic engineers implemented in the C4.  My C4 is very close to what their C4 should have been if their engineers would have had any brains.  Thanks for giving me a great laugh!

roadio55
Intermediate Driver

How could all of these be listed ahead of the "cyclops" speedometer Studebaker introduced in 1956? The vertical needle was fixed in front of numbers on a revolving horizontal wheel. As with some of the others, the numbers vary in color from green to red. The unit is in a pod on top of the dash and the cable needs occasional lubrication after a few decades of use. 

markmathes
Pit Crew

Early '80's Aston Martin Lagonda

Tgem
Passenger

The Olds and Tucker can't be seen so why include those images? The Vette speedo is ugly while lacking style with a simple digital readout and hard to read gauge. The article has an interesting concept but is only firing on three cylinders.