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So we all know that the china repop gauges suck. They really really suck. Not only do they suck, but the way they're arranged on a Spyder dash, sucks.

Rant over.

I've been looking at the Speedhut gauges. I think the repos that Vintage and Special Edition offer now are made by them. Theses might fix the suck part of our gauges, but not the arrangement part. So I've been playing with what they have to offer. I'm not a purists so I'm going for function. Our cars is looking pure in the rear view mirror anyway. So here's what I've come up with after messing around with many configurations.

dash 6

I was going to make an aluminum background. Maybe have it brushed or coated in a flat black or dark grey. I don't want shiny. The rings around the gauges will be enough. The two gauges at the bottom will be head temps for right and left, and there is still room for a couple of toggles.

SO, who's had experience with these gauges? Senders and such?

Pictures of your dash, Danny?

These gauges can be customized a bit. I'd have them remove all logos, and words. I know where they came from and I know what each one is monitoring. Less is more.

Now to get the funding.....

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Here you go.20201023_141306

This was taken to show the steering wheel/horn button, not the gauges. The best I've got at the moment.

I have the aluminum dash insert from Greg, I painted it hammertone silver.

The lights at 5500, 6000, and 6500rpm make up a sequential rev limiter. The last light comes on at 6400, the ignition cuts at 6500. I usually shift at 6K, so don't really see the third light much.

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From an aesthetic standpoint, I really like your proposed gauge layout. I've never really liked the multi-needle gauges I've seen, but the arrangement you've got looks really good (not cobbled). I like that there are no redlines, as red fades in the sun and "redline" for this motor may not be "redline" for another.

I really like the main gauge a lot - like a lot a lot. If/when I do Project X, I'm going to think hard about something like this. I was planning on just doing a big Autometer tach and a cyclometer on the column for speed and odometer, but your idea looks better.

I like that the oil related stuff is in one gauge in a prime position. The voltage and gas gauge is not my thing, as I don't see any need for either (but that's just me). I'll keep saying it until I'm too old to care, but if a guy has a working trip odometer - the gas gauge is just superfluous. I suppose volts are important to somebody for some reason, but not to me for any reason I can think of.

CHT is a good thing to know. I'm curious what you've got behind the spokes on the wheel.

Mostly, I like watching what you do to your car, Carlos. There's been a lot of thought behind everything you've chosen along the way. It's fun to watch.

Last edited by Stan Galat

Everything one needs to know if running an air cooled motor vigorously. Oil temp and pressure, tach and speedo, volts and gas, and the bottom two are cylinder head temps. Another gauge will be a fuel pressure in the engine compartment when I redo my fuel lines. I also have an AF gauge that gets pulled out for carb adjusts. I jus gots to know.

The two red dot lights on either side of tach are turn signal. The bottom yellow is for my backup light and the blue is highbeams. Toggles for these two will be just below. I might even add a light that comes on when my oil cooler fan comes on, just because.

I might do the head temp gauges later due to budget constraints.

Right now my speedo is in KPH and isn't accurate, not that I look at it very often. That's why it's so small on the new one. My oil temp is a grease pencil mark on a featureless gauge. Oil pressure, volts and head temps, I haven't a clue. My tach still jumps around, even with the Tach Adapt thingie. The gas gauge is a joke, I use a dip stick for that anyway. I'm not expecting big things from the new gas gauge, but it's part of the deal.

CG

My Speedster gauges are VDO (but actually manufactured by VeeThree under contract from VDO) and we use those same in the Spyder unless you want authentic and then we take 914 original gauges and have them refurbished and refaced by Palo Alto.

I believe most of Greg's gauges are made by Speedhut, although I also know he is starting to use the VDO/VeeThree gauges in his Speedsters.

We have the aluminum inserts in 3 different configurations for 105mm gauges, 100mm gauges and for original gauges.  I also make them with no column or wiring hole so you can match them to another manufacturer's dash since location varies.

I've used Greg's gauges, by request, in one clients car and he loved them.  I have also used custom Speedhut in other custom builds (Mullis' were speed hut that we modified further and Joel's 996/356C coupe will get Speedhut).

One really cool thing about the speed hut gauges that I loved was the programable fuel sending unit.  Essentially drop in any sending unit you want and then program the gauge to match, set a low fuel light where you want it, etc... really handy.

Yup. I'll add a little to what Carey said. The programmable to any sender is just the beginning.

The Speedhut gauges have stepper motor movements. The needles move smooth and steady, no jumping. The needles also stay at the spot they were at when ignition is turned off. What was the oil pressure at shutdown? Volts? Gas? You'll know it all without turning the key back on.

The best part? The gas gauge has built-in hysteresis. No more swinging needle.

Second-best part? Altitude, 0-60, 1/4 mile, top speed and compass are built into the GPS speedo. I REALLY like the accurate-speed-no-matter-what-tires thing, along with the no-speedo-cable-needed thing. The only disadvantage: the speedo reads 0 mph when driving through a tunnel. Thick foliage does not seem to bother it.

Plus they are made right here in the USA. Are they pricey? I guess a little. But they're worth it to me.

Last edited by DannyP

OE Spyder combi gauge is also available in triple - fuel, oil press and oil temp ; and quad which adds CHT.  I had triple- it fills the face nicely & isn't too busy.

Used Lexan for the insert, painted hammertone silver; needed it to cover the old Brazil VDO cutouts when I went to Palo Alto's refaced 914 gauges.

Pick what you like-you're going to look at them ALL the time.

@RCosta posted:

OE Spyder combi gauge is also available in triple - fuel, oil press and oil temp ; and quad which adds CHT.  I had triple- it fills the face nicely & isn't too busy.

Used Lexan for the insert, painted hammertone silver; needed it to cover the old Brazil VDO cutouts when I went to Palo Alto's refaced 914 gauges.

Pick what you like-you're going to look at them ALL the time.

I plan on getting that PAS triple combo some day. I guess there’s just been more important things to spend $1500 on first.

Last edited by dlearl476
@RCosta posted:

Pick what you like-you're going to look at them ALL the time.

I can't agree with this statement more. Your seats are the most important part of the car, then the shifter, then the wheel and gauges. Everybody spends money on paint - but you can't see the paint from inside the car, and nice paint doesn't make you want to spend a long afternoon (or a long day) driving.

Everybody acts like these cars are only good for cruise-ins, C&C, show-n-shines, and occasional (rare?) trips to the DQ for a Blizzard when you can con your significant other into torturing herself for 15 minutes there and back. Cars get sold with 1000 miles on them all the time. If you don't actively hate the way your car fits you, and you like looking at what's in front of you - you'll probably not "run out of room in your garage", or sell because you "just don't drive it very much". You'll figure out a way to keep it.

Everybody thinks it's the air-cooled engines that runs people off the hobby, but I'd bet a fiver that more guys get turned off by the seats, or the fact that 95% of the gas caps vent fumes into the cabin. Or both. Even if you can tolerate sitting on a buckboard and huffing petrochemicals for a few hours, it's a good bet your bride would rather not (and I'd bet that same fiver that a lot of guys are using her as an excuse to get out of driving it anyway).

Gauges that don't read right (and the gas gauges and KPH speedometers never did) are useless. If you stare at the "COMBI" screened on the gauge right there in front of your face and want to throw up a little inside your mouth every time you do - a set of better gauges seems like a better use of money than another swing at the perfect air-cooled engine, and this is coming from a guy who's tried dozens of mills.

Last edited by Stan Galat

Speaking of…

I saw Jackie Stewart interviewed and he was waxing poetic about some car or another and how easy it was to drive. The thing that stuck with me was Jackie saying “You should never grip the controls any harder than you would grab a woman’s …”

I have an old, thin Nardi. Nothing does it for me like driving it up the canyon with nothing but my finger tips on that skinny wheel.

So much so that as I was obsessing about that 912 today I found myself thinking “that 4 spoke Motolita has to go. I wonder how much a big, thin Nardi is now?”

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Last edited by dlearl476

That Nardi is pretty cool, and it looks like a 356 C wheel but this one is flat.

I like the 420 to 425mm size and to me that was the 50's experience and it sure compensated for the harder worm and roller box.  Now the only worm is in the tequila bottle

More seriously, I am considering a new wheel but being held to ransom by Covid isn't going to make it happen any time soon.  

Last edited by IaM-Ray

I totally agree with the comments regarding touch points.  One of the best changes I made to my Speedster was the CSP shifter. It had such a precise, mechanical action that was a pleasure to shift.  The Coupe has a shifter that is amazingly good as well, particularly in light of the long and tortuous path it has to take around the engine to the back of the transaxle. @chines1 knocked that one out of the park.  The pedals are all much more usefully spaced/placed compared to the Beetle cluster.  Heel and toeing is actually kinda fun.  As for the steering wheel, I have received one comment that it was a little thin compared to what the guy was used to, which it is next to modern wheels, but it feels good to me, particularly when wearing my matching cognac leather Italian driving gloves.  Just call me Marty.

@dlearl476 posted:

Agreed. But I’d put pedals in there right after shifter. Mine is so much nicer now with the new pedals and the hydraulic clutch.

As for the gauges, I was just thinking about it and TBH, the only gauge I look at any more is the temp gauge. I pretty much drive by feel now, but I monitor the temp pretty closely.

"Driving by feel" isn't that what Stan was saying?   His posterior feels better

So many different reasons one could choose but Stan as always makes us think about the real reasons to do something.  

For me honestly, good guages are needed but the original LARGE wheel let you see them, and you could steer much easier

I'll quit while I am ahead.

The problem with a big wheel in a Spyder is getting DOWN into the car and UP out of it. Combine that with a too-tall shifter and in/out becomes a real PIA. Just another one of those touchpoints Stan was talking about.

If you and the car FIT: seats/pedals/shifter/throttle response and wheel, nothing else much matters. If all those components work well also, you're ahead of the game. That's what I aim for when tweaking stuff. Top it off with the view of the gauges, over the dash, down the hood and to the road beckoning you to GO FASTER, you'll have a winner.

Last edited by DannyP
@dlearl476 posted:

Speaking of…

I saw Jackie Stewart interviewed and he was waxing poetic about some car or another and how easy it was to drive. The thing that stuck with me was Jackie saying “You should never grip the controls any harder than you would grab a woman’s …”

I have an old, thin Nardi. Nothing does it for me like driving it up the canyon with nothing but my finger tips on that skinny wheel.

Agreed. When running Watkins Glen in my Cayman I ended up using only thumbs and index fingers by the end of two days of track time. Gentle, precise steering is all that is needed. No death grip here...

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