The restoration of your vehicle is super important to you, settling for nothing but the best for your project is a completely natural and common desire. But the instrument clusters available to replace broken and busted originals are far difficult to find and near impossible to actually stuff in your dash. We’ve picked out some of the best to do a side by side comparison to help you find the highest quality, ease of install, and most innovative and versatile gauges to help you find the perfect fit for your classic.
Dakota Digital Gauges
Dakota Digital Gauges are at the top of our list for a reason. These gauges are incredible with attention to detail, matching as closely as possible the original appearance of your vintage gauges with seamless integration of modern technological advances. Some of the best of their product lineup are the RTX, HDX, VHX series all of which are run off an incredibly easy to install central control box streamlining the conversion process.
The RTX series gauge cluster looks to be fully original given a casual glance, but comes equipped standard with a digital LED tachometer nestled in with the speedometer, Accurate original appearing gauges for water temperature, Fuel level, and voltmeter functions as well as an unobtrusive digital display containing an odometer, (A/B) trip meter, 12 hour clock, and estimated fuel range calculation functions. The RTX series also customizable with a variable backlight color and intensity feature to make your ride truly your own. If you’re looking for a more accurate, perfectly blended modern classic the RTX is the series gauge for you. Available for a plethora of vehicles and model years, look for the perfect fit here at Tuckers Classic Auto Parts.
The HDX Series is there for those of you who like less of a digital look, but still want the ease of maintenance and performance tracking that comes with the conversion to a digital gauge cluster. With Analog appearing gauges for the speedometer, tachometer, fuel level, oil temperature, water temperature, and voltmeter, these gauges hold close to the original feel of driving a true classic, but with dual digital message centers it allows you to have more information at your fingertips, in a far more easily readable format. Equipped with all the features of the RDX as well as additional performance meters including a 0-60 timer, ¼ and ⅛ mile times and top speeds, and high speed and high RPM recall. The HDX series is also available in many makes, models, and years. Find yours here.
The VHS Series provides the best bang for your buck of the three series, being the most modern in appearance and most streamlined. This series comes standard with analog gauges for the speedometer, tachometer, fuel level, oil temperature, water temperature, and voltmeter. It’s LED display is much smaller and simpler in appearance. With only the odometer, dual trip meter, and clock functions it is the most stripped-down of the series. However, it maintains all the performance functions available in the HDX making it perfect for many different performance applications. Backlights available in red, blue, and white, it maintains the customizability standard in all Dakota Digital Gauges. Available models and years can be found here.
Classic Instruments are another of the best instrument cluster brands out there, Highly specialized on producing incredible Gauges for a limited number of Ford, Chevy, and Mopar vehicles, their gauges are highly customizable allowing for a personalized selection of pointer needles, and gauge lenses allowing for that custom feel in a bolt-in replacement. If you are looking for a new old stock replacement, this is about as close as you’re going to get it. Additionally, Classic instruments provide full support with available replacement senders and workings for most gauges.
Direct Fit Gauges
Their Direct Fit Gauges come only in Chevy and Ford vehicles and are a simple bot in replacement for most vehicles. They come with no extra bells and whistles, just a perfect fit and vintage appearance. Classic instruments do offer however, many upgrades and replacements for your instrument cluster including turn signal lights, high beam indicators, and LED Backlights, in addition to the aforementioned Gauge lenses, and replacement needles. Current pricing and model availability can be found here.
Universal Fit Gauges
Classic Instruments also sells universal fit Gauges not tailored so specifically to any particular model, but also not conforming as closely to the vehicle fitment, providing a lower cost, high-quality option when paired with their dash insert kits. All universal fit gauges are fully customizable with turn signal indicators, high beam indicators, led backlights, and the lot. These Gauges also come in performance options for your street or drag car build. Keep a keen eye on your engine health and performance with these performance spec options.
Lastly, the service that really makes Classic Instruments stand out is their retrofitting option. Retrofitting in this instance is referring to a rework of all current gauges converting to the modern electronic movements contained within the original gauge housing. Improving precision and durability while keeping your dash looking just as it always has. They even have a collection of original dashes you can have them retrofit and send to you if you want to keep it original but are missing a dash, or your dash is just beyond repair. Combined with their collection of replacement senders this option provides a complete and dependable alternative to buying replacement gauges. Helping keep your little piece of history, a little more original.