Mustang Deluxe Dash – Part 1
Ever since my Dad and I redid the interior in the late ’90s/early 00’s, the car has had the standard camera case dash with an Autometer gauge cluster from JME Enterprises.
It’s a great looking piece and the white-face gauges really make a big difference. We had originally wanted to do the Deluxe Dash (it is a factory Deluxe Interior Car), but availability of the cluster at the time was limited and we didn’t want the applique method used. Fast forwarding to last year and I decided it was time to update the dash to go with a planned center console that would mimic the brushed aluminum appearance. I called up JME and they wanted over $500 to swap my gauges into a new bezel or offered me their machined aluminum bezel for almost $1000… I declined. Besides, how hard could it really be?
Quite hard it turns out.
Doesn’t look to difficult right? JME clearanced the steel backplate and fit in the gauges nicely. The fun part doesn’t appear until you pull the gauges out which happens easily with about 5 screws.
Each of those gauges has had some serious cutting and plastic removal done so that the Autometer faces fit nice and flush.
Here’s one of the small gauges. See how the plastic has been sanded down?
The new cluster by comparison has a lot of material around the gauges. In the factory installation there is a lens that goes on top of this and then the gauge mechanics, so the reason for all the support is that the gauge lights also go back here. Needless to say, there’s a lot of work ahead of me. Using a variable speed Dremel and a Tungsten Carbide Cutter (trust me, cut-off wheels are not the way to go) I went to work.
I started with one of the small gauges that was relatively easy to get to, knowing that the speedo and tach were going to be the most challenging. Patience is key… I got too greedy and cut through at one point.
Luckily, with the gauge installed it barely shows up. A touch of flat black paint and hopefully no one will ever know…
I moved on from here and completed all 3 of the small gauges in about 3 hours. Other than the one mistake above they all came out perfectly and I couldn’t be happier. Now it was onto the large holes for the speedometer and the tach. The geometry and sheer amount of material made these difficult.
That’s the result of another hour and a half of work.
I’ve still got to finish both of the holes, but one is about 80% of the way there. 4.5 hours of screwing Dremel and stretched nerves was enough for me! More to come when I finish up the bezel and reinstall the gauges.