Friday, October 14, 2011

The Dash Cluster a Clutter?

Well I dunno about you but it seems electronics have now taken over our motor vehicles and they have turned the humble automobile dash into a thing of well, dash clutter.

I mean, what do you really need to know is happening in your car?

Speed ...... tick
Water temp ...... tick
Petrol ...... tick

1967 XR Falcon

Anything else, such as battery charging and oil pressure, are covered by warning lights: they come on when you turn on the ignition; then they go off if everything is OK.  What could be easier than that?  The upside is that you are not unduly distracted and you can keep your eyes on the road and check out the chicks that are checking you out.  (I know, I know, I'm dreamin'!)

But if you were a rev head and wanted to impress ya mates, you'd go for the sports dash.

XC Falcon GS

I must admit that I really like this dash design in a late 70s Falcon.  I've owned a couple of XC Falcons and I'd like to have one now.  The major addition was the rev counter.  That's it on the left with the red thingy.  I dunno why they put it there, engine valve bounce gave you an aural warning that you were over revving  the engine long before you got to the red line, saving you from even looking at the dash.  The other gauge was for oil pressure.

XE Falcon ESP
What were they thinking with that steering wheel?  The dash cluster won a design award for Ford in the early 80s so the competition must have been pretty crook.  We have an extra gauge now - the battery charging thingy.

This is the same dash in my ute which is a 2002 model.  I find it is a nice easy-to-read-at-a-glance design, and I also like the colours: red on blue.

Elctronics are starting to make their presence felt. The illumination is by LEDs, the old bulbs have been ditched.  The LEDs are brighter, and they do not give off any heat.  In this picture, the white LEDs have been replaced by blue ones.  You can replace them with any colour you like.  I'd like to get mine changed over to blue, but the dash has to be removed and every LED replaced.  It is quite a time consuming job.

BF XR Falcon (I think)
Quite a compact design, but I don't see it as an improvement over the AU series, particularly the speedo - it is very hard to read your exact speed because the cluster goes up to 260km/h!!  Many manufacturers do this - why don't they have a maximum of say 150 thereby spacing out the intervals to make judging your exact speed a lot easier.

The reason the dash cluster is smaller is because there is a lot of electronic items competing for space now.  So they introduced more displays in the centre console stack.

FG Falcon
Wow, talk about a cluster you know what.!  But wait there's more




To save you from looking up the links BOAB mentions in the comments, I'll post them here:

BOAB rides bikes, need I say any more?


  1. Dash from one of my early cars:

    The speedo was a ribbon - best idea for a speedo I've ever seen. Never got needle wobble and it's really easy to read. And the steering wheel was nice and skinny, so you could look through it and see the dash.

    Have a look at the gear stick and see if you can work out how to find reverse. None of my mates could ever work it out first time.

  2. Another view:

  3. Pick reverse? Lift up the thingy on the gear shift.