By on June 30, 2011


The thing about my ’66 Dodge A100 van project that makes it a challenge is that I’m going for an early 1970s customization job, not the far easier late 1970s routine. My van won’t have Aztecs On Mars airbrush murals or a wood-burning stove (not that there’s anything wrong with those things), but it does have a telephone-handset-style 23-channel CB radio, (faux) Cragar S/S wheels, and now it has a Watergate-burglary-era cheap aftermarket tachometer.

You could buy this type of no-name tach from J.C. Whitney or Manny, Moe, and Jack for at least two solid decades. It’s got the right blend of 50s industro-chic and Early Malaise Era plasticky cheapness to go with my Sportsman Custom’s instrument cluster, which probably cost Chrysler about $4.17 to make. It will look just right bolted to the steering column.

I’m pretty sure the 4-6-8 selector feature on generic tachometers didn’t appear until the 1980s, but the Japanese factory that made these things probably didn’t change the essential design from its early-60s original until Gulf War I.

I picked up this gauge at the same yard that gave me the TBI intake for my van’s eventual Megasquirt conversion. Right now, the fuel tank is getting cleaned and having a return-line fitting added, so an EFI 318 should be powering my van in the not-incredibly-distant future.

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16 Comments on “A100 Hell Project: Finally, the Right Tachometer...”


  • avatar

    Nicely done. I woulda killed for a 4-6-8 switch on the Turbo Coupe tach I installed in my non-turbo Cougar. Three tachs and $75+ later, I finally have one that reads a V8 pulse. (It now has a boost gauge for future fun)

  • avatar

    Cool tach. I don’t know about the generic models, but I’ve got a Hawk “Mario Andretti” tach with a 4-6-8 selector; I believe those were set up that way since at least 1969-70. The “6” setting works just fine for a three-cylinder, two-stroke engine.

    • 0 avatar
      MoppyMop

      This raises the question: what would you do if you wanted to hook one of these things up to, say, a 5-cyl Audi or Volvo?

      (Of course, the rational answer would be that attaching an electric accessory of questionable quality to a Swedish/German electrical system of even worse quality is probably not a good idea.)

    • 0 avatar

      6 also works for rotary engines (at least the most common two rotor Mazda ones).

  • avatar
    cmoibenlepro

    How does it works?

  • avatar

    Another accessory to seek it is perhaps a Fuzzbuster radar detector. I’ve got one with the optional wood grain that I sit in my 70s Mazda on occasional. I have no idea if it would work but I like the vibe.

    photo of it – http://www.flickr.com/photos/daveseven/167903357/

    • 0 avatar
      Educator(of teachers)Dan

      Cool idea, but if I was going to do that I’d want to figure out how to put modern radar detector internals in the old Fuzzbuster just so it would be more than a conversation piece.

  • avatar
    racebeer

    What?!?!?!?

    No classic Sun or S/W tach from the 60’s?? Of course, with the price of those items running a few hundred on eBay, I can understand your reluctance.

  • avatar
    Slow_Joe_Crow

    The 4-6-8 switch would perfect on the dash of a malaise era Cadillac as a manual override for V8-6-4 engine system.

  • avatar
    obbop

    Outtasight’ rebuild story.

    Carpenter I knew in Californy back in the 70s and 80s had one and used it for his job.

    A cool machine.

    No customization; a fine-condition unaltered work van.

    Keep the updates coming!!!!!

  • avatar
    tiredoldmechanic

    I presume you will cap this off with the 1.5″ gauge trio (chrome of course)and a Kenwood cassette deck? Also an “electrical clip” with a feather in it, clipped to the sunshade, would help capture that “period correct” ambiance you seek.

  • avatar
    west-coaster

    Shouldn’t you have a matching Mile-O-Meter, which became all the rage after the first OPEC embargo?

  • avatar
    rpn453

    I put a modern – all black plastic, circular readout – version of that tach on my ’87 Grand Am. “Seriously, the Iron Duke is capable of over 10,000 rpm. See! Do you really think it would sound that rough at only 5200?”

    I enjoyed that car.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    A Madman Muntz stereo is what it needs…..

    ” Motor Minders ” were in vouge in the 1950’s and again in the late 1970’s , they’re very useful for proper tuning and diagnosis once you learn how to read them .

    Old Boat Tachometers typically only go to 6 K RPM’s and so are much better in stock vintage vehicles .

    In 1967 in rural New Hampshire , I logged more miles in a Dodge A-100 Sportsman than you’d think possible , it was a sturdy truck , just right for dragging 8 kids or tools around .

    We even drove it to Canada a few times .

    -Nate


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