A100 Hell Project: Finally, the Right Tachometer

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin

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.



Murilee Martin
Murilee Martin

Murilee Martin is the pen name of Phil Greden, a writer who has lived in Minnesota, California, Georgia and (now) Colorado. He has toiled at copywriting, technical writing, junkmail writing, fiction writing and now automotive writing. He has owned many terrible vehicles and some good ones. He spends a great deal of time in self-service junkyards. These days, he writes for publications including Autoweek, Autoblog, Hagerty, The Truth About Cars and Capital One.

More by Murilee Martin

Comments
Join the conversation
2 of 16 comments
  • Rpn453 Rpn453 on Jul 08, 2011

    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.

  • -Nate -Nate on Sep 16, 2012

    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

  • Probert A few mega packs would probably have served as decent backup.
  • Lou_BC Lead sleds. Now-a-days GM would just use Bondo.
  • Jrhurren This is a great series. Thanks Corey
  • Tane94 Not as stylish as the Soul which it is replacing but a practical shape and bonus points for EV only.
  • Ronin What is the magical white swan event in the foreseeable future that will suddenly reverse the trend?Success tends to follow success, and likewise failure. The perception, other than among true believers, is that e-cars are a lost cause. Neither government fiat, nor government bribery, nor even the promise of superior virtue among one's peers have been enough to push past the early adapter curve. Either the bust-out is right now for e-cars, or it doesn't happen. Marketing 101.Even subtle language-manipulation, such as deeming those possessing common sense as suffering from some sort of vague anxiety (eg, "range anxiety") has not been enough to induce people to care.Twenty years from now funny AI-generated comedians will make fun of the '20s, and their obsession with theose silly half-forgotten EVs. They will point out that, yes, EVs actually ran on electricity generated by such organic fuels as coal and natural gas after all, and then they will perform synthesized laughter at us.
Next