Don't Try This At Home: Yes, I Bought the 300ZX Digital Instrument Cluster

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin

When I saw today’s Junkyard Find at my local self-serve junkyard, I knew that I had to own that incredible digital dash. You see, I’ve already got a Mitsubishi Cordia Turbo digital instrument cluster, which means I’m collecting this stuff now.

Someone had already started tearing up the dash before I got there, but the cluster appeared to be in good shape. I had only a Phillips screwdriver and a needlenose pliers with me (which I brought in order to grab the headlight switch from a ’68 Dodge D-100, in order to replace the flaky ’78 Dodge camper switch in my ’66 Dodge A-100), but that was all I needed to yank the 300ZX’s cluster. Just $20.99 at U-Pull-&-Pay! The 50 or so connectors on the wiring harness look intimidating, but I’ll grab a factory shop manual and puzzle it all out.

With the help of brainy geek and LeMons racer Quinn Dunki, I’m working on getting the Cordia cluster to function as a wall-mounted display in my office, operated by an Arduino microcontroller. Now, of course, I’ll need to do the same with this 300ZX cluster. After that, I’ll need a Subaru XT digital dash and maybe a touchscreen Electronic Control Center out of a late-80s Buick.

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.

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  • Mburm201 Mburm201 on Aug 08, 2012

    For the Buick touch screen, I would recommend a 1989 Riviera screen. That was the most advanced version with a cool Buick emblem on startup and a function to set reminders. You will need the controller box, as the screen itself is just a dumb monitor. I always wanted to hack into my '87 screen to extend the functionality, but I could never find good documentation on it. GM was about 20 years ahead of the industry on the dashboard touchscreen, and I thought it was well done for the time.

  • Modelt1918 Modelt1918 on Aug 08, 2012

    forgetaboutit mr2bz, Murilee won't tell you. I tried also!

    • Scoutdude Scoutdude on Aug 09, 2012

      Read the article it was in there with a nice clickable link to the yard's website.

  • Jonathan IMO the hatchback sedans like the Audi A5 Sportback, the Kia Stinger, and the already gone Buick Sportback are the answer to SUVs. The A5 and the AWD version of the Stinger being the better overall option IMO. I drive the A5, and love the depth and size of the trunk space as well as the low lift over. I've yet to find anything I need to carry that I can't, although I admit I don't carry things like drywall, building materials, etc. However, add in the fun to drive handling characteristics, there's almost no SUV that compares.
  • C-b65792653 I'm starting to wonder about Elon....again!!I see a parallel with Henry Ford who was the wealthiest industrialist at one time. Henry went off on a tangent with the peace ship for WWI, Ford TriMotor, invasive social engineering, etc. Once the economy went bad, the focus fell back to cars. Elon became one of the wealthiest industrialist in the 21st century. Then he went off with the space venture, boring holes in the ground venture, "X" (formerly Twitter), etc, etc, etc. Once Tesla hit a plateau and he realized his EVs were a commodity, he too is focused on his primary money making machine. Yet, I feel Elon is over reacting. Down sizing is the nature of the beast in the auto industry; you can't get around that. But hacking the Super Charger division is like cutting off your own leg. IIRC, GM and Ford were scheduled to sign on to the exclusive Tesla charging format. That would have doubled or tripled his charging opportunity. I wonder what those at the Renaissance Center and the Glass House are thinking now. As alluded to, there's blood in the water and other charging companies will fill the void. I believe other nations have standardized EV charging (EU & China). Elon had the chance to have his charging system as the default in North America. Now, he's dropped the ball. He's lost considerable influence on what the standardized format will eventually be. Tremendous opportunity lost. 🚗🚗🚗
  • Tassos I never used winter tires, and the last two decades I am driving almost only rear wheel drive cars, half of them in MI. I always bought all season tires for them, but the diff between touring and non touring flavors never came up. Does it make even the smallest bit of difference? (I will not read the lengthy article because I believe it does not).
  • Lou_BC ???
  • Lou_BC Mustang sedan? 4 doors? A quarterhorse?Ford nomenclature will become:F Series - Pickups Raptor - performance division Bronco - 4x4 SUV/CUVExplorer - police fleetsMustang- cars