Thanks to tech advancements in the field of digital display, we live in an age where today’s cars have beautiful, flowing digital gauges. Audi’s MMI system and its Virtual Cockpit, as an example, is a 12.3-inch master class in design.
Not too many years ago, though, it was completely different. Prehistoric electronics, combined with a race by manufacturers to out-spaceship each other, led to more than a few sets of gauges that had to be studied like tax forms.
TTAC Commentator Arthur Dailey writes:
Thanks very much for posting my question. Your answer and the comments from others were most informative. How about another?
We now have only 2 licensed drivers in our home. We do however have 3 licensed cars in the driveway. Please do not ask about the project car in the garage. 2 of the cars are our ‘daily’ drives, the 3rd is used primarily on weekends. We live less than 3 minutes from a 400 series highway in Ontario. That means that the cars can be required to reach highway speed before they are ‘warmed up’.
My normal practice last winter was to get up, start all the cars, turn off all possible drains on the batteries. Then take the dog to the park across the street, stretch our legs and let him do his business. After about 10 minutes we return. I then turn on the heater/defrost on the 2 cars that we will be driving and scrape/brush them. When this is completed, I turn all 3 cars off and go back into the house to get myself ready for work. You may all remember what last winter was like and the upcoming winter is supposed to be similar.
Now I understand that idling is environmentally irresponsible. And possibly against by-laws in some areas. That however is a discussion for another forum.
TTAC Commentator jco writes:
I have a quick but also possibly interesting question: in new VWs with DSG, the LCD info on the dash will tell you exactly what gear number you are in. Obviously with this particular transmission it’s necessary to do this. but why can’t other cars with conventional transmissions, either automatic or manual, have this small but useful feature? have other cars featured this?
Given the sudden multiplication of available gears in upcoming transmissions which have been a hot topic on TTAC recently, maybe it should be mandatory in a future sedan with an 8 speed transmission.
Also, FYI, my phone autocorrected your name to Sanjeev.
After I photographed today’s Junkyard Find in a Colorado self-service wrecking yard, I agonized over that digital instrument cluster. I have this crazy idea that I can hack old digital instrument clusters and operate them with an Arduino microcontroller, so that I can have a display on my office wall to go with my collection of weird diecast toy cars. It started out innocently enough, with this 1983 Mitsubishi Cordia cluster, and then I got the digital cluster out of a 50th Anniversary Nissan 300ZX. Once you have two 1980s Japanese digital dashes, you have a [s]problem[/s] collection, right? That was my logic when I bought the digital dash out of this 1984 Toyota Cressida. Even though I’m getting too ambitious with this Arduino-ized-digital-dash project, I felt I had no choice but to go back the next day and grab the XT Turbo’s cluster. So I did.
There’s no way I’m going to spot a junked 80s Japanese car with the optional super-futuristic digital dash and not go back and buy that instrument cluster. So, now I’ve got a genuine digital dash collection going on, adding the Cressida cluster to my ’84 Nissan 300ZX Turbo cluster and my ’83 Mitsubishi Cordia Turbo cluster.
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.
Nearly two months have gone by since the last Name That Car Clock challenge (a Lincoln Town Car timepiece of uncertain vintage), but I’ve got dozens of additional car clocks in my collection of junkyard prizes. Today, we’ve got a tough one— a generic-looking analog flanked by oil-pressure and ammeter gauges in an underdash cluster. Quartz car clocks have been around since at least the early 1970s, and this one doesn’t show any country-of-origin identifiers. Before you make the jump, make your best guess about the year/make/model of the car from which I extracted this chronometer.
I’ve started this series with all analog clocks, but I think I’m going to dip into my extensive collection of digital automotive timepieces pretty soon. For today, however, we’ll stay old-school with another hand-equipped unit. This one has some heavy-duty-upscale Roman numerals and the right-turn signal indicator built in, so you know it came from a car that at least aspired to prestige (though it’s not a Ford Aspire). Study this clock, make your best guess, and then click the “More” link to see if you had it right.
In yesterday’s Name That Car Clock challenge, we went all the way back to 1965 and admired a beautiful, though admittedly nonfunctional, Oldsmobile timepiece. Today, we’re going with something from my collection of junkyard-harvested clocks that’s a bit newer. Quick, what’s the year/make/model of the car that yielded this clock to my junkyard toolkit?
We saw a Porsche 944 clock in yesterday’s Name That Car Clock challenge, and today we’re going to dig even deeper into my big collection of automobile timepieces for a really tough one. I love the look of this clock so much that I bought it knowing it didn’t work (I bring a 12-volt battery pack to the junkyard when I’m hunting clocks). You decide what year/make/model vehicle gave me this clock, then make the jump to see if your guess was correct.
As we go through and attempt to identify the clocks in my junkyard-derived collection, our last NTCC challenger came from a 1987 Saab 900 Turbo. Today’s clock was also made by VDO, but it didn’t come from a Saab. This call will be tough, because plenty of cars got timepieces very similar to this one over the years. Make your guess as to the year/make/model, then make the jump to see how geeked-out a car-trivia expert you are.
Yesterday’s Name That Car Clock challenger came from a ’74 Fiat 124 Spider. That clock was very dignified, in a cool Italian sort of way. Today’s NTCC contestant is much more festive, though it’s not from a Ford Festiva. Decide what year/make/model vehicle produced this clock, then make the jump to see if you were right.
I’ve been harvesting car clocks at junkyards for a few years now, stockpiling them for a project that requires at least two dozen functioning timepieces. Here’s one of the prizes of my collection. Believe it or not, this elderly mechanical clock, from a country not known for reliable machinery, still works! So, guess the year/make/model of the car that yielded this fine clock for my collection, then make the jump to see if you were right.
Yesterday, we saw a majestic Cartier chronometer out of a ’76 Lincoln Continental Mark IV, which was a pretty easy call for many of you. Today’s NTCC contestant should be a little more difficult, though it should be an obvious call to certain single-marque-obsessed types. Make your guess, then make the jump to see what it is. Year/make/model?