Journal: Which Classic Car Had The Prettiest Gauges?

Which Classic Car Had The Prettiest Gauges?

Michael Banovsky By Michael Banovsky
July 28, 2016
25 comments

Clean, refined, and simple are the three words I’d use to describe my ideal gauges. It’s a sentence I can’t say really say aloud unless I’m in the right company—who thinks about tachometers and speedometers, anyway?

I’ve written about Avions Voisin before and its beautiful approach to the inside of a car. Because so few were made, even fewer survive, and the materials used were from a different time, they’re cars far out of reach for many of us. But the clear, crisp Jaeger gauges selected expressly for the task of allowing a Voisin driver to stay on top of the machine? Well, you can find those in all sorts of classics.

For me, it’s the refined approach of Jaeger and VDO gauges that tend to hold my gaze, if they’re lit in a dim, yellowish or even red hue at night I’m delighted. At the risk of sounding too ridiculous, ugly gauges are one of the biggest turn-offs I have when stepping into a newer car—and why must everything glow blue at night like a ’90s Timex Indiglo?

Which classic car do you think had the prettiest gauges?

Photography by Alexis Goure courtesy of RM Sotheby’s, Remi Dargegen, David Marvier

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Jonathan RollsDavid LawteylwardAlfredJoe Elmendorf Recent comment authors
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Jonathan Rolls
Jonathan Rolls

Riley Imp/MPH–1935 and what a dashboard!!!

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David Law
David Law

My ‘67 Porsche 912

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David Law
David Law

My ‘67 Porsche

teylward
teylward

I do love our Aussie XR GT.
…but I’m a little biased. Haha

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Alfred
Alfred

My FIAT 1800B, love the orange strip speedo and all the other gauges and warning lights

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Joe Elmendorf
Joe Elmendorf

These are still my favorite gauges of all time.

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Joe Elmendorf
Joe Elmendorf

Oh, right. From a Lancia Delta Integrale

Francisco De Castro
Francisco De Castro

I find French make Facel with model ssuch as Facel II and HK500 having beautifully crafeted interiors and gauges.

Mike Gallagher
Mike Gallagher

I loved my Mk9 Jaguar dash above all others although I think I could love a Speed Bentley dash more if I could afford more than just the dashboard.

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dannels
dannels

the Jaeger gauges on the Lancia Flaminia are amongst my favourites

flooglemop
flooglemop

This is a great topic. Frankly, there are too many nice gauges to have a favorite.

PDQ
PDQ

There’s something about the Smith gauges in the early Volvo 1800’s that does it for me.

Darel Matthews
Darel Matthews

Came here to say this. I actually really like the second-generation also, the white-on-black where the RPMs are fully spelled out, “1000”, “2000”, etc.

Gary Looper
Gary Looper

Veglia Borletti, Smiths, Jaeger, and 1920-30 Deco guages

Toby Erkson
Toby Erkson

I never thought about gauges. Now I will pay more attention. You’re right, some are just perfect! I agree that VDO look good but I am biased towards classic VW and Porsche. I can’t stand digital gauges; I love analog because you don’t have to look directly at them to have an idea of where the needle it and love to watch them sweep as the engine spins up and the road goes by.

Samir Shirazi
Samir Shirazi

Chrysler Imprial of late 50s or early 60s

jolocho
jolocho

Cisitalia 202SMM Spider has the most artful gauges. Mot gauges are numbers printed on a plate, they had to make it fancy.

Christopher Gay
Christopher Gay

Wow, that IS pretty fancy.

Jeffrey Edgett
Jeffrey Edgett

I like the gauges for my 1955 Willys Pickup, as the layout and chrome trim work make them stand out from the crowd: http://pin.it/wyA7ynA

RF1022
RF1022

I am in love with the gauges on my Giulia 1300.

JB21
JB21

I honestly don’t know enough about old American cars, say before 1960, but I’ve seen many old(er) American car that had incredibly beautiful, Art-Deco inspired gauges that are really interesting to look at. I love the way the gauges are laid out in old 911. I like E-type’s dash, too, that you know every single on of them would crap out sooner or later, so more gauges the better. But you know what, I think Pagani Huayra has the best dash/gauges.

moosesport
moosesport

VDO 911 gauges or E21 320i gauges.

Christopher Gay
Christopher Gay

I don’t know if I look for the “prettiest” gauges, but I do believe they should be well placed and easy to read at a mere glance. The gauges should be components of the entire design. I happen to be looking at Jones tachometer that is wanting for a home other than my bookshelf. I wouldn’t call it “pretty”, but it is very straightforward and this makes me think of Porsche’s dashes in their prototype racing cars of the sixties and seventies. Certainly not pretty, but all business. Absolutely, Michael, I don’t understand gauges in newer cars at all. In… Read more »

Toby Erkson
Toby Erkson

You can dim the gauges, generally from the headlight switch or very nearby it.

Ken Clark
Ken Clark

Jaeger, VDO, these are classics! Gauges should look like fine timepieces, pretty and pleasing to look at.