They say knowledge is power but when it comes to horsepower, you need to know what’s going on underhood at any given moment. It doesn’t matter if it’s a race car or your daily driver, having vital engine temperature, oil pressure, rpm, speed, and other important vehicle information can help you maximize performance and quickly diagnose potential problems. However, a cluttered instrument panel can also be distracting, and can actually make it harder to monitor multiple engine functions with a single glance while you’re driving.
Digital gauges offer one solution, as they can be programmed to display multiple functions at one time and show actual numerical readings. Auto Meter took this a step further with its digital Pro-Comp Pro Street Dash that has the capability of monitoring multiple engine functions, including your speed and engine rpm, as well as oil, water, fuel pressures and temperatures, lap times, and battery voltage. It also features programmable warning lights for low pressures or high temperatures, and incorporates them all into a single compact unit that eliminates the need for multiple gauges.
Because our project F73 Camaro is destined to see some serious road racing and autocross events, the Auto Meter Street Dash seemed like a perfect fit. It allows for all of the Camaro’s engine functions to be displayed in a single unit that features a large backlit analog tachometer and a digital display screen. It also gives our Camaro’s dash a pretty sporty look. But more than just the look, the Auto Meter dash was originally designed for racing applications, so it features a very durable wiring harness that plugs into the main display unit, which can also withstand vibration, dust, dirt, and water … yes, even water!
Installing the Po-Comp Street Dash is relatively simple to do on a race vehicle that normally doesn’t have any sort of dash or instrument cluster. But for our Camaro, it required a new blank dash panel, which we ordered from Classic Dash in Carson City, Nevada. The panel is a direct replacement for ’70-78 Camaros and features the factory headlamp switch and washer holes that are precut into the molded, UV-resistant ABS panel with a black finish. Classic Dash also manufactures these panels in billet aluminum and carbon fiber, allowing you to customize your instrument panel with any assortment of gauges you like.
Fortunately for us, we would only need to insert the single Auto Meter unit into the dash panel, but to do so still required some custom fabrication. This is one of the reasons why we asked Bruce Monroe of A&E Motorsports in Santa Fe Springs, California, to assist us with this install. Monroe began by measuring and trimming the center of the Classic Dash blank gauge panel to house the Auto Meter unit. The instructions that came with the Auto Meter Dash give the unit’s dimensions, which makes it easy to cut out the triangular-shaped hole to fit it perfectly into the new dash panel.