1963 Chevrolet Nova Gauge Cluster - Vital Signs

Installing Classic Instruments’ new ’63-65 Nova Cluster.

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We just recently swapped a GM Performance Parts 350 crate engine and Gearstar 700-R4 into a '63 Nova wagon (Super Chevy Nova Annual 2011). The engine and trans work flawlessly, and the car is a much better piece to drive now that the inline-six and Powerglide are gone. One thing that still sort of bothered us, though, was the lack of instrumentation from the factory. It has just a speedo and fuel gauge with the other things like oil pressure and water temp just having warning lights. We wanted the peace of mind that comes with real gauges, so we installed a cheapo triple gauge pack under the dash. Well, that works, but we wanted something that looked better and put all the gauges up in the cluster so we could keep our eyes on the road and not darting all over the place looking at needles.

Since we are in the know here at Super Chevy, we knew exactly who had what we needed. Classic Instruments just released a new gauge cluster for the '63-65 Novas that features all the gauges our car needed in a clean and easy-on-the-eyes package. The new cluster has a speedo, oil pressure, water temp, fuel, volts, and even a 10,000-rpm tach all lit up by LED lighting. The cluster is designed to use the stock outer bezel and fit into the opening in the dash without modifications.

The instruments are marine-quality and Air-Core type that are damped to minimize erratic pointer movements from things like a big lumpy cam. Basically you get high-grade electronic units like those found in luxury and modern muscle cars.

The Nova cluster comes in multiple font and color options and is wired for ease of installation. We decided on the black with orange pointer Velocity series. Since all the gauges are electronic units, Classic provides the oil and temp sensors along with a pulse signal generator to convert the cable-driven speedo to an electronic unit (it will work with electronic transmissions as well).

For the fuel gauge, Classic made that even easier by making the new gauge work with the stock 0-30 ohm sending unit so there is no need to drop the tank. The tach works with just about any ignition system out there from standard points to HEI. The instruments are thoroughly tested and certified for accuracy and quality before being boxed up for shipment. The install is pretty straightforward, requiring minimal tools, a few lengths of wire and basic wiring knowledge. If you can read a simple schematic and crimp on some terminals, you can do it.

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