A couple months ago we installed a set of gauges in a '70 Camaro that were fully integrated into a stock cluster. While these gauges are cool in their own right, they don't have a race-inspired look that a round-style Auto Meter gives off. This story will be just that, what goes into installing a full selection of electronic Auto Meter gauges into a '69 El Camino.
There are a few ways you can get the gauges into the dash, but we are going with the easiest route. Instead of spending a day or two fabricating a dash panel or tweaking the factory piece, we are going to use a Classic Dash panel. The Classic Dash panels are molded from UV-resistant ABS plastic designed to replace the factory panel/cluster and give you a clean base to install gauges. The panels can be ordered in blank or pre-drilled configurations in three different finishes: black, brushed aluminum, or carbon-fiber. Classic Dash also offers all the accessories you might need to complete your installation like, sending units, LED's for the turn signals, and wiring harnesses. Classic Dash has panels for Camaro, Chevelle, Nova, Monte Carlo and Corvette along with full-size truck applications from 1960-1987, so if you have a Chevy the company most likely has you covered.
To fill our panel, we picked up Auto Meter's American Muscle short sweep gauges. These gauges feature a sweet stainless face with through- the-dial lighting, and 90-degree air core movements. All are an electrical style, so all but the speedo come with the necessary sending units. The speedos will work with most electronic transmissions, but a pulse generator/speed sensor will be needed for older cable-style transmissions. The speedo features a 160 mph top speed, LCD odometer with two resettable trip meters, and Auto Meter's E-Z Cal calibration system. The E-Z Cal makes calibration easy: Push a button, drive two miles, and push a button again.
The other gauges are pretty standard in their functions volt shows volts, tach shows rpm, etc. But one thing to note is the fuel gauge. It is made to work with our '69 El Caminos 0-90ohm fuel sending units rating so we won't need to drop the tank or come up with some sort of resistor. With these products, the job is pretty dang easy and will only require a basic understanding of wiring, hand tools and some time. We also added a new dash pad and steering wheel to complete the overall interior package (for details, check the captions).
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