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Digital Age

Replacing '59 Impala Dials With Numeric Readouts

By Saul Vargas, Photography by Saul Vargas

The lavish chrome and Buck Rogers styling of dashboards from the late-'50s and early '60s are funky enough in stock form for many custom fans. Others, however, like to push the styling envelope even further by blending those kitschy, retro, rocket-age elements with truly modern ingredients like digital instrumentation.

The crew at Bow Tie Connection in San Pedro, California, recently had a customer from the latter camp. He wanted digital instruments in his '59 Impala, and Sal at Bow Tie Connection knew just where to turn: Dakota Digital. The company offers many styles of stand-alone digital dials, as well as specific-fit kits for a wide variety of applications, including '59 and '60 Chevys.

Like most modern instruments, those from Dakota Digital are electronic in operation, meaning, they use sensors that send electric pulses to the instruments. In this case, the pulses are sent to a control box--an electronic brain if you will--which interprets them and sends vital information to the appropriate gauge. This means that the instruments themselves actually take up very little space behind the gauge cluster, and the compact control box can be mounted out of the way in any number of locations.

As you'll see in the accompanying photos, installing the Dakota Digital setup is a pretty straightforward affair. Check out how Sal did it and see what you think.

Bow Tie Connection
476 W. Fifth St.
San Pedro
CA  90731
By Saul Vargas
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