Corvette Gauges & Gauge Clusters . . . .
1963 - 1967 Small Gauges. As with everything with the new Sting Ray for 1963, the gauges were all updated to match the great styling of the car. The four small gauges gave an indication of vital engine operations. Remember, these gauges were not designed to tell you exactly what was going on, more so to provide you with information if something was changing. In ‘63 these gauges were a shiny black faced with pale green numbers. The ‘63 gauges had a brushed aluminum cone in the center and the ‘64 used a black ribbed cone with the same face color and number color. These cones are removable allowing these two gauges to be interchangeable. The florescent red/orange needle was slightly “bent” to match the speedo and tach. Two oil pressure gauges were available in ‘63/’64. 30/60 psi gauges were used in ‘63 cars until late model run at which time a 40/80 psi gauge was used. This later gauge was used in all ‘64 cars.
The ’65/’67 small gauges changed to a flat gauge painted semi-flat black. The numbers were the same pale green color. The needles were painted a florescent red/orange with a brushed aluminum button in the middle. The temperature gauge read 240 degrees in ‘65 and changed to 250 degrees with yellow/red line also added. 60# oil gauges were used on hydraulic lifter equipped engines with the 80# oil gauge used on the solid lifter engines. These small gauges are now being reproduced in a more reliable solid state version.
The lenses of ‘63 gauges are concave plastic. ‘64/’67 lenses,except the speed warning cars are concave glass. (Speed warning cars used concave plastic lenses for the speedo & tach). It should be noted that the clocks on all ‘63/’67 corvettes used a concave plastic lens.
1953 - 1958 Small Gauges. As with all Chevy cars in 1953, the electrical system was 6 volt. In 1955 when Corvette introduced a new V-8 engine, electrical systems were now 12 volt. Another item that changed was the temperature gauge. In mid-1956, there was a change to electric temperature gauges from the mechanical type used from 1953. Some early 1956 Corvettes may of had the older mechanical gauge. The design of the small gauges included a inner chrome bezel with a “button” as part of the chrome which changed in 1959. The chrome bezel had the words, FUEL, TEMP, etc. cut into it with a red filter to make the words stand out in red. These gauges were illuminated from behind with a single bulb. The gauge itself had a flat black sheet metal background with a plastic dial plate with the numbers and markings in a pale green color. This plastic piece was crimped on to the background plate. The needles are painted an off white color with straight sides with a rounded blunt point. As these gauges got older, the electrical coils that made the gauge operate were prone to burning out and have to be replaced. The plastic lenses of the ‘53/’58 are convex. As of this writing, there are no ‘53/’57 gauge reproductions.
1959 - 1962 Small Gauges. The design of the small gauges changed in 1959. First the inner chrome bezel, lost the “button” so that the chrome goes straight across. The gauges went from having the markings on plastic to being screened onto a semi-flat black sheet metal dial face. The ‘59 needles continued with the straight sides with a rounded blunt point, while the ‘60/’62 needles are tapered with a sharp point. In ‘59 the needles and markings were an off white color, while the ‘60/’62 needles and markings were a pale green. The plastic lenses of the ‘59/62 are concave. They are interchangeable with the ‘53/’58 lenses but would not be correct. These small gauges are now being reproduced in a more reliable solid state version.
1966 - Gauge Cluster
1968 - 1982 Small Gauges. 1968 ushered in the C3 Shark Style Corvette and saw the small gauges move from the drivers line of sight to the center console. A clock with a face size the same as the other four engine gauges was added to this cluster of gauges. In 1968 the gauges were painted a semi-flat black with pale green numbers and markings. The needles painted a florescent red/orange with a Chrome plated button in the middle. In 1972 the faces changed to white numbers and markings with the same needle.
1957 - Gauge Cluster
1968 - Gauge Cluster
1978/82 - Gauge Cluster
1962 - Gauge Cluster