Customer Service 1-844-3-Gauges (844-342-8437)

Smart Buyers Guide

Choose gauges for your street rod the smart way!

What's the big difference in gauges? 

Aftermarket automotive instrument sets can range from $199 to $499 or more for a speedometer and four instruments with sending units! 

Why is there such a big difference in price? Is there that much difference in quality? We hope the following information will help you ask the right questions before you buy!

What you may - and may not get in your instrument set!

Some manufacturers will furnish the more cheaply-built "wiggler"-type of movement in their gauge set and claim their set is "all-electric." Regrettably these manufacturers can legally advertise and market even the "wigglers" as being "all-electric" . . . so much for "truth in advertising." 

But the differences can be as great as between the fuel gauge used on a riding lawn-mover and the one used in a $150,000 luxury European car! 

This is the same reason why some retail auto parts stores can advertise "under-dash mounting panels with three electrical gauges and senders - all for $39.95"! 

How some manufacturers or distributors cut costs! The most common cost-cutting method is assembling instruments with "utility" or "industrial grade" movements - that are usually designed and built for use in industrial applications such as lift-trucks or road-graders. Instruments with these movements would not be the best choice for a quality-built street rod, drag-strip car or a custom show car! 

And still another cost-cutter - Be careful when you order up a new set of "bargain-priced" gauges! Check to insure if the "bargain set" contains everything you will need! One "bargain set" out there does NOT include the Signal Generator for the speedometer - and if you want the speedo to work, you will need to order the Signal Generator separately - for another $85 or so!

Watch people watch!

Observe and note the way people view your special car! Usually they begin with a walk around the outside and then the second thing they will do is pop their head inside to look at the dash-board! 

We have confirmed this hundreds of times; it is simply the way most people react when admiring your car. 

The bottom line is that the first impression people get is the overall exterior "look," and usually the second impression is based on what they observe on the dashboard! 

This is not the time to congratulate yourself on how "good a deal" you bargained into on just "any old set of gauges" or how you made a hurried decision because you couldn't wait any longer to get your pride and joy on the road! 

A compromise on the dashboard (or the steering wheel) that results in something that "just doesn't look right”, or "just doesn't fit the overall look and style of your car," will quickly erode everything you have tried to accomplish! 

Forget the thousands of dollars under the car, in the chassis, the engine, etc. If your dashboard has that "bargain" set of gauges it simply will not project that feeling of style, design, or overall taste and quality that you have spent so much time and money to achieve! 

Choosing the correct instruments goes far beyond "looking for a bargain." Your choice of instruments and senders should be a decision based on a quality judgment that will add value to your special project car! 

Since you--and everyone else--will be watching your dashboard, select the instruments that will compliment the style and color of your car's interior and exterior. Don't let "bargain" gauges compromise your efforts!


  • Will the manufacturer talk directly to me if I need assistance in ordering?
  • Will my instrument set be complete so I don't have to go "Saturday-shopping" for special adapters, bushings, etc.?
  • Is the manufacturer a leader in the design and manufacturing of the type of instruments I want for my car?
  • Are instrument dimensions and threads designed to US-SAE standards, rather than a foreign-made standard?
  • Are the instrument lenses - including the clocks - made of glass - instead of lexan or plastics?
  • Does the factory-warranty period extend for at least three years?
  • Will a defective product be replaced with a new, off-the-shelf unit under warranty?
  • Are the instruments really manufactured in the U.S.A. - and not just final-assembled in the U.S.A. from foreign sub-assemblies and components?
  • Is every speedometer the company manufacturers the electronic programmable type that can be easily installed and calibrated by the car-owner?
  • Will a fuel-gauge be included in the set that will read correctly - even if connected to another manufacturers tank sender?
  • Are the instruments "dampened" to minimize most of the erratic movements the pointer might be subjected to from road vibration?
  • Will my instruments be of the "Air-Core" and "marine-quality" type and not the cheaper "utility" or "industrial" grade?
  • Are the Gold Bezels real Gold-finish over solid stainless and hand-polished - instead of just "clear-coated" brass?
  • Is technical help available direct from a factory technician to assist with installation or trouble-shooting problems?
  • Can I order factory-direct quick and easy, if my local dealer is out of stock or doesn't carry the exact items I need?
  • Is the company's main business designing and manufacturing instruments for street rods - and not just one or two percent of a much larger business?
  • Is the company owned and operated by street rodders dedicated to top-quality, cutting-edge design, and customer service?
  • Does the manufacturer understand the many different application requirements and parts combinations used in street rods and specialty cars?

Your concern for quality is demonstrated by your desire to build a street rod! Don't compromise the hundreds of hours of time and labor invested in your project car so far!

If the manufacturer or dealer offers you a "too good to be true" deal - ask him the same questions we just highlighted above! And be prepared to shop elsewhere when he cannot answer "Yes" to each and every one of the above questions!

Classic Instruments™ can answer "YES" to every one of the above questions! We hope that makes us the kind of company you will like dealing with! Just ask the street rodder running the real "Classics" in his car - we think you will like what you hear!

You're in good company when you choose "Classics"!