One of the interesting aspects of any car, or good machine for that matter is the instrumentation that comes along with it.
This week for some reason I have the fever for gauges. It started when I was looking at the dash of an old car I had found in a building on the side of the road. ( In France actually. An old one owner Bronze metalic first series Citroen CX. Right off the Mulsaine straight in LeMans . It just felt like a building that would have an old car in it. In a small room inside the building, behind closed doors, covered with a matress, & boxed in by a bookshelf.... This wonderfull old machine with perfectly straight doors, & not a dent on any of the stainless steel.)
Well, let's not get carried away with the car just yet. Someone had glued on a St Christopher medalion or something on the dash, & when removed it left a spot on the tan suede. Cutting to the chase after having purchased & imported the car, bringing it back to daily driver status after a 10 year slumber, & learning lots about engineering I had never seen before, we notice that spot on the dash when motoring along.
Great place for a gauge. That would hide the glue marks.
Digging through boxes of old gauges brought me in to visit a museum of hidden mechanical art. Some of the electrical gauges are beautiful inside, but I thought I might pursue the mechanical ones for this project. In my early days I had the great fortune of commuting in a Lancia Aurelia Spyder. Never been hit, original paint, & it still had the factory bag for the plexi-glass side windows in the trunk & the owners manual in the glove box. One of the absolute highlights of the car was the sound those light aluminum doors made when you shut them. (After opening them with that little leather covered pull cord inside.) I digress, but only to mention someone had installed a nice old 270 degree sweep vapour actuated mechanical temperature gauge in the dash to the right of the instrument cluster. It would indicate the temp with the key turned off, & for no good reason it would please me to look in the car & see the engine was still warmish after a drive, or that on hot summer days the car would warm up enough on it's own to bump the gauge off the peg.
Oh yeah. We need something like that in this CX.
Taking apart gauges tonight just to see whats inside, (& tryingto figure out how to fix these things once someone has cut the capillary supply tube,) I found these wonderfull little assemblies.
Here's the starter group I opened up:
An old 270 sweep Ashcroft:
Here's a higher quality Marsh, with an enameled face, glass lens, & adjustable zero stop. Very similar design, with a Brass body instead of the aluminum extrusion above.
Same Gauge under different lighting:
Here's a US Gauge. Exact same method of closing off the Bourdon tube & attaching the linkage. These three must have been designed under the same roof.
Ahh, A VDO manufactured under license in India. Someone took the time to make up a nice little mold & cast up the body in Brass.
A different execution of the task at hand.
For total variety here's an old Smiths I got at All Foreign Auto Wrecking when I was a kid. As I recall it came out of a nice Jaguar sedan from the fifties. It's 2 Gauges in one with oil pressure on top & water temp on the bottom. I was not the one to cut the capillary tube I must point out.
The sweep is only 80 degrees or so so it does not need the extra rod in the linkage. After looking closely at all these, this one has the nicest teeth of the lot , & the nicest feel in the hand accordingly. The well setup hairspring is a pleasure to look at. How did someone assemble it without cocking the spring ?
This may be the one when I figure out how to repair that capillary tube. I don't even have the thermo bulb to go with it .
How hard could it be ?
To be continued of course.......
Here's a few snaps of the Smiths Gauge coming together:
In the meantime I stuck the VDO in the dash.
I wasn't happy with the gauge face so here I am in the kitchen crafting another one before dinner:
Library paste & scissors. Just like old times.