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Author Topic:   Gauge recommendations that keep that classic feel
c1walts posted 07-10-2013 03:16 PM ET (US)   Profile for c1walts   Send Email to c1walts  
I've been thinking about finally getting a tachometer and compass for my 1983 13' SS, but want something that aligns with the 'classic' feel. Does anyone have any suggestions? My engine is a similar year (don't know exact) Mercury 40hp. The tach will be drilled into the 'plate' next to the steering wheel, and I plan on having the compass mounted on the 'self' right above the steering wheel. Thanks for the input!
jimh posted 07-12-2013 03:22 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
The Boston Whaler boat did not appear until about c.1960. By that time, I believe the VDO company was already making their black-background dial-face dial-pointer gauges, typically with white lettering in a San-Serif typeface, and with a dial pointer that tapered toward the pointer end. That is what I would describe as a gauge having a classic look.

I don't know about the tactile characteristics of those VDO gauges, so I don't know how they feel. But they look to me like a "classic" gauge.

The VDO style gauge was very influential on other marine gauge manufacturers, and I would characterize many of the gauges made today as being in the VDO style or a derivative style. On that basis, I would say that any black-background dial-pointer gauge with white lettering and a white tapered dial pointer would be compatible with a classic Boston Whaler boat in terms of maintaining a classic look.

There are some modern gauges now being made with a very retro style, with white backgrounds and using black type with Serifs. Gauges of this style are much too old for being c.1960 gauges, and I would characterize them as more like c.1930's gauges. I would not include them as suitable for maintaining a classic look on a c.1960 or newer Boston Whaler boat.

Thus, in opinion, there are plenty of options in the market now of new gauges which are suitable for you desire to maintain a classic look (or "feel"). Just get round dial pointer gauges, with black backgrounds, white type in a San-Serif face, and a tapering dial pointer. For a variation you could use red type and dial pointers, but I think that is not quite a classic if looking for that c.1960 VDO gauge style.

jimh posted 07-30-2013 10:05 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Did anyone else have any suggestions about boat gauges with a classic look?
L H G posted 07-31-2013 12:59 AM ET (US)     Profile for L H G    
For a 1983 Whaler and a 1983 Mercury, you should find a same vintage Mercury tach. Ebay would be a good place to find one, or maybe a long time Mercury dealer might have one in his shop.

During this period, the Mercury gauges were called "Red International". They have a flat glass surface with raised edge trim. Background is black, with white numbers and a fairly wide red pointer. Nightlighting was also red.

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