Project Land Speed Racer 240SX: All the Right Gauges
by Stephen Quinn
Photos by Joe Lu and Chuck Johnson
Let's face it. There are hundreds, if not thousands of aftermarket gauges readily available for purchase. Most can tell you what you need to know in whatever color, shape, and size you desire. But an array of gauges strewn across the dash and up the A-pillar accompanied by a tachometer the size of your head isn't the most effective way of delivering essential information to the driver. An unorganized gauge setup is distracting and can be even more dangerous than not having the gauges to begin with.
|Just a tad bit cluttered and distracting, this car has so many gauges, dials, and knobs you would think that it was on a hillbilly mission to Mars.
For Project 240SX Land Speed Racer, we wanted to keep it clean and simple. After meeting with our driver Chuck Johnson, we decided we needed the following information for our high speed runs: speedometer, tachometer, shift light, boost gauge, water temperature, oil pressure, oil temperature, exhaust gas temperature, and air/fuel ratio.
|110 MPH max speed? That's cute.
Our stock Nissan instrument cluster provided us with some of the information we required but maxed out at a top speed of 110mph. Additionally, the factory cluster gave us vague, inaccurate readings of water temperature and only a warning light if oil pressure was completely lost. As the Nissan cluster was not meant for racing, response time of the gauges is also considerably slower than purpose built aftermarket gauges.
|The aluminum gauge cluster fabricated by John Kuchta of Specialty Cars was designed to hold a tach, speedo, and two Innovate Motorsports MTX-D gauges.
With limited real estate available on our Specialty Cars custom gauge hood and a gamut of things to monitor, we had to make a decision of which gauges were most important. (For more on our custom dash click here.) We decided to go with a “Life or death in the hood” mentality, keeping only the absolutely essential gauges in the dash – RPM, boost, speed, and oil pressure.
|Our tachometer requirements were satisfied by a modestly sized Autometer Sport Comp 3-3/8″ Tach.
To keep important information in the gauge hood, we were planning on setting up a warning light system for any systems that went beyond their limits, but we soon found exactly what we needed: Innovate Motorsports' MTX-D Dual Function Gauges.
Innovate Motorsport's new line of MTX Digital Series “Dual Function” Gauges were exactly what we were looking for. Each gauge features two digital displays. A large numerical readout in the center represents one value and the second, is represented through a sweep of digital lights around the circumference of the gauge. This means two channels can be monitored simultaneously on a single gauge face and the number of gauges required to monitor our setup could be essentially cut in half.