When we think about building a Nova today, our choices usually center around doing an original restoration or upgrading the factory components to something a little more modern and performance oriented. Many times a combination of the two are incorporated. And while the potential outcome of the multitude of combinations possible will usually result in one cool ride, something still seems to be missing in the aftermarket parts bin.
Every once in a while, someone or some company comes up with a fresh approach to solving a problem that the factory never addressed. Most likely the product can’t be considered a reproduction part, since it was never available as an original. Case in point, recently, we at Chevy 2 Only, came across a new in-dash gauge conversion/upgrade package for the ‘66-67 Nova. This new package is the outcome of an innovative idea that began with models built for Chevelles and has now merged into the Nova marketplace.
This conversion to “real” in-dash gauges is something that every ’66-67 Nova owner probably wishes had come with their cars from the factory. Why this was never offered in the ‘60s is beyond me. Even if it was an additional cost option, most boxes would have been checked on the order sheet so the new car owner would have this on his Nova! Now, with this trick setup installed, Nova fans can have the look of a stock dash, yet all the advantages of factory-style gauges.
As for how it all goes together, the stock fuel gauge on the left-hand side is removed and replaced with fuel gauge and a battery amps gauge combination. The factory optional clock on the right side (or in most cases the clock delete) is removed and replaced with the water temp/oil pressure gauge combo. Most of the wiring is a direct plug-in and the oil pressure gauge uses a mechanical sending unit.
The other advantage of this trick gauge conversion is you do not have to have a Super Sport car to install them in. They will fit any model ‘66-67 Chevy II/Nova; SSs, coupes, four-doors, station wagons, or 2-door sedans. As of this writing, I wasn’t able to show them being installed since I didn’t have a donor car, but the conversion is so cool that it almost makes me want to just go out and buy a car simply to install them in.
Another part that is available now, that goes right along with the above gauge conversion, is the reproduction under-dash “knee-knocker” tachometer. Similar to the original ’66 Nova tach, this tachometer does not have the swivel base mount. But installed into a ’62-70 Nova this tach looks right at home on the dash just like original equipment. And with a 6,200 redline, this tach looked at home in our test car.
And while it’s a shame to have to wait 33 years for stock-looking instrumentation, now that it’s here, no one’s complaining.