Meanwhile at 88 mph

I have to admit, this gave me a 1.21-gigawatt smile, even as I realized there had to be something wrong with it:

Tweaked De Lorean speedometer

Legal matters, as it happens: the De Lorean went into production in 1981, which meant that stateside vehicles were cursed with the Joan Claybrook Memorial Speedometer, topping out at a meager 85 and highlighting the much-derided 55-mph speed limit. (For every good automotive idea the government gets, there are at least a dozen bad ones, and this was egregiously stupid.) Here’s a stock De Lorean instrument panel, as seen at Ask a Mechanic:

De Lorean instrument cluster

It gets more complicated. The speedo used for instrument-panel scenes in Back to the Future had a 95-mph scale.

And apparently the handful of right-hand-drive cars made did have proper 140-mph speedometers; in fact, the present-day De Lorean Motor Company will happily sell you a 140-mph speedo from presumed old stock for a mere $199. So the most likely explanation is that this is a real 140-mph De Lorean speedo with a bit of Photoshoppery, or possibly a new face for the old speedo, which can be had at retail, presumably altered slightly before installation. I can absolutely assure you that if I owned a De Lorean, I would have this done to my dash.


  1. Dwayne the canoe guy »

    1 August 2011 · 10:09 am

    But where we’re going we don’t need roads

  2. McGehee »

    1 August 2011 · 4:17 pm

    That icon could try looking a little more like the prop in the movies, seems to me…

  3. CGHill »

    1 August 2011 · 10:24 pm

    I think that there ought to be at least one road in the States where the speed limit is actually 88. (Texas has made a couple of gestures toward 85, but no farther.)

    It’s not that we’re emotionally wedded to multiples of 5, either.

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