Now for some heavy rotation

When I was a kid playing with blocks, back in the Old Silurian period, I’d occasionally set up a simulated auto dashboard, with the 1 through 9 blocks arranged in a semicircle to serve as speedometer.

I figure you needed to know that before reading all this.

(And that this Autoblog article suggested it.)


  1. Dwayne the canoe guy »

    8 November 2011 · 9:14 am

    The theory of the speedometer in the center of the console (ala Echo) was that it was easier to build the car for America & Europe. Rotate that console bubble 90 degrees and stick the steering in front of the other seat, swap the air bag & glovebox … There ya go. No need for two dashboards.

  2. CGHill »

    8 November 2011 · 9:18 am

    True enough as it goes, but the buyers balked. (The exception is MINI: their owners will accept all manner of malfeasance by the manufacturer.) Nissan Quest and Toyota Yaris have already abandoned this layout. (Saturn, which inflicted it on the Ion, is pushing up the daisies.)

  3. Jeffro »

    8 November 2011 · 11:45 am

    Peterbuilt first offered a digital dash in their trucks clear back in the late eighties. The tach and the speedo had the seven segment readouts in the center and an advancing bar graph with individual slivers surrounding the digital readout in a 270 degree radius. The arc simulated an analog pointer gauge.

    I hated it. Just about any kind of light washed it out, and at night, the constant flickering of the numbers and the arc changing due to slight variations in speed and rpms just wore the ol’ eyeballs out. All that flashing drew my eyes to the display where a “normal’ needle moving wouldn’t.

    The head units were an advancement – most of the speedos and tachs were cable driven, and this was one of the first that used electric sensors. Now most of the gauges all use electric senders, and the head units have analog displays so we can all read the dern things.

    Which is a good thing – especially since the air pressure readouts required a pressurized line running to it, and the oil pressure required a fine line with oil in it – when those things broke, it got messy in a hurry.

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