Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Dissect A Dash #4: The Dick Marchant 1931 Ford Coupe

The Dick Marchant 1931 Ford was a wonder of ingenuity. He states in this feature that he didn't have the cash to pay for the work done, so he did it himself. 


He chopped the roof, transplanted a Mercury flathead, and above all, went outside the coloring book lines with his unique dash.

As the label says, it's a 1933 Packard set. These were made by Stewart Warner, and were the traditional 2-5/8" size for the accessory gauges. 
They didn't come with a tachometer in that other big opening, they had a clock, and also one option was the radio dial in the middle instead of the radio delete plug.

Here's a great illustration of this Werner Gubitz design...

1933 Packard Dash with Stewart Warner Gauges

You can see the radio controls smack in the middle. Also the switch to the right is the cigarette lighter (which Dick Marchant converted to the ignition switch in his Ford) and the left is the choke (or throttle).

Harry Steightner had a similar brainstorm for his hand-made roadster built from 1939 Ford parts. He went with the same Packard dash, but slipped in a tachometer where the delete panel was, and used the original Packard speedo.

From Rodding and Restyling magazine, November, 1955


Also, another great alternative is the 1936 set. It's a little sleeker, and looks great in a smaller dash...

The tachometer in Dick's dash is a 8,000 RPM Stewart Warner "Wings" insignia gauge, like this one...

I'm not thrilled by the look of this tach and that set. I would have gone with a light-faced gauge, like the 1935 Auburn.

It's a trade for the higher RPM's that the SW tach offered, but he was running a flathead, and I doubt he was red-lining that engine.

Still, congrats to Dick for leaving the easy choices on the table, and sticking in a very slick alternative, the classy and cool 1933 Packard instrument panel.

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