The wonderful thing about ebay is that you never know what other great items a seller may have. After getting the tip about an NOS Hupmobile Instrument Cluster, I saw the seller also had an amazing original press photo of the BRC.
In 1935 and 1936, Hupmobile produced a series of cars that utilized two Stewart Warner gauge pods. One was a speedometer, and the other a four gauge cluster. Midway through 1936, Hupmobile discontinued production for over a year and many suppliers were left with spare parts and tooling for these low production and seldom seen luxury cars. When Bantam was preparing for production, fate intervened and these gauges were updated for the new line of American Bantam cars. The most obvious modifications to the gauges were the visual updates. The speedometer was printed for 80 mph in stead of 100. The needle was replaced with a more substantial, black, art deco pointer.
The gauge cluster on the other hand went through the most changes, and even went through an evolution with Bantam installations. In the beginning, the Bantam civilian cars received a 3 gauge face featuring an ampere gauge on the left, a gas gauge on the bottom, and an oil pressure gauge on the right. Out of these gauges, only the oil pressure gauge changed with the engine offering’s. The early cars had a pressure gauge going from zero to 15 lbs, the pressurized crank two main engines received a scale from zero to 25 lbs, and the three main engines received a zero to 50 lb scale. The BRC’s received a four gauge cluster similar to the Hupmobile unit. However, the BRC piece utilized a different configuration with the Bantam art work. At the 12 o’clock position clockwise, the BRC had a 30 Ampere gauge, a 50 lb oil pressure gauge, a fuel gauge, and a temperature gauge. For some reason, the temperature gauge and oil pressure gauge were oriented directly opposite of the Hupmobile gauge.
Beyond the gauges them selves, two other changes existed between the bantam gauges. The earlier cars had a flat glass lens which was modified to a piece of curved glass for the late 39 cars and retained for the BRC. The other major Bantam gauge difference was the gauge face color. Beyond the black gauges which were rumored to be used in commercial vehicles, the other colors consisted of a spectrum varying from silver to crème to gold. Some say the color of these gauges altered quickly with the sun, so many of the gauges you will see are more charming due to their patina.
If you look carefully, these Hupmobile gauges also have small rectangular tabs for retaining them to the dashboard whereas the Bantam utilized three metal clamps. The two outer were clamped on utilizing the choke and headlight controls and a larger bracket held the insides of the gauges against the dash, using the ignition switch as a point of attachment.
Enough about gauges, here are a couple of links to check out on eBay. Due to some changes in the market for these gauges, it is unclear what this Hupmobile specimen will go for and how the value even relates to the Bantam parts. However, if you need a gauge and would like the luxury of having a working gauge without investing $1000 or more in a rebuild, this is a great opportunity to fill your dashboard.
Click here for the Hupmobile Instrument cluster: 1935 Hupmobile Instrument Cluster Sold for: 499.00
Click here for the BRC original photo: BRC Press Photo Sold for: 76.00