When I bought my 1931 American Austin roadster, it was a barn find survivor that was driven into the barn. From what I understood, although it moved under its own power, it was getting a little tired. The last time the car was actually on the road and registered was in 1956. It had been patched and adulterated so that new owners could keep it on the road. The last time it was driven on the street, the owner bought it thinking it would be a sprightly little roadster but found it to be a dud. Interest lost, he traded the car for a guitar and they parted ways.
Somewhere between 1931 and 1956, the car had a new dashboard grafted into it. In order to graft it in, the dashboard panel had to be cut out. Due to the size of the car, the new panel had to be cut to fit. I noticed the panel when I first went to look at the car, and it took me a little bit to realize what it was. The panel wedged into my car was out of a 1932-1933 Auburn. This coveted instrument panel had been stripped of all of its gauges, the bottom switch panel, and painted orange (followed by pink). A set of ford gauges took the place of the sleek early 30’s Aurburn gauges.
Readying the American Austin for restoration meant that this panel needed to be removed. Carefully removing the assembly I began learning more about it and had to make my mind up as to what I would do with it. Always keeping the thought of a ’27 T roadster hot rod in the back of my mind made me think I’d keep it with my DeSoto hemi, in the ‘someday’ parts pile. However, the way this panel is cut, it’s perfect for most hotrods especially the 1932 Ford.
If you want to install one of these panels into a 32 Ford, you either have to cut down the panel or lengthen the dashboard. The lengthened dashboards aren’t very slick and it hurts to cut the switch panel off of an instrument panel you just paid $5,000 for.
Here is your best option, an Auburn panel that was customized back in the late 40’s or 50’s. If you’re looking for period correct, here it is.
Click here for the eBay auction: 1932 1933 Auburn Instrument Panel