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Hot Rods Tach placement

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by birdman1, Aug 4, 2021.

  1. birdman1
    Joined: Dec 6, 2012
    Posts: 1,280


    Which is the best position to put a tach in an early 60's hot rod? In my 1937 Fard coupe dirt track racing tribute car. I like the top of dash, aimed towards the driver.
    Elcohaulic, chevy57dude and scotty t like this.
  2. tubman
    Joined: May 16, 2007
    Posts: 5,850


    It all depends on what you want to use the car for. I have a vintage dirt track car that I used to drive once in a while, and, believe me, you want it where you can see it without taking your eyes off the track. Mine was mounted in the windshield opening (the car didn't have a dash board,) just to the right of where I looked when driving.

    I had a friend in the '60's who had a "Gasser" style '55 Chevrolet with a built 327. It had a straight axle and the front end was really up in the air (we called it the "weight-transfer" look back then). He had the tach mounted from the top windshield molding right in front of his face. Between that, the stance, and the huge sheet metal hood scoop on the car, it was almost impossible to see where you were going. He did receive several equipment tickets from the local gendarmes for "Restricted Vision" which he tried to ignore. He finally sold the car to someone who had the sense to return it to a reasonable streetable condition.

    When he had the car, it was bright Canary Yellow.
    Big mike 1968 likes this.
  3. 26hotrod
    Joined: Nov 28, 2009
    Posts: 963

    from landis n c

    On my 26t coupe Hot Rod I mounted the tach next to my interior rear view mirrow. I use it as my speedo and the location worked out very well.............
  4. Bob Lowry
    Joined: Jan 19, 2020
    Posts: 700

    Bob Lowry

    In the 60's, when I was street racing as a 16yr old hot rodder, you ALWAYS mounted in on the dash, aimed
    towards the driver, just to the left of the middle of the dash. You wanted to show everyone that you had a tach
    and shouldn't be challenged to a drag race. If you could afford a Sun or Stewart Warner, you were one bad dude! Here is a pic of my '40 Chevy, and you can see my tach just to the right of the windshield divider...

    Good times!

    pumpkin (2).jpg
    warbird1, AHotRod, swade41 and 2 others like this.

  5. doug schriener
    Joined: Oct 12, 2008
    Posts: 49

    doug schriener

    Hi-There is a school of thought on a dirt track car that said you were busy enough as it is,no time to look at a tach. Drag car yes.By the way,love '37 Ford coupe dirt cars. Mayhaps a picture? Doug Schriener
    Driver50x likes this.
  6. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 30,058


    I've always had my tachs mounted on the column and that is about useless when you are actually racing. Served as the speedometer in my 48 for a number of years. When I lived in Texas and first put the 283 in it 3000 rpm was dead on 80 mph. Clocked by a guy in another rig who also had a CB one night.
    I don't ever remember looking at a tach on the column in a race either on the strip or the street though.
  7. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 49,865


    If you want to use it while driving, so you can know when to shift, then front center is best. If it's just there for occasional reference, then you can put it anywhere.
  8. verno30
    Joined: Aug 25, 2008
    Posts: 1,089


    I put mine in the trunk. Sorry, I couldn't resist.
  9. verno30
    Joined: Aug 25, 2008
    Posts: 1,089


    The ONLY place to put it is where you can see it. The top of the dash, near center, aimed at the driver is the most correct answer. In the early 60's, few automobiles had a factory tach. Movement changed as the dash evolved.
  10. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 49,865


    The 60s factory tach in the console always makes me laugh
  11. Blues4U
    Joined: Oct 1, 2015
    Posts: 5,952

    from So Cal

    I've always wondered why we don't see more hot rods with the tach mounted up on the dash rail instead of down on the column. My A had the tach on the column when I acquired it, and at first I thought I might put it up on the dash rail; but when I looked around at other hot rods I didn't see any with the tach up high, they all had it down on the column. I guess I succumbed to what I felt would be peer pressure (I didn't want to be the only guy in the history of hot rodding to stick the tach up on the dash rail) and left it on the column. It's pretty useless down there.
  12. RJP
    Joined: Oct 5, 2005
    Posts: 2,015

    from PNW

    On a dirt track car, you mount the oil pressure gauge right in your face, with the biggest red light you can find.. All other gauges are useless while racing. But they do come in handy in the pits while you're working on it.
    Driver50x and Bob Lowry like this.
  13. Dave G in Gansevoort
    Joined: Mar 28, 2019
    Posts: 808

    Dave G in Gansevoort
    from Upstate NY

    In the dirt cars we put a tell tale tach in one night. Had a 6.17 gear floater rear. Jim cam off the track and said take it out. When we looked at the tell tale, we decided he was right. It had red lined. 9k tach. 6.17s. Rough track. And small journal Chevy rods. Yeah the ones with the little bolts. We didn't want to know...
    AHotRod, slowmotion, verno30 and 2 others like this.
  14. birdman1
    Joined: Dec 6, 2012
    Posts: 1,280


    They were a badge of honor when up on the dash for everyone to see!
    They were a badge of honor when mounted on the dash.

    Attached Files:

    WB69 likes this.
  15. I have mine on the dash in clear site in two of my more formidable cars, on the column on another, which is tough to watch when doing "spirited" driving.
    Just Gary likes this.
  16. dreracecar
    Joined: Aug 27, 2009
    Posts: 3,211

    from so-cal

    In the box on the shelf at the speed shop. Dont shift unless you are ahead of the other car
  17. Bandit Billy
    Joined: Sep 16, 2014
    Posts: 7,966

    Bandit Billy

    Had one, silly location. My 442 has a factory tic toc tach in the dash, horrible as well. More of an accessory than an instrument. Best factory tach? My LT-1 vette had a humongous, cable driven tach right in your face. Pretty cool.
  18. kabinenroller
    Joined: Jan 26, 2012
    Posts: 714


    My Cyclone had a factory installed tach on the dash just left of center but it pointed straight back. When I did the car the last time I replaced the 6g tach with an 8g Auto Meter ( matches the gauges in the dash) and used the factory cup and mount. Welded up the factory mounting holes and tilted the tach to the left so I could see it. It still looks factory but with a little tweak.

    Elcohaulic likes this.
  19. chevy57dude
    Joined: Dec 10, 2007
    Posts: 6,586


    Front & center or its no help. Wires dangling are a shift light on a magnetic mount. It hides in the glove box unless racing. Lots better than trying to squint at a tach needle in the 1/4!
    @Bandit Billy , I hear ya but it's cool how the clock eclipses the tach. Here's mine 16282041704807507142249120783722.jpg
  20. mgtstumpy
    Joined: Jul 20, 2006
    Posts: 8,941


    My 35 Chevy, only a stock SBC. Easy to see if required.

    The business end of my 64 Ford is quite different, line of sight to an extent
  21. Tow Truck Tom
    Joined: Jul 3, 2018
    Posts: 169

    Tow Truck Tom
    from Clayton DE

    My off topic Firebird 400, mounted by Pontiac, had it out on the hood.
  22. I never understood the "knee knocker" tach, the steering wheel has to block your line of sight to it.
    Elcohaulic and chevy57dude like this.
  23. chevy57dude
    Joined: Dec 10, 2007
    Posts: 6,586


    Yeah and the following year moved it to the left side & incorporated the blinker. Hardly any better.
    swade41 and lothiandon1940 like this.
  24. G-son
    Joined: Dec 19, 2012
    Posts: 829

    from Sweden

    Well... There's a big difference between a tach meant to be useful when driving with your right foot down, and one meant to be cool when you're parked. If you can't see it without taking your eyes off the road it isn't there to help you drive the car.
    Just Gary likes this.
  25. WB69
    Joined: Dec 7, 2008
    Posts: 1,740


    Have always loved the Tear-Drop hood scoops!
  26. My set up…made an aluminum mount, used one of the speaker mounting screws to hold it in place and fed the wires through the the speaker grill…easy peasy
    Elcohaulic and Just Gary like this.
  27. WB69
    Joined: Dec 7, 2008
    Posts: 1,740


    Have to agree with you on the oil pressure gauge and light. It was looked at more than the tach. There was always a tach, but we "shifted by the seat of our pants" as my Dad would say.
  28. Elcohaulic
    Joined: Dec 27, 2017
    Posts: 2,480


    That was another nice thing about points, they would never let you go over 7 grand.... The new ignitions do the same thing but you have to pay for what was once free LOL...
    Just Gary and chevy57dude like this.
  29. jnaki
    Joined: Jan 1, 2015
    Posts: 6,247


    Your placement is of course, your choice, but for daily street driving, it may draw the attention of ticket hungry, local police, due to the location blocking the front vision. YRMV

    upload_2021-8-22_3-24-24.png Closest photo of the inside of a Willys Coupe from the 1960 era.


    On our 1940 Willys Coupe, we mounted a large chrome Sun Tach on the dash, directly in front of the driver. My brother said it would help when it is in the sight line, going down the dragstrip. But, he did not use it much, as he was told (by Reath Automotive guys and Joe Reath) to listen to the motor and shift accordingly. It helped him tremendously as in any drag race, staging up to the start line creates an anxious moment or situation.

    The start was to keep your eyes on the green light and get ready for the shifts. The adrenaline was pumping and there was no time to glue the eyeballs to the tach. It was straight ahead at the red to green anxious moment. Then, as the race starts, the sound will tell you when to shift at the peak performance from your motor. As a learning curve, his early starts were ok, but the more he raced, the better his starts and shifts down the dragstrip became.

    When he made a great run, he was all smiles. The tach was just a shiny chrome gauge sitting on the dash. For the time period, a dash mounted tach was the thing to do, especially on a race car. For the street, it was just an extra gauge facing the driver. But to us, it was visual and not the most important thing necessary for faster times and a quicker E.T. in any car. IOHO


    When the time came for my adventures in the 1958 Impala, I wanted a nice shiny tach sitting on the dash. But, our neighborhood CHP guy told me that anything in front of the driver must not impair the front vision. So, he recommended not to mount the big, shiny, Sun Tach on the dash. My searches for a smaller tach to mount somewhere under the lip of the dash was successful and the location was perfect.

    The idea of destroying a nice looking smooth dash was daunting. Plus, our hot rods already created a go-to situation for all police to “check the hot rod out” scenario. So, it was not going to be the one more thing that was an attention grabbing item sticking up on the dash for all to see. It was illegal, we knew it, but so many people still mounted it on the dash… what for?
    Our solution without destroying the dash or making a big blob in our front of the car view was to use a very small tachometer that we found in an Army Surplus Store. It had clear numbers, included a power light inside making any nighttime viewing perfect and it fit at the far right side of the 58 Impala dash without ruining any stock appearance.
    upload_2021-8-22_3-28-42.png Green arrow mounting points
    For what it is worth, the small black tachometer worked as well, if not better than those huge chrome tachs. The only part of the dash that it covered was the 120 mph area of the speedometer. We pegged that every time we jammed the throttle, so no big deal.

    Talk about a nice looking street/strip car, but that tach is just the worst for front vision clearance.

    Elcohaulic likes this.

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