Warbird

What's hiding in the shadows?

What’s hiding in the shadows?

A few months ago, a buddy sent me a link to a vintage aircraft site. I was scrolling through all the gorgeous old planes, when I got to the cockpit section. And you can imagine how the rest of my day went. Everything stopped while I poured over the instrument panels. Such beauty.

I was inspired.

Version Warbird

Version Warbird

The gauges (er… instruments) on those old planes were very interesting. Most were quite plain. They also lacked any color whatsoever. There was the odd gauge with all-yellow numbers, but about 95% of them were white numbers on black. I was struck by how easy to read they all were. Void of extra flourish. Nothing but functionality.

I started working on my own set. My own version of vintage aircraft instruments. A design where function was the primary goal. No flourishes. No unnecessary design elements. All that you need and nothing you don’t.

From the speedometer side.

From the speedometer side.

The one design choice I made was the rotated numbers. This isn’t really something you see on the vintage planes, but it was the best way to get a large number in the space between the tick marks and the bezel edge. And I loved how it turned out.

As for the zero point, I decided to try 6 o’clock. I’ve never had a set of 6 o’clock gauges in Sharka before and wanted to try it.

Water temperature

Water temperature

Oil pressure

Oil pressure

Fuel... in POUNDS!

Fuel… in POUNDS!

I had to shrink down the small gauges to fit in the tiny portholes created by my KG Works instrument cluster. With the first version, I couldn’t actually see the numbers. Much nicer to be able to see all of the artwork.

And how about that gas gauge? It’s in pounds! That’s a feature directly lifted from vintage plane cockpits. There was none of those Empty/Full stuff. They measured in weight. I’m far too proud of this.

Ready for take-off.

Ready for take-off.

I’ve never had a set of monochrome gauges in Sharka either. So far, I’m loving it. It’s quite a change from previous gauges I’ve used.

And then there’s night mode…

Warbird at night.

Warbird at night.

Speed side.

Speed side.

Rev side.

Rev side.

I did some work with the light diffusion layer of these gauges. The result is what you see here. I’ve never achieved such even levels of lighting before, at least on the speedometer. That one is a pain to get very well lit. But… well… check it out. It’s quite decent! Much more uniformly lit than even the OEM gauges.

So. There it is. Six months later and another set of gauge for Sharka. He works hard. He deserves to be spoiled a little.

Want some of your own? These are available in my store. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m gonna go out and drive around while trying to resist making airplane noises.

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  • Matt says:

    Awesome once again. One of these days I’ll have to get some of your gauges for my car.

  • canaille says:

    very, very nice sir!

  • Stoly says:

    My new favourite gauges!

  • Drew says:

    My turn to be speechless. . .

    Not sure if I want custom gauges or these now!

  • Brad says:

    Adam, are you familiar with PLX devices? Cliff notes: aftermarket sensors and gauges and display modules, including OBD II link with 4 item screen display. I have a couple of these on a different (OTM) custom build.

    AND they have the feature of customizable gauge faces. They offer 25 or so to choose from but have the ability to upload your own artwork for a custom application. It ends up being a digital image of the artwork, but would represent well with colors, fonts, needle style, etc. Just thinking that might be a cool option for you to offer along with any style of your aftermarket gauges(for a price, of course). The base artwork is already done – I believe you need to provide 100 overlays for the needle positions.

    just an idea that might go over well with the custom crewe.

  • Chris says:

    The Warbird gauges remind me of those fancy pilot watches with all the dials. Might have to pick up a set one of these days.

  • Nigel says:

    Like these, what I’ve been looking for, for ages 🙂

  • spindiscs says:

    Damn man, why do you have to keep coming up with brilliant designs. Love it.

  • Cody says:

    I find myself on your site almost daily, admiring your craft. This is, in my opinion, the perfect set of guages. I have a 2002 Special Edition. Silver with the brown leather interior. As an Airman in the US Air Force, I think it is only appropriate that I treat her with a set of these. I will be contacting you in a week or two to order up a set. 🙂

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