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Project Violent Valiant Update: The Dash Comes To Life With Lots Of Planning And Stewart Warner Gauges

Project Violent Valiant Update: The Dash Comes To Life With Lots Of Planning And Stewart Warner Gauges

Project Violent Valiant has really been coming along over the last couple weeks. We’ve updated you on the installation of the firewall, the completion of the front suspensions, the replacement of the floors, and the installation of stuff like the pedals, and other components. Long story short, this thing is starting to turn into a car! Today we’re going to take a look at the cool and racy dashboard that Kevin Tully recently finished up the layout on in the car. We think you will dig it because like the rest of the car it has both the old school feel and the modern performance that every other element of Violent Valiant has been designed to show off. Hey, when you add classic Stewart Warner gauges to the already tough nature of this car, you know the end result is going to be bitchin’.

According to Tully, the factory dash in this car was one of the ugliest to ever roll out of Detroit. Worse than that, the information relayed to the driver was virtually nil and the thing appeared to have old picture frames surrounding idiot lights and a complete dearth of gauges. Since this is going to be a car that is both raced and driven on the street and the theme of the thing has been to blend some of the old school Trans Am feel with modern technology and performance, Kevin made the decision to go with a very tough looking dash based on what you would have found in a 1960s race car but with more information available to the driver.

As you will see in the photos below, there was a lot of thought that went into laying out the configuration of the gauge panel and there was even a long search for one gauge that Kevin had to have. The reverse sweep speedo that you will see is a discontinued item so it was a three week relentless search of the internet and everyone Kevin knew in his phone book to locate one, which he did. Before we get too far ahead of ourselves, let’s follow along through photos and captions like we always do with our Violent Valiant updates.

photo 1

The first thing you need to start with is a blank slate, right? Here’s Kevin’s. There’s a deceptive amount of metalwork into getting this thing to fit as nicely and tightly as you see here, around the roll cage bars and all. From this point forward, it was time to start planning the gauge layout.


With the panel out of the car and on the bench, Kevin used a coupe of hole saws with the same diameter as the gauges to begin the layout process. Like all things in car building, this is a “measure twice, cut once” deal. You only have so much room and Kevin had lots of gauges he wanted to add, along with warning lights.


Like we said, Kevin had more than a couple gauges and lights to get into this panel so taking his time and making sure to clearly draw out where each would go was an essential part of the process. While it may not make sense looking these Sharpie circles, the layout is pretty awesome. You’ll see in the photos below.


Here’s where the rubber starts to meet the road. Note the prominent position of the tach and the oil pressure gauge. When you are hammering on the car in competition, those are the two things you most want to be apprised of. You need to know when to shift and you need to know the engine isn’t eating itself up. The small holes are for warning lights that Kevin believes are helpful in a competition situation because when your eye isn’t scanning the dash and something goes sideways, a light can alert you to a potentially bad problem before you see the gauge.


Note the difference in the speedometer from this photo to the one above. This one contains the reverse sweep 180mph piece that Kevin spend three weeks hunting down as it has been discontinued by Stewart Warner. We think that this dash looks like it came right out of a 1960s race car and that’s what Kevin was looking for. The gauges are largely mechanical so they’ll work whether the car is on or off. This is handy at the track when you are wanting to keep track of the temperatures of things after beating on the car. You can just stick your head in the window and see what’s what without having to flip the key on. The warning lights are from Painless as is all the wiring on the car. Kevin loves using their stuff and he says that being able to get everything he needs from one source is the best part (along with the quality).


Here’s a look at the panel actually in the car with the steering column. This thing is going to provide the driver with a ballet of swinging needles, especially on the side of the speedometer which is swinging in the opposite direction of the tach and oil pressure gauge. Do like!


One final touch that we dig and you can see somewhat here is the fact that Tully stuck with the factory style switch gear. Those factory switches are way cooler looking than any aftermarket switch you’d put on the dash and they keep some of the Valiant flavor present in the race themed cockpit.


So we’ll leave you right here this week. The dash is in the car, the Stewart Warner gauges are installed, and the Painless Wiring is hidden nicely behind the panel and you’d never know it was there unless you went hunting for it. We can’t wait to see what’s coming next!



CLICK HERE to see all of our Project Violent Valiant Updates




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7 thoughts on “Project Violent Valiant Update: The Dash Comes To Life With Lots Of Planning And Stewart Warner Gauges

  1. cyclone03

    I like it.
    I was “this” close to going with the reverse sweep Auto Meter speedo from the Cobra series.

  2. 38P

    That’s a lot of gauges. (which are mostly dead weight during a sprint race . . . . but nicely traditional)

    I’d have liked to see some traditional engine turning on that dash . . . . Or maybe some “wrinkle paint” . . . .

  3. brotherGood

    Been looking at all sorts of custom setups for my Diplomat (go ahead, chuckle). But the factory curvature is really throwing me for a loop, along with the crap behind the bezel. I may look into something similar to this though. Just not so many gauges. Its more of a street cruiser, than drag car..but still. Factory is out.

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