When you jump behind the wheel of your car, what is the one thing you've always got your eye on? If you said anything besides "the road", you answered incorrectly—but we're not going to conduct a driver safety survey here, so don't worry too much. As even the safest drivers will admit, your attention span is split between what's beyond the windshield glass and the cluster of telltale instruments that are literally at your fingertips. For the most part, "function" is the number one priority of your vehicle's gauges, as they are the communications control center, linking you to all the vital stats of your car's mechanical components. It wasn't up until recently, however, that there were a whole lot of individual choices to make when it came to "form"—you either had to deal with mechanical/six-volt relics (which isn't necessarily a bad thing) or go with a popular aftermarket instrument.
Thanks to technology, limitations are indeed a thing of the past. For those who need a way to think outside the box, rather than follow the rules of conformity, there's a way to have the best of both worlds (gauge-wise) thanks to Classic Instruments. Along with offering the widest selection of aftermarket gauges on the market, they have also set up an in-house program where customers can send their original gauges (or pretty much any vintage instruments) and Classic's Custom Team will retrofit them with all new electronic instrumentation. Though they claim restoration is not part of the process, they do re-face gauges, and can do so to replicate the stock appearance or customize the graphics to your liking. Regardless, the end result is always the same: precision-engineered instrumentation packaged in a personalized manner.
Next time you're out scouring the swap meet (outdoors or online) and happen to eyeball an oddball gauge cluster—consider giving it a new life and home in your Lowrider with a Classic Instruments retrofit. If you prefer to keep your car's stock gauges, but a traditional restoration won't do, follow along and see what Classic did with some dilapidated '47 Chevy Fleetline instruments for a little "restofication" inspiration.