If you are the proud owner of a first-generation Chevy C/K series truck from the first three years (1960-1962), then you already know there is a dearth of aftermarket parts for your truck. Considered the orphan of the C-Series trucks, these models featured torsion bar front suspensions with trailing arm rear suspension. Many owners choose to change their suspensions and body panels to the 1965-and-later parts simply for availability. Those of us too stubborn to change, just make do with what is on the market, or what we already have.
When a manufacturer comes out with a new product for our much overlooked series of truck, it gives us a cause to celebrate. In the case of Dakota Digital’s new RTX series gauges for the first generation C-series trucks, it is much more than just a new product release. It is exactly what we have been asking for.
Digital Or Analog?
Let’s get right to the heart of the matter. There is a stigma attached to the word “digital” when it comes to automotive gauges. Most of the “seasoned” generation of hot rodders hear digital gauges and immediately think of the early-1980s Toyota displays.
Not exactly what you want in your vintage car or truck in most cases. If the motif and theme suits those gauges, we understand. But in the case of our project truck Geronimo, we just want a set of gauges with modern technology, yet looks like the stuff that rolled out of the factory.
Don’t get us wrong, traditional analog gauges and meters have their place in the world. Most are direct reading devices and require no power to the gauge for display. Water temp, oil pressure, fuel level are all direct reading from the sending units and easily displayed on a needle gauge. They are easy for most technicians to diagnose and repair. They also have a mature, traditional look that many hot rodders like.
Digital gauges are more precise and the displays tend to be more compact. A single digital display can replace an entire group of analog gauges, with very sophisticated features which old school gauges could never achieve. As a result, digital gauges can be presented in a variety of different styles.
What Dakota Digital has done is combine the two technologies into a hybrid circuit. Using micro controllers to interface with analog circuits using analog-to-digital converters and digital-to-analog converters, Dakota Digital captures the best of both worlds.
The RTX Series
Dakota Digital’s RTX line of gauges, while incorporating the modern technology, is focused on retaining the stock look of the original instruments. The design crew has painstakingly duplicated the OEM design, with all the original design elements, right down to the stock layout, face styling, and indicators.
There is no visual difference noticeable when looking at the replacement panel. Only when the system is powered up is there a change. The backlighting and color scheme gives away the technology behind the panel.
Stay tuned as we continue our project upgrades on our 1960 C20 Apache Project Truck we call Geronimo. The Dakota Digital RTX dash panel is our next upgrade. We’ll show you how easy it is to install and what differences you can expect. Let us just throw this teaser at you: The dash panel has blue tooth connectivity, and you can change things on the fly from your cell phone!