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1947-52 Blacklight Illuminated Gauges

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  • #16
    Originally posted by 6hk71400 View Post

    There are some 52 Commander's here in Tucson. I gave one away no cost but last I heard, the person wanted $2,000 for it. It was complete and had a decent interior. Engine was stuck but that could have been freed.

    He also acquired a 51 Pontiac but I don't know what shape it was. He thought about asking $12K but I gently as I could told him that unless it is a convertible, that figure is way off market I also told him that my Overdrive equipped running 56 President Classic was purchased for $1,400 plus shipping of $700.

    Had I known you were interested in the 52, I would have made you the same offer as I did on the 61 Lark. One night, I did shine the flashlight on the cluster and still got the green glow.

    Bob Miles
    Ah shoot, Bob. That's mighty generous of you! Perhaps it's all for the better, as my automotive ADHD has been known to take me away from the projects that I probably *should* be focusing on, and then I end up with 4 cars in pieces instead of one that runs . I don't think I've ever seen a 47-52 with gauge faces fully restored so they function like when the cars were new (or even photos of them online)... I suppose it's not a huge priority for many owners since few drive these cars at night, eh. Mebbe I'll be able to procure an instrument cluster to work on in the future, as that wouldn't be too hard to find bench and shelf space for.

    Hard to say without seeing the car, but the pricing on that Pontiac does sound a little ambitious. Values on those years always trail the Chevrolets by a healthy margin, even though they're a fair deal more car than their Chevy counterparts... like more robust engines with full pressure lubrication (especially that smooth straight 8), available Hydramatic vs Powerglide, nicer interiors and more trim inside and out, and the option of a lighted amber lucite hood ornament to lead the way
    Whirling dervish of misinformation.


    • #17
      A movie was recently released about this called Radium Girls. I believe it is on Netflix streaming. The girls in the factory were painting radium on clock faces and wetting the brush with their tongues. Several died from radium poisoning. They literally became radioactive.
      This problem was well-known by the 50s. See Plus radium is expensive so no way the CASC (cheap-a$$ Studebaker Corporation) would use it. But radiation is entirely different from fluorescence. Any fluorescent paint will glow under UV light. Phosphorescent paint will continue glowing for a while after the light is removed. They must have used a phosphorescent paint. Some enterprising vendor should do some research and offer a kit of similar paint and LED UV bulbs to fix this. It would take a little work but I bet they would find some buyers.


      • #18
        Something like this? UV reactive?
        "All attempts to 'rise above the issue' are simply an excuse to avoid it profitably." --Dick Gregory

        Brad Johnson, SDC since 1975, ASC since 1990
        Pine Grove Mills, Pa.
        '33 Rockne 10,
        '51 Commander Starlight,
        '53 Commander Starlight "Désirée",
        '56 Sky Hawk


        • #19
          As a youngster I remember how impressive the so-called 'black light' gauges worked in the family '47 and '51. Very readable, and this from a back seat view!
          So.....if I'm 'pre-approved' why do you want me to fill out an application?


          • #20
            Originally posted by nvonada View Post
            Some enterprising vendor should do some research and offer a kit of similar paint and LED UV bulbs to fix this. It would take a little work but I bet they would find some buyers.
            Agreed! Though I'm not an enterprising vendor, I think I've got a general idea of what paint was used . Other than the issue with lack of space inside radios for a dark glass filter mentioned by Radio Roy, the rest is doable with standard 2cp incandescent dash light bulbs...
            Whirling dervish of misinformation.