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How to: Lark Gauge Needle Refreshing

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  • How to: Lark Gauge Needle Refreshing

    I just redid the dashboard in Barney and, as part of that, I got new Amp and Temp gauges as a pre-emptive measure. When I got the new gauges, I could see how much the sun had faded the needle paint on the old ones; a couple were just this side of white:

    I had thought that the needles were painted orange (like some GM gauges), but comparison to the NOS parts showed that they were actually originally neon day-glo red.

    So I set about trying to find a color of paint that would match the OEM needles. Finally found a color match in the acrylic paints they sell at Michaels:

    It's Apple Barrel-brand Neon Red, #20488. This stuff is not very thick; it's much thinner than the enamels I'm used to, so it took several light coats to bring the needles back to the proper color. I slipped squares of aluminum foil under the needles I was painting.

    After the old needles were painted, they matched the NOS ones perfectly, so I did my speedometer as well.

    Easy to do, and it makes a huge difference to the look of the gauges!


    Clark in San Diego
    '63 F2/Lark Standard

    Clark in San Diego | '63 Standard (F2) "Barney" |

  • #2
    Wow, that looks awesome!

    Brent's rootbeer racer.
    In the middle of MinneSTUDEa.


    • #3
      The small detail work can make a car look extra nice! My other hobbies include model airplane building, and I enjoy doing this kind of delicate job. Repainting the needles on my Avanti made it look brand new. Looks great, big guy! Russ Farris
      1963 GT Hawk R-2 4-speed
      1964 Avanti R-1 Auto


      • #4
        Nice work, Clark!

        Gord Richmond, within Weasel range of the Alberta Badlands
        Gord Richmond, within Weasel range of the Alberta Badlands


        • #5
          I have the same issue with my car. Thanks for the tip.

          66 Commander R1 Clone
          51 Commander 4dr
          1962 Champ

          51 Commander 4 door


          • #6
            Hey! That does look nice. Now send all that extra paint my way. What did that bottle set you back?

            When I refreshed Pete some 13 years ago, I used dayglo red from a spray can. Stuff was faded in less than a year. I hope this lasts longer.

            1957 Transtar 1/2ton
            1963 Cruiser
            1960 Larkvertible V8
            1958 Provincial wagon
            1953 Commander coupe
            1957 President two door

            No deceptive flags to prove I'm patriotic - no biblical BS to impress - just ME and Studebakers - as it should be.


            • #7
              I buy fluorescent red that from what I understand is meant for instrument repair at the local hobby shop. It's made by Model Master and it's called fluorescent red. The stuff has enough pigment in it that it will usually cover a meter needle in one coat. Bud


              • #8
                Good to know, Bud! They still have hobby shops in LA, huh? Here in San Diego, the nearest one is 45 miles from me [xx(]


                Clark in San Diego
                '63 F2/Lark Standard

                Clark in San Diego | '63 Standard (F2) "Barney" |


                • #9
                  Kyrlon makes a spray paint for this purpose.