If a production car with a Roman Numeral speedometer exits, I don’t think I’ve seen it yet. I have a lot of hazy memories of some really old things from the early 1900s that might have had such a strange thing, but I haven’t been able to confirm anything. In a way, I’m a little surprised I haven’t found anything; this seems just like the sort of goofy-classy affectation that a mid ‘60s Lincoln or Imperial would have had, doesn’t it? I think so.
There’s something so perversely appealing about the idea; the relative inscrutability, the archaic quality, the overlap of letter combinations like LX and XXX with other areas of culture, it’s just nice and ridiculous.
Now, there is at least one common example of Roman Numerals on speedometers:
Lots of manual-shift cars would put the suggested shift points on the speedo in little Roman numerals/hash marks, like you see on that Volkswagen speedometer there.
I know of at least one custom Roman Numeral speedometer, also on a Volkswagen:
That’s a lovely bare-metal Type 2 double-cab built by Los Angeles-area photographer Ed Fox. I’ve seen this car in person, and it’s pretty incredible. But that’s just a lovely one-off.
You’d think maybe at least one Italian car would consider it, as a little nod to their heritage. I mean, it would be pretty fun to have a really quick Fiat Abarth that could go from zero to LX in, like, IV seconds.
I do think, though, that the ultimate Roman Numeral speedo setup, for maximum absurdity, would be something like this:
You know, with so many new cars moving to all-LCD screen instrument clusters, there’s no reason why a full Roman Numeral dash couldn’t happen. Maybe Tesla can make that an Easter Egg in their next software update. I’m pretty sure it’s what everyone wants, right?
Then you could step on it and watch the speedo and hit that number that makes you scream “woooooo! LXIX, dude!”