I always like it when old car ads or brochures go out of their way to tout features and details that are, to modern eyes, absolutely baffling. I’m not sure what exactly causes the car-buying public to decide what they find important or interesting, but I’m pretty sure one thing that gets special mention in this 1970 Plymouth Barracuda brochure is something that—and I’m going to go out on a limb here—exactly zero potential Barracuda buyers gave a brace of BMs about.
Here’s the spread in question:
Specifically, here’s the part that caught my attention:
See that? Wide, fat needles. How many times have you gotten into a car and looked down at the dash, and really, really appreciated a nice set of plump, juicy gauge needles? Or maybe groaned in disgust at scrawny, willowy, thin needles?
Me either. I do sometimes notice a nicely-shaped needle, or maybe an illuminated needle, or an unusual shape, but general thickness? I can’t think of a time when that was a big deal?
Also, if you actually look at the Barracuda dashboard from that era, it’s not like those needles are even all that fat:
I mean, what the fuck? If you’re going to call out fat gauges, I expect big, juicy, sausage-like needles, needles that are so fat you can read, at best, a 15 MPH range of speed because that thicc needle covers up so much of the dial.
I guess there is a bit of an arrowhead on the needle there? But it’s still nothing anyone would call thick. Come on.
Hell, even compared to competing cars of the time, like these 1969 Mustang Mach I gauges, they’re not noticeably fatter! I think the Mustang has thicker needles, even. Damn.
So, for those of you with needle-gauge-thickness as your key car-buying criteria, I’m sorry to say that I do not believe Plymouth’s claims about the Barracuda’s needle thickness. You shouldn’t either.
Maybe there’s an aftermarket fat-needle solution? I hope so.