The gauges you chose to run in your project are a personal choice I believe. Some people really don't care and just install what they think is best. Yet others have done research, checked them out, and want a certain gauge type. Lord knows there are a ton of choices out there. From reusing stock gauges to digital readout, the gauge industry has got us covered. But that can also make the decision a little harder.
For several popular vehicles, complete new gauge panels have been created that easily install into your project and are simple to wire in. Dakota Digital and Classic Instruments quickly come to mind here. Dakota has digital setups for the 1950s Chevy and Ford trucks among other applications, or universal pieces for those who want to create their own "mission control."
Classic Instruments has quietly been creating some really nice dash inserts lately. If you have a 1953-56 Ford pickup and are trying to decide on a gauge setup, you will definitely want to check out their website. They have come up with a couple of really nice gauge panels for them. I have installed two of their 1953-55 gauge panels and they are really awesome.
Shown in the opening photo is Auto Meter's new Golden Oldie line of gauges in a billet dash we offered years ago. These classic-looking, crème-backed gauges fit perfectly into Bobco's new yellow 1956 with a nostalgic 427 side oiler engine.
Gauge choice should also have something to do with the theme of your project. A rat rod might have just an oil pressure gauge hanging somewhere, and 1970s style would find your pickup with the three add-on gauges hanging below, or worst case, hole-sawed into the dash. In the 1980s and 1990s it was the billet aluminum dashes with round aftermarket gauges and those dashboard holes welded up. Today I like to think we have kind of gone full circle. Popular once again is the stock bezel with stock gauges. Who knew?
I have always loved all the choices we have, but on the same note I have a soft spot for original, so when it came time for my project, I went with the stock gauge setup. We have a ton of old dash inserts for the 1956s upstairs and my truck came with a nice one, so for me it was a bit cheaper in the sense I don't have to buy a bezel to mount my gauges in. My new 1956 Ford F-100 project is satin red outside, but shiny red in the interior and engine compartment. The final paint scheme will be a two-tone red and crème with some special 1950s style trim to separate the two colors. I'm kind of going for a late-1950s car meets truck theme. Going with the stock setup will fit this theme better I think. (Course a nice set of black Moon gauges in an unpolished…stop it Mike.)