Hemmings "Astra Dome" article

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  1. Pete Kaczmarski

    Pete Kaczmarski Senior Member

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    I really like mine in my '62 300 Conv.

    emmings Motor News
    AstraDome
    By David LaChance from the March 2006 issue of Hemmings Motor News
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    This spectacular dashboard made its debut in the 1960 Chryslers. Who would be surprised if it had influenced The Jetsons, Hanna-Barbera’s cartoon about a Space Age family that appeared just two years later? America in the early 1960s was a land of optimists who just couldn’t wait for tomorrow to come, and Chrysler’s futuristic AstraDome instrument panel tapped into that zeitgeist. The name itself invoked space flight, and was coined a good five years before the Houston Astrodome opened its doors.

    The panel’s dominant feature is the clear plastic bubble that puts a three-dimensional array of instruments directly in the driver’s line of vision. Everything is here but the tachometer, which resides in the console like an afterthought. In the background is the semicircular sweep of the speedometer; in the foreground are individual gauges for amperes, fuel level, oil pressure and coolant temperature. At night, the instruments are bathed in electroluminescent (or, as Chrysler called it, Panelescent) blue lighting. How cool is that?

    From the moment you slid behind the wheel, the message was clear: You, and you alone, are in control of this remarkable automobile. More than two dozen knobs, switches and pushbuttons would await your twists and pokes. To the left of the semicircular speedometer is a panel with five pushbuttons to control the transmission; to the right is a mirror-image panel for heating, cooling and ventilation controls. Two big knurled knobs under the transmission pushbuttons control lighting and wipers, while the ignition switch and Golden Touch radio take up residence under the heating controls. Four more knobs were arrayed around the chrome band at the base of the dome, for control of map and dome lights, rear window defrosting and the power antenna.

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    Chrysler wasn’t done. Up to four more controls-for the power convertible top, mirror, Auto-Pilot speed control, and direction of cooled air-were mounted under the panel, each in its own nacelle.

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    “It works great,” said Louis Barrie, who owns the 1960 Chrysler 300F in these photographs. “It’s very contemporary, even though it’s over 40 years old.” The blue lighting at night only adds to the effect, he says. “It’s very impressive. And when the lighting reflects onto the clear plastic steering wheel, it’s just beautiful.”
     
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  2. swisherred

    swisherred Well-Known Member

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    I just saw one new yorker in PA for $700 on one of the boards or FB with this dash...very nice. someone wants to buy it for 800 and derby it.. smh.
     
  3. BuckeyeBarracuda

    BuckeyeBarracuda New Member

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    I actually have one of those and additional dash parts to sell, if anyone is interested. Originally picked up the spare, radio, etc in case needed for a 60 Saratoga that I had and sold to another list member. If interested, I can post pics (currently boxed up in my garage) and prices. Super design for a ash and the blue light from the electroluminesence is spectacular. Near Akron, Ohio.
     
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  4. saforwardlook

    saforwardlook Old Man with a Hat FCBO Gold Member

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    So do you own a 71 Sport Fury GT? We need to see some photos of that car (I can't tell if yours is a 23 roof or a 29 from your avatar)!
     
  5. BuckeyeBarracuda

    BuckeyeBarracuda New Member

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    My car is actually a Gran Coupe with the formal roof-line (which I really prefer). It had the paisley top, but was showing significant wear and shrinkage. So, I had a black top designed by Legendary (they didn't have one for the formal roof, and used my car to template the design. It took a few back-and-forth shipments and left me with a couple black fastback vinyl roof coverings that I need to post sometime, the original items). I did have the seats re-done in the original paisley fabric, which I got from SMS Interiors. 360/torqueflite, A/C, etc. Great running and driving car. Original 2bbl, but it starts and runs so good, I don't want to mess with it. I just replaced the carpet and dash cover, and we had the lower quarters replaced before painting it the FE5 Burnt Orange color.
     
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  6. saforwardlook

    saforwardlook Old Man with a Hat FCBO Gold Member

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    The 360-2 bbl engine runs very sweet. I wouldn't change a thing either.
     
  7. jct

    jct Senior Member FCBO Gold Member

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    Would you be interested in used original set of spark plug wires for the '71 360?