Sculpt Garage 69 Charger
There’s a common trend these days in the hot rod hobby, it’s a blend of both worlds, “Keep it old school but make it modern”. “The same only different” as I heard my father say many times over the years. In 2018 I attended the Detroit Autorama show, home of the famous Ridler Award. During this incredible 3 day show in the Motor City, there was an open forum that consisted of some of the biggest names, and friends of Dakota Digital in the industry. The forum was a panel of experts and open to the public to allow John Q. the opportunity to ask the big boys some questions. The panel consisted of, Jesse Greening of Greening Auto Company, Jim and Mike Ring from Ring Brothers, the famed Bobby Alloway and also Kyle Tucker the founder of Detroit Speed. One attendee in the crowd asked about current trends the guys are seeing. Kyle fielded this question and answered with how a lot of his customers want to build their dream hot rod, but make it feel and ride like they are inside their Cadillac, Mercedes or Denali. One of the hurdles all of the builders agreed upon is where do we put all the stuff to do that? The space under the dash of your preferred muscle car or truck fills up fast once you start adding things they never dreamed of back in good ol days! Stereos and components, Vintage Air A/C, ECMs for fuel injection are pretty much standard upgrades these days. Builders small and large have to get creative to hide all the unsightly pieces that are required for the modern amenities to function.
Brent Davison owns Sculpt Garage in San Marcos Texas and has worked for many years on modernizing interiors for his customers. Recently Brent had a customer with a really clean 69 Dodge Charger that wanted some upgrades to the cockpit. Similar to the story above, don’t take away from the old school look and feel. After interviewing Brent on the phone, I heard about many of the head scratching designs from the 60’s he had to deal with. Heat and A/C vents that point at your knees, and a glove box door that opens backwards just to name a couple.
With a 3D printer in his shop, he basically re-designed most of the pieces, small and large in the interior so he could re-arrange the dash and incorporate things like a modern Alpine iPhone stereo interface, new duct vents that didn’t cool your knees or shins, Dakota Digital DCC-4000 Vintage Air controller and many other extras. Keeping with the theme of the B body interior, Brent ditched the stock Mopar gauges and installed Dakota Digital HDX-2024 universal gauges. These allowed him to bring in some modern technology and keep the 6 pack gauges in the stock layout. Since this kit is considered universal, mounting and securing these gauges is considerably simpler than using the direct fit kit which needs the stock dash and frame for mounting points. The dual digital TFT screens in the HDX family add things such as trip odometers, performance readouts, miles to empty for fuel consumption, high speed and high RPM recall which can help answer any questions if you let Junior take the car for a spin. Completely programmable via Bluetooth and the free app, virtually any color combo or theme for background lighting can be selected, simplified speedometer calibration, sender and sensor settings and numerous other features are incorporated in those 6 gauges.
This build is a perfect blend of old and new, stock steel body panels, carbureted 383 engine, modern wheels and brakes, some suspension upgrades underneath, and a new/old styled interior. Complete with the headlights high beam floor switch poking through the red carpet. I’m just fine that tissue dispensers went by the way side as an interior feature, but I miss that floor switch.