Gauges in the 1966/1967 Chevelle
The 'Special Instrumentation' or 'Instrument Panel Gauge' option was not standard with any 1966-1968 SS396 or 1969-1972 SS optioned Chevelles. Not only were they optional for the SS396 and other SS-optioned Chevelles but for most years, the gauge option was available on any V8 sport coupe, convertible, and sedan pickup (El Camino).
Two options were available in 1966 & 1967, RPO U14 that included the gauges and tachometer and RPO U16 for the tachometer only. For 1966 and 1967 RPO U14 could be ordered in any Malibu L6 or V8 or SS396 Chevelle, RPO 16 could be ordered individually in any V8 Chevelle regardless of series.
Aside from the differences in the speedometer makings, the gauges in the instrument panel were the same for both years. For 1966 the tachometer was located just below and to the right of the steering column getting it nickname of 'knee knocker' tach due to its location.
For 1967 the tachometer was moved to just under the upper dash strip and to the left. This obscured the left blinker so the left blinker was incorporated into the tachometer face earning it the nickname of 'blinker tach.' Also note the high beam indicator that is normally in the speedometer face of the 1967 dash was moved when the gauge option was ordered.
The aftermarket is now supplying replacement gauges to convert an original non-gauge dash and they work very well. One easy way to tell if the gauges are truly factory or aftermarket is the label on the gauge itself. Note the aftermarket gauges below has a much narrower font.
Another easy tell of aftermarket gauges in a 1967 non-gauge dash is the presence of the standard high beam indicator lamp (shown in the circle below).
Gauges in the 1970 Chevelle
The model years 1970 through 1972 are kind of special however. The
term 'gauges' applies to a tachometer, water temperature and ammeter
gauges in these three years. For this explanation the speedometer and
fuel level are not in this definition even though they 'gauge' speed
and fuel levels.
1. A standard non-SS optioned Malibu (136xx) series Chevelle (as well as all other series and models of Chevelle family) received what is generally referred to as a sweep speedometer dash. A clock was a separate option under RPO U35.
2. The SS-optioned Malibu sport coupe, convertible, and pickup as
round instrument pods but still no gauges; this is true for both
the Z25 SS 396 and Z15 SS 454 in 1970. (Note the Z25 was dropped
after 1970 and while the Z15 was retained for 1971 and 1972, it was
demoted to an SS option with no specific engine designated.)
Only the speedometer and fuel level instruments were included. The fuel
level gauge occupied the large left pod, the speedometer occupied the
large center pod, and the large right pod was blank. A clock was still
optional equipment and if/when ordered under RPO U35 the clock occupied
the large right pod.
3. When the Instrument Panel Gauge option was ordered on an SS-optioned
Malibu sport coupe, convertible, or pickup, the option included a tachometer,
water temperature, ammeter gauge, but the clock was still a separate
4. When the Instrument Panel Gauge option was ordered on a non-SS optioned V8 Malibu sport coupe, convertible, or pickup, the option included the same round instrument pods and included a tachometer, water temperature, and ammeter gauge, and the clock was still a separate option.
5. The 13857 Monte Carlo sport coupe received essentially the same
round gauge pod dash as an SS-optioned Malibu sport coupe, convertible,
and pickup with two exceptions. The base Monte Carlo dash still did
not have the optional gauges but did have a wood grained appliqué and
a clock was standard equipment.
When the same RPO U14 Instrument Panel Gauge option was ordered on
the Monte Carlo the same gauges and their locations were identical to
the gauges when ordered on a V8 Malibu sport coupe, convertible, or
Caveat - the only differences in any of the gauges supplied with
the RPO U14 option was the tachometer redline range.
° 0-7000 rpm/5000 rpm redline. Used with 307, 350, and 400-2bbl cid engines (base/L48/L65/LF6) *
° 0-7000 rpm/5500 rpm redline. Used with high performance 396, 400-4bbl, and 454 cid engines (L34/LS3/LS5)
° 0-7000 rpm/6500 rpm redline. Used with special high performance 396 and 454 cid engines (L78/LS6)
* To date, all documentation shows that Atlanta installed the 5000 rpm redline tachometer in all base SS454 Chevelles (with LS5 engine) where other plants installed the 'correct' 5500 rpm redline tachometer. Atlanta did not build the Monte Carlo in 1970 so all 1970 Monte Carlos with the SS454 option (RPO Z20) should have the 5500 rpm redline tachometer along with the LS5 engine.