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1960 Chrysler 300-F AstraDome Instrument Panel | by Crown Star Images
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1960 Chrysler 300-F AstraDome Instrument Panel

Chrysler 300 Club

49th Annual Fall Meet

Registration Day

Minneapolis Marriott West

St.Louis Park, Minnesota

 

Chrysler 300 chosen as the featured marque by the 10,000 Lakes Concours d'Elegance

 

AstraDome

By David LaChance from the March 2006 issue of Hemmings Motor News

 

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.

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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Taken on July 24, 2019