With Wings As Eagles: Photography/Darkroom/Movie Entries

Bad To The Bone: instrument panels come full circle

2012 April 06 09:53

My wife and I took a short weekend vacation over the winter to the Sevierville, Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg area of Tennessee. While we were there, we visited the Hollywood Star Cars Museum in Gatlinburg. It has some interesting cars from movies or owned by movie stars. It also has some other interesting artifacts, like the Batcomputer from the 1960s Batman series:

They have a neat array of props from James Bond movies, including a Golden Gun prop from "The Man With The Golden Gun":

Among its vehicles, it has one of the motorcycles used in "Terminator 2". It's a 1990 Harley Davidson Fatboy. I took this image of the overall bike:

And then one quick shot of the instrument panel

Because my wife really isn't into car museums.

I late found myself looking at the second photo a lot on my phone, looking at the speedometer and light panel:

The bottom of the panel, just below the key switch, are very clearly warning and function lights. The red light in the lower rightis probably the oil pressure warning light. The green one in the center bottom is probably the "neutral" indicator light. The lower left blue one is probably the high-beam headlight indicator. But are the other colored things in the next row up lights, or just trim?

It took me a while to figure out why this one photo of this motorcycle was obsessing me so (meaning a couple of hours for an evening googling photos trying to find better depictions). My revelation was--I'm obsessed with instrument panels of vehicles. I'm not sure why this was a revelation. Whenever I got on a trip I take pictures of my own instrument panel, or particularly of the rental car I'm driving. One of the things that facinates me about my vintage Beetle is the extremely austere instruments: one speedometer dial, which an embedded fuel gauge, and two warning lights. When I look at an airplane for sale, I want to look at the instrument panel more than pictures of the outside of the airplane.

I found an few interesting depictions with Google image searches: an article on howstuffworks.com on the Harley Fatboy, and another specifically on the "grey ghost" on harley-fatboys.com.

Then I started doing some searches on YouTube, and ran into some interesting stuff. Here's a couple of videos featuring someone starting and running a Fatboy where you can see the instrument lights when they turn on the ignition: here and here.

After I ran into those examples, I did some more thorough searching for images, sometimes including for-sale sites. Here's a for-sale ad for a 1992 Harley Fatboy in Tennessee. If you click on the "more photos" link, the middle photo has a nice view of the speedometer/instrument cluster in bright light.

I found a very nice image of the tank and speedo by Carl Johan on flickr:

I found some other photos on flickr, including this one by Stacey Warnke, which I think is the very same motorcycle. The other photos near it in her photostream are of other cars in that same museum. The image shows the odometer milage of 727 miles, and the page says the photo was taken on July 31, 2008. The odometer in my photo, taken January 2012, lists has 732 miles: