This is a simple story about a man, and a car, and the pursuit of perfection. RideTech’s Brett Voelkel was at the Scottsdale Barrett-Jackson auction in 2017 as part of the crew that was involved in the 48-Hour C10 build. The truck was being sold in front of a crowded house, and as part of the sponsor team, Voelkel was waiting for the photo op and media blitz that goes with the sponsorship of a charity build.

In an event where there is 1,750 cars for sale, having one stick out to a real car guy like Voelkel is pretty rare. As the 48-hour C10 lined up for the block, Voelkel’s eye caught a black on black 1969 Ford Mustang Mach 1 just two cars behind the Chevy truck. Bidding kicked off on the truck and everyone was happy when the gavel fell. The team and vehicle headed to the media area where the sponsors could get their photo ops and media coverage. On the way Voelkel stopped and headed back to the auction area.

There was something about that black Mustang that called him back. From experience, Voelkel knew that building a decent ’69 Mach 1 would cost way more than buying one already restored in near perfect condition. He wanted to see what this one would bring in for bids. He watched as the bidding stalled around $30,000 and raised his hand. With a known pro in the bidding, the bidding became active again – but Voelkel wasn’t going to back down.

The hammer fell on $46,200 and Voelkel felt that he had a bargain. Driving it home to Phoenix and spending a weekend with the new project, he determined that it would only need a couple of things to make it perfect. He had the RideTech StreetGRIP suspension system installed, a set of Baer SS4 disc brakes, and Dakota Digital HDX gauges in the instrument panel. “Quite frankly, the old 1969 gauges were never terribly useful,” he explained.

The OE Mustang gauges.

“RideTech has used Dakota Digital HDX gauges in many of our project vehicles, powered by a digital controller, the gauges could not be easier to install,” said Steve Chryssos. “There is no mess of wiring to deal with, and the gauge assemblies plug directly into the controller.”

From there Voelkel drove the car to the Goodguys event in Del Mar, California, where we spotted the new 1969 Mustang in Voelkel’s collection.

Dakota Digital’s HDX system.

1969 StreetGRIP Ford Mustang Mach 1 Custom Fastback:

  • VIN 9F02H174549
  • Exterior Color: Black
  • Interior Color: Black
  • Engine: 351ci Windsor V8
  • Cylinder Heads: Trick Flow Twisted Wedge heads
  • Camshaft: Ford E-cam roller cam
  • Intake: Edelbrock Performer intake
  • Carb: Holley
  • Transmission: 5-Speed manual with hydraulic clutch

The ‘Stang also has an aluminum radiator with electric fan and complete custom exhaust with long-tube headers. Other features include Borgeson power steering with 14:1 ratio and 4-wheel disc brakes. The 9-inch Ford rear has a traction-lock center section, Strange 31-spline axles, big bearing ends and 3:70 ratio gears. The upgraded suspension includes larger 1-1/8′” front swap bar, 620-lb front springs and performance rear leaf springs. It rides on custom 3-piece 17×8″ and 9-inch Bogart Racing wheels. It’s got all-new glass, including windshield and smoked side glass. The deluxe black interior features Vintage Air, custom sport seats, center console and fold-down rear seats.

What we saw at Del Mar.

Dakota Digital HDX Gauges:

  • Speedo (0 -160 MPH)
  • Tach (0- 8,000 RPM)
  • Oil Pressure (0- 80 psi)
  • Water Temperature (100- 260ºF)
  • Fuel Gauge
  • Voltmeter (9- 17 VDC)
  • Clock (12 hour analog clock movement)

Standard Displays

  • Odometer (One time user settable, Million Mile)
  • Dual (A/B) Trip Meter (0- 9,999.9)
  • Clock (12 hour)
  • Estimated Range/ Miles to Empty

Dakota Digital’s HDX controller.

Performance Meters

  • 0- 60 MPH Timer (0- 100 kmh)
  • 1/4 and 1/8 mile time
  • 1/4 and 1/8 mile end speed (trap speed)
  • High speed recall
  • High RPM recall

Gauges

  •  Turn Signals (Left/ Right)
  •  High Beam
  •  Check Engine
  •  Parking Brake
  •  Cruise Control (On/ On & Engaged when vehicle is equipped)
  •  Gear Position (Optional GSS-2000 sensor required)
  •  4 x 4 (When vehicle is equipped)
  •  Wait to Start (When vehicle is equipped)
  •  Two Auxiliary input indicators with user-programmable labels
  •  Each analog gauge sweep contains a red LED indicator for quick notice of a warning condition (except speedometer)

The Dakota Digital HDX system lit up.

Lighting Technology

Colors

Over 30 user-selectable color options allow you to independently change the needle color, sweep color and digital TFT display color.

Brightness

Both daytime and nighttime brightness can be easily controlled through the HDX setup menu, allowing you to choose your preferred lighting intensity level, toggled by the activation of the headlight switch. If on-the-fly rotary type control is desired, the DIM-1 is a common accessory to add this functionality.

How the Dakota Digital instrument cluster looks on the backside.

Themes

With 12 factory preset color themes, you can quickly create a beautiful looking system. Or, for the ultimate in customization, choose all of the color zones yourself.

Technology

Full LED backlighting provides a strikingly visual gauge package, with sharp contrast for ease of viewing both night and day. Full RBG backlighting allows you to create the specific color you want, with a unique daytime and nighttime theme if desired. Whether your goal is an OE look or something truly bold, the HDX Series lets you make that choice.