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Why so many different A-Body Export KPH speedometers?

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Why so many different A-Body Export KPH speedometers?

Old October 6th, 2018, 07:24 PM
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Why so many different A-Body Export KPH speedometers?

Let me just throw this out here and see what anyone knows about this. I have pictures here of three different A-body speedometers, all export cars destined for different areas.

The first picture is a car destined for Canada with a speedometer that reads up to 200 KPH which roughly equates to about 120 MPH.

The second picture is a car in Germany (that I imagine was shipped through the Bienne GM Facility in Switzerland) which has a 240 KPM speedometer which roughly equates to about 150 MPH.

The third picture is a car that was definitely shipped through the Bienne GM Facility in Switzerland, for a customer in France, which has a 270 KPH speedometer, which roughly equates to 165 MPH.

Does anybody have any input on why there are so many variables?



Attached Images
File Type: jpg
KM Speedometer.jpg (132.6 KB, 267 views)
File Type: jpg
KPH 240 before.jpg (39.7 KB, 71 views)
File Type: jpg
KM Speedometer3.jpg (591.6 KB, 69 views)
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Old October 6th, 2018, 07:52 PM
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I dunno, but it would be cool to get a 200 KPH speedo and set it up for for MPH.
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Old October 6th, 2018, 11:25 PM
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year would matter as would manufacturer AC Delco or other & CANADA didn't go metric 'til '75 or '76?
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Old October 6th, 2018, 11:37 PM
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Well the first pic looks to be in a 1970 due to the burlwood dash. The second I would guess is a 73-75. And the third is a 71-72.
My question is why is the 60 orange on the last one? That's roughly 37 MPH or so...an odd speed to highlight.
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Old October 7th, 2018, 02:26 AM
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I like the first one. has two indicators. and has a **** on it, is that to set a warning buzzer for a certain speed?
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Old October 7th, 2018, 06:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Fun71 View Post
I dunno, but it would be cool to get a 200 KPH speedo and set it up for for MPH.
All you have to do is change the speedo drive/driven gears in the trans.

Of course, the bigger question is, why? To impress the uneducated? Kind of worthless to have a gauge where you can only use half the sweep. All that means is that the resolution is worse at the speeds that you drive at. This is Instrumentation 101. I frankly have this problem with aftermarket tachs. Why should I buy a tach with 0-9000 or 0-10000 sweep when I rarely need more than 5000 RPM? I wanted a nice tach for my engine run stand, but I'm not running the engine over 2500 RPM during cam break-in. A nine grand tach is worthless, especially since many new ones now have a non-linear scale that has less resolution at lower RPMs.
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Old October 7th, 2018, 09:52 AM
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Originally Posted by svnt442 View Post
Well the first pic looks to be in a 1970 due to the burlwood dash. The second I would guess is a 73-75. And the third is a 71-72.
My question is why is the 60 orange on the last one? That's roughly 37 MPH or so...an odd speed to highlight.
The third one is an early built 71 442 with a date of 9A on the data plate. Still has some 70 parts like flat top fenders and water neck.
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Old October 7th, 2018, 11:37 AM
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I remember this one. Canada road speeds didn't go metric till around 1976\7 and when the highway speed signs changed from 60 mph to 100 km/hr (which is actually faster) etc GM put a big push onto the dealers to sell the speedometer conversions. They basically were a vinyl overlay that went over top of the existing speedometer. To see one here now is relatively rare, and obviously not as issued by the factory. I remember my Dad buying a 76 Malibu Classic and the speedo was still MPH but had KM/HR in blue numbers under the MPH
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Old October 7th, 2018, 11:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Allan R View Post
I remember this one. Canada road speeds didn't go metric till around 1976\7 and when the highway speed signs changed from 60 mph to 100 km/hr (which is actually faster) etc GM put a big push onto the dealers to sell the speedometer conversions. They basically were a vinyl overlay that went over top of the existing speedometer. To see one here now is relatively rare, and obviously not as issued by the factory. I remember my Dad buying a 76 Malibu Classic and the speedo was still MPH but had KM/HR in blue numbers under the MPH
That first one is the only one that makes sense to me. Changing the numbers to where the indicator already is in MPH would seem like the easiest way. I don't know why the others are extended so far out to measure that area of top speed.
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Old October 7th, 2018, 12:28 PM
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The middle picture in the first post is of a 1970 442 speedometer and this is the before restoration picture. It looked much better when I was done.
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Old October 7th, 2018, 12:31 PM
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I can see the German speedo being what it is likely due to legislation for a metric speedo. Since their autobahn allows for insane speeds in some sections but on average it only allows 130 km/hr, but the one for 270 doesn't make any sense. It looks to me more like someone created a sticker and colored in that 60 KM/HR.

I googled French speed limits and they mimic Germany very closely so the need for 270 isn't practical. Another thing to ponder is how would anyone expect a 1970-72 Cutlass to ever achieve those speed limits??? BTW, I find that 1970 speedo with the speedminder set at 155 kind of ridiculous. If you're going that fast, you'd know it because you'd be doing close to 100 mph and the engine would definitely be telling you that and the fuel gauge would likely be easy to see as a steady movement towards empty.
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Old October 7th, 2018, 12:32 PM
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Originally Posted by oldspackrat View Post
The middle picture in the first post is of a 1970 442 speedometer and this is the before restoration picture. It looked much better when I was done.
Pic??
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Old October 7th, 2018, 02:26 PM
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The second one after being restored.
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Old October 7th, 2018, 03:05 PM
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Looks good but still speeds are over rated IMO. 240 Km/hr = 150 mph which I seriously doubt any stock Cutlass will do.
Nice job on the restoration Scott. What would be really cool is to find the stickers for the 1/10's mph and make them crisp and white again.
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Old October 7th, 2018, 03:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Allan R View Post
Looks good but still speeds are over rated IMO. 240 Km/hr = 150 mph which I seriously doubt any stock Cutlass will do.
Nice job on the restoration Scott. What would be really cool is to find the stickers for the 1/10's mph and make them crisp and white again.
Well....I had a 1980 cutlass up to roughly 142 mph (calculated). That was with a completely stock 1975 350 and a 2.28 rear end. The engine was turning about 4250 rpm. At 100 mph it was turning 3000 rpm.

So if you had a cutlass with a 455 and 2.56 gears, I think it would easily do 150 mph. Would it be stable? Most likely not, but it could do it.
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Old October 8th, 2018, 03:38 AM
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Originally Posted by svnt442 View Post
Well....I had a 1980 cutlass up to roughly 142 mph (calculated). That was with a completely stock 1975 350 and a 2.28 rear end. The engine was turning about 4250 rpm. At 100 mph it was turning 3000 rpm.

So if you had a cutlass with a 455 and 2.56 gears, I think it would easily do 150 mph. Would it be stable? Most likely not, but it could do it.
I doubt it. The drag coefficient increases at the square of the speed, without doing the math I suspect you would need in the region of 500bhp to move a Cutlass of that vintage through a 150 mph headwind....

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Old October 8th, 2018, 03:42 AM
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Originally Posted by svnt442 View Post
Well the first pic looks to be in a 1970 due to the burlwood dash. The second I would guess is a 73-75. And the third is a 71-72.
My question is why is the 60 orange on the last one? That's roughly 37 MPH or so...an odd speed to highlight.
Not really an odd speed. 35mph is a common speed limit in the USA. But then 55mph might seem odd in European eyes.....

Roger.
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Old October 8th, 2018, 08:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Rustbucket2 View Post
I like the first one. has two indicators. and has a **** on it, is that to set a warning buzzer for a certain speed?
Yes, that is the Safety Sentinel Speedometer, U15, I think. Set the white needle where you want, and there is a spring contact on it that follows along. When the speedo needle sweeps by, the spring will get rotated and send power to a buzzer on the printed circuit which will sound until you either drop speed or adjust it higher.
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Old October 8th, 2018, 04:03 PM
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Originally Posted by rustyroger View Post
I doubt it. The drag coefficient increases at the square of the speed, without doing the math I suspect you would need in the region of 500bhp to move a Cutlass of that vintage through a 150 mph headwind....

Roger.
how much less aerodynamic do you think a 70 would be over an 80? Respectfully I disagree with you due to my personal experience.
I had a 455 in a 70 with 2.56 gears an I have no doubt that it would have done 150. I never tried because the suspension needed a ton of work to be safe at high speeds.
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Old October 8th, 2018, 04:51 PM
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Originally Posted by svnt442 View Post
I have no doubt that it would have done 150.

I never tried...
So your estimate of 150 is based on what, exactly? Your butt dyno?
Sorry, but not very compelling proof.

I had a 68 Vista with a transplanted 425 and 2.73 gears. It maxed out at 121 indicated. The aerodynamic drag force is about 50% greater at 150.

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Old October 8th, 2018, 05:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Allan R View Post
Looks good but still speeds are over rated IMO. 240 Km/hr = 150 mph which I seriously doubt any stock Cutlass will do.
Nice job on the restoration Scott. What would be really cool is to find the stickers for the 1/10's mph and make them crisp and white again.

Thanks Allan,
The numbers & letters are silk screened? or lightly painted on the face of the speedo, Any vigorous attempts to wipe dirt or rub dust off of them will remove the white paint. This one had small rust specks all over the face & I had to do some thinkin' to get it clean but it did turn out as nice as it could be.
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Old October 8th, 2018, 05:51 PM
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the end one on the right one with the orange on it,looks to be some sort of back flash image from the camera,look close and you can see the guy taking the picture. orange shirt maybe?
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Old October 8th, 2018, 07:49 PM
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Originally Posted by joe_padavano View Post
So your estimate of 150 is based on what, exactly? Your butt dyno?
Sorry, but not very compelling proof.

I had a 68 Vista with a transplanted 425 and 2.73 gears. It maxed out at 121 indicated. The aerodynamic drag force is about 50% greater at 150.
I did go past 120 in the 70...once and it had plenty left in it.
I would bet that it was actually more aerodynamic than my 80 was due to the rear glass design and I was able to reach about 142 with the 80.
I would be very shocked if the 70 wouldn't do that with 250+ more horsepower and gobs more torque.
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Old October 9th, 2018, 11:06 AM
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Originally Posted by oldolds88 View Post
the end one on the right one with the orange on it,looks to be some sort of back flash image from the camera,look close and you can see the guy taking the picture. orange shirt maybe?
I hear what you're saying but that is not the case here. That speedometer clearly has that # "60" and its "marker" marked in Red for a reason. Whatever the reason is, is beyond my guessing ability. I still don't understand why there are three different ones in almost the same year.
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Old October 9th, 2018, 01:19 PM
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A 1971 W-30 supposedly purchased new by someone at U.S. Embassy in England. It has a 200 KPH speedometer.

https://classicoldsmobile.com/forums/general-discussion/34434-1971-442-w30-export-model-england-uk.html#&gid=1&pid=2

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Old October 9th, 2018, 02:10 PM
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I have the same 200 KPH speedo as the thread starter has in the first picture, and as the US embassy car has in the post above mine. The speedo came out of a 71 Supreme from Holland. I have the import tag from the inner fender somewhere.
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Old October 9th, 2018, 02:11 PM
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Originally Posted by anthonyP View Post
A 1971 W-30 supposedly purchased new by someone at U.S. Embassy in England. It has a 200 KPH speedometer.

https://classicoldsmobile.com/forums...l#&gid=1&pid=2
But we still use miles here. Could be he intended to use it in Europe, or maybe export cars all had kph speedometers?.

Roger.
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Old October 9th, 2018, 02:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Seff View Post
I have the same 200 KPH speedo as the thread starter has in the first picture, and as the US embassy car has in the post above mine. The speedo came out of a 71 Supreme from Holland. I have the import tag from the inner fender somewhere.
Does your import tag look something like this?
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Old October 9th, 2018, 09:19 PM
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It looks exactly like that. Does it mean that it was sold by a dealer in the EU?
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Old October 10th, 2018, 02:11 AM
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Originally Posted by asx455 View Post
I hear what you're saying but that is not the case here. That speedometer clearly has that # "60" and its "marker" marked in Red for a reason. Whatever the reason is, is beyond my guessing ability. I still don't understand why there are three different ones in almost the same year.
Well, quiete easy. The car was made for french market, at this time the speed limit in the city in France was 60 km/h.
It was reduced to 50 km/h somewhere in the 80īs.
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Old October 10th, 2018, 11:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Seff View Post
It looks exactly like that. Does it mean that it was sold by a dealer in the EU?
The short answer to your question is Yes. It sold new through a dealer somewhere over there.
That tag is a VIN / Body Tag, affixed to the vehicle indicating it's overseas life originated from the Suisse S.A. General Motors Assembly Plant in Switzerland. I am unaware of the actual level of processing (if any), it has gone through in that assembly plant due to the fact that the car was manufactured in Lansing for export. It may have well been just a safety inspection to check for conformance with foreign safety requirements. I would like to see a picture of the cowl tag on the car that has this VIN plate affixed to it.
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Old October 10th, 2018, 11:14 AM
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Here's a few pictures. '71 350/350 Supreme non-AC car, rear defog (the wires in the rear window, not the blower motor), power windows and four-way electric seat. FE-2 suspension.
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File Type: jpg
PA180808.JPG (1.62 MB, 20 views)
File Type: jpg
PA180795.JPG (1.51 MB, 20 views)
File Type: jpg
PA180797.JPG (1.50 MB, 14 views)
File Type: jpg
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File Type: jpg
PB170001.JPG (1.53 MB, 12 views)

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Old October 10th, 2018, 01:09 PM
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Is it possible for you to show a picture of the body tag located on the firewall near the windshield? The tag I showed was very similarly optioned, Non AC, wired rear defroster, power windows and 4 way bucket seat.

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Old October 10th, 2018, 01:14 PM
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Nope, the car is gone, and I don't have a picture of the body tag.
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Old October 13th, 2018, 05:35 AM
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Interesting to know the conversion speedometer exists. As said 76/77 is when we switched, our old 75 Cutlass growing up was mph, as is my 70S. Most of the cars we owned were dual, usually Km/hr on top and mph on the bottom. I have to remind the kids my car is in mph, a speedo conversion would be handy.
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Old October 13th, 2018, 08:48 AM
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The third photo seems to be from the 1971 442 that was exported to Germany. Cannot find an interior photo of the 1971 442 that was exported to Lebanon.
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Old October 13th, 2018, 10:44 AM
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Originally Posted by svnt442 View Post
Well....I had a 1980 cutlass up to roughly 142 mph (calculated). That was with a completely stock 1975 350 and a 2.28 rear end.
No, you didn't. Not calculated, not observed, not no-how. Not with that engine and drivetrain in that body.

NO!
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Old October 13th, 2018, 01:28 PM
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Originally Posted by anthonyP View Post
The third photo seems to be from the 1971 442 that was exported to Germany.
Yes Anthony, this is the same car. It is currently being shipped back to Switzerland for the second time.
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Old October 13th, 2018, 02:27 PM
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Seems the export cars noted in the thread have the same options.
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Old October 14th, 2018, 01:58 AM
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Originally Posted by '69442ragtop View Post
No, you didn't. Not calculated, not observed, not no-how. Not with that engine and drivetrain in that body.

NO!
Ok...you do the math...27" tire, 2.28 gear, 4250 RPM. It happened whether you believe it or not.
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