July '16

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JULY 2016 THE SHOP 91 specs and colors. So it took an incredible team of people to pull off one set of one- off gauges." GAUGING SALES Regardless of market niche, selling and/or installing gauges offers ample opportunity for add-on sales. "The most common add-on items are Hall-effect senders to convert from an old cable-driven speedo to an electronic speedo," Bradley notes. "Other popular add-ons are wire harnesses, fitting adapters, dimmer switches and LEDs for high beams and turn signals." Compatible with Dakota Digital's VHX and VFD3 lines are a gear-position sensor that also functions as a neutral safety switch and reverse-light circuit, a rotary dimmer knob, cruise control "and the entire BIM- series of expansion modules," says Karpe, "offering additional readouts such as transmission temp, fuel pressure, compass heading, boost pressure, and more." And any time you are installing new instruments, McLeod suggests, "is a great time to redo wiring—and there are some outstanding companies in our industry that offer complete wiring harnesses." At the very least, check your grounds. Concerning the best parts to keep in stock, Karpe notes that "sticking with the most popular makes and models is a good start. Certain face styling and lighting color combinations are more universal than others, so having a black/white kit in stock is never a bad move. Having a running and driving demo vehicle at the shop is a huge plus; allowing customers to see the instruments in action goes a long way toward making a sale." "Talk with our sales staff," McLeod advises, "so we can understand your core business and assist you with what to keep in stock, offer some ideas regarding top sellers and teach you how to show your customers all of our options. We also offer numerous classes all over the country, and we will come to your shop if needed." "Stick with the core sellers," Bradley con- cludes: "Black or white dials with silver or black anodized bezels. And educate your customers so that they are aware of the multiple customization options available." As Stark said earlier, the sky truly is the limit. JOHN F. KATZ is a freelance automotive journalist and his- torian. He is a regular contrib- utor to THE SHOP as well as other automotive industry pub- lications. He lives and works in south-central Pennsylvania. One gauge trend is toward ever- more-intricate and unusual designs. (Photos courtesy Z Rodz and Customs) Drivers love timeless styles, and installers appreciate easy in- stallations. (Photo courtesy Auto Meter) HOT ROD & CUSTOMIZATION

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