1973 Stutz Blackhawk Instrument Cluster redo

Over the past few years some friends of ours have been restoring a 1973 Stutz Blackhawk automobile. It is a very large, sleek and classy car.  They are quite rare, and were highly regarded by entertainers and other elites. Regarding the Stutz Blackhawk, Wilikpedia states, “The Stutz Blackhawk was an American luxury car manufactured from 1971 through 1987. Other than the name it bears no resemblance with the original Stutz Blackhawk (1929-1931).  You can read the rest of the article by clicking here.

The handbuilt Blackhawk featured a custom built Italian body on a General Motors (GM) platform and engine.  The interior of the car is exquisite, and our friend Terry had begun work on the instrument cluster.  This is the collective grouping of gauges such as oil, fuel, tachometer, speedometer, temperature, and voltmeter.  It had some wear and pitting on the gold background, but the lettering and numbers were quite rough and in some instances completely gone.  He and his wife Judi searched the internet for some sort of decals, or replacement parts, but what little they found did not fit or match the original fonts.  For those of you not familiar with automobile restoration, authenticity is of utmost importance, and if you have to re do something, try to keep it as close to the original as possible.

Stutz Blackhawk instrument cluster, Denny Martindale
Stutz Blackhawk Instrument Cluster, before

As you can see, this one had areas that were completely worn off, so Terry found a nice artist’s marker and set about trying to put the numbers and letters back in.  After a few tries, he asked me one day if I might be able to try my hand at duplicating the original font.  I said I would try, and brought the cluster and marker to the studio.  I set about practicing the font, and fortunately was able to take off any mistake I made with a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol, which did not hurt the gold background.  After about 2 1/2 hours, I completed the lettering and gave Terry a call.  They both were elated and are looking forward to completing the project.

Stuts Blackhawk oil gauge, Denny Martindale
Oil gauge after lettering
Stutz Blackhawk Instrument Cluster, Denny Martindale
Stutz Blackhawk Instrument Cluster after

I love working on pieces every once in a while that are outside the other painting I do.  I am looking forward to seeing Terry’s finished project, and maybe even riding in it!



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