Piston Slap: An enlightened Panelescent replacement?

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Piston_Slap_Imperial_Dash_Lead
Chrysler

Michael writes:

Hello, I have a 1960 Chrysler Imperial. They had the glowing dash and dials. Over time the paint on the dials needs redone, but that is not my question. My question is when the power pack goes, is there a way to do away with the power pack and keep the original glowing dash and dials? I have not found a place that rebuilds the power pack and I am not very sure how to do that in my garage. Thank you for any help or advice that you can provide.

Sajeev answers:

I love this question, mostly as a fan of keeping the historically relevant innovations from unobtainum luxury cars alive for as long as humanly possible. The Chrysler Imperial’s Panelescent instrument panel absolutely qualifies, as this innovation ushered in the use of electroluminescence in automotive applications. But it was on the bleeding edge of technology, designed with one-off components by Sylvania, using a bespoke power supply that converts the Imperial’s 12v DC system into higher voltage AC current to feed the lighting behind the instrument panel.

You can see the marketing-speak in the video above while I look for a revised, updated, and hopefully improved power supply for this Imperial’s gauges …

Annnnnnd that wasn’t too hard, because a new power supply is for sale on eBay Motors. The seller states, “This unit is new, made with modern components.” He also states the original power supply fails because of heat and the ability for moisture to enter the system. But his design “is completely sealed with military grade epoxy.” Sounds fine and dandy, but two pictures are worth a thousand words.

It all tracks, and his eBay selling rating is stellar, so odds are this is your next and final solution. The conversion appears to be plug and play; just make sure you add that ground wire to the same bolt used to hold the power supply. Since this is a true bolt-on upgrade, the asking price seems more than fair: I’d pay triple that price for similar unobtainum repairs on my vintage Lincolns!

The only down side might be the color matching, but odds are what you see below is very, very close to the factory look.

Have a question you’d like answered on Piston Slap? Send your queries to pistonslap@hagerty.com, give us as much detail as possible so we can help! If you need an expedited resolution, make a post on the Hagerty Community!

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