1980's Mercedes Instruments

Over the years, Vehicle instrument technology has changed and evolved very slowly, this is in part due to the almost standardised methods of presenting information to the driver.


Manufacturers have tried other methods of presentation, however no LED or LCD display was ever able to improve upon the ease of reading the traditional dial and pointer units.

During the 1970’s, Mercedes began combining instruments into clusters, a trend that would become common amongst all OE manufacturers during the 1980’s.


But while most were enjoying the ease of producing single instrument panels at low cost, Mercedes products retained most of their build quality by using the same movements as would be fitted to classic, individually cased units and fitting them into a heavy moulded facia. with metal components abound, saving weight or money was not the aim.

The images above show an example of a Mercedes modular instrument cluster. This fully electronic unit was far superior in its build quality when compared to other manufacturers equipment.


The same internal movements were used by VDO for a number of high-end german manufacturers. It will come as no surprise that BMW and Porsche also used the same type of movements in their units.

These Clusters are some of the best examples of a product made to a specification not a price.

Due to the individually wired instruments within the panel, failures are usualy isolated to a single element, the speedometer being the most common failure. The speedometer is the most stressed unit in most panels and even the best will fail at some point, the tachometer a close second place.

The odometer gearing within the electronic speedometer is of the cushion (very soft plastic) type and if original will most likely be in poor condition. 

Ryan Linley Restoration offers a comprehensive repair and restoration service, that can be tailored to suit your needs.

With over 15 years experience working with Mercedes VDO instrument panels, we can bring your tired faulty units back to life, ensuring many more years of trouble free opperaion.