Let’s throw it back to the ’90s, when everything was more simplistic, including the gauge clusters in our cars! It’s really amazing to see how things have evolved over time, and how much more advanced technology has become.
Our cars have developed to be more elaborately designed, and tech features are not only prevalent but often determine the sales rate of a car nowadays. Everyone wants the most they can get out of their drive. The aesthetics of the displays have really transformed.
It’s fun to look back at the “good old days” when we thought our cars were cool! There are some staple features that really scream the '90s and stamp their place in time. Let’s take a peek at 20 Photos of Gauge Clusters That Could Only Have Existed in the '90s.
19 Toyota Soarer
In true '90s fashion, this gauge cluster boasts a neon blue display with a prominent mph display centered to the cluster.
Gas and temp info is also easy to identify and the colored LEDs to the side simplify what direction our eyes need to go in for specific information. Basic but effective.
18 1996 Corvette Coupe
Now we’re talking. This looks fun. The RPM gauge on the left side entices you to drive faster just to watch the needle move. The red-lit, red-backed display gives this car a sporty feeling and red is associated with racing so it just seems more enticing than other colors.
The way the gauge indicators were shrunk and clustered along the right side is more modern and sleek.
17 1991 Chrysler New Yorker
It wasn’t clear to us if this was a gauge or a radio display. First glance was deceiving. The second glance was disappointing, and we’ve since decided to stop looking. The diagramed green-lit design was supposed to seem advanced but it looks confusing and it takes a while of staring to figure it out.
It was a starting point for Chrysler, and thankfully, they’ve since improved!
16 1996 Town Car
Points and credit go to the cool blue LED lighting that was used, but the points then get taken away for the fact that this is sloppy, cluttered, and confusing. Way too much information appears here, all in the same color.
We see the idea behind this as being a good one, but we’re glad there have been advancements and that this dash design didn’t stick around too long.
15 Subaru XT Turbo
It’s hard to believe this used to be considered really cool, but it certainly was in the ’90s. This cluster incorporated the 3D effect which took over the late 90’s by storm.
Increasing rev rate in red on the display was a huge feature back then. This was one of the more advanced gauges of the 90s.
14 1992 Ford Mustang
Well now – this is a pretty little thing! The black instrument bezel with the LED blue was the indicator of brag-worthy cars of the ’90s.
Everyone wanted these and street cred was attained with them, that’s for sure. They did a great job on this Mustang, making it look like something you’d want to jump into and test the road with!
13 Mazda Astina 323
It doesn’t get much simpler than this gauge cluster. Stamped with 90’s plain design and super-basic concept, this cluster is simple and to the point.
In a moment’s glance, you can identify the car’s most critical information, and the driver can easily focus on the road ahead, as this is gauge cluster is really not going to mesmerize them!
12 1999 Honda S2000
This gauge demonstrates the progress made towards the end of the ’90s. The switch to digital is evident here, and dare we say, there’s been an introduction of orange and red lights to enhance the display.
The information is grouped and not separated within the circle gauge designs that the older '90s models embraced. This is an example of a clean, crisp, modern late '90s cluster.
11 1995 Volvo S70
This is a bit too basic for the mid-’90s, but then again, it is a Volvo, and they’re not exactly known for their cutting –edge technology or styling.
The digital components are evident, but this cluster still lacks the colored LEDs that you’d expect from the mid-'90s models.
10 1990 VW Rabbit
Oh boy! The later '90s models showed far greater advancement than this early model Rabbit does. Rolling this car’s odometer back would have been an easy task- not that we’d ever do that!
We can practically hear the beeping noise this Vdub would have made when one of the fault-lights in the center started to flash! This is a true reflection of the early ’90s.
9 1990 Mercedes 190 E
This is an example of a widespread gauge cluster, elongated across the dash vs. stacked like the previous models.
The addition of red and yellow highlights paired with the excessive needle indicators give it the illusion of being an advanced cluster, when in fact it’s as bland as the rest of them were back in the early 90s.
8 VW GTI Jetta
The later model Vdub clusters introduced us to the digital diagramming phase that is still widely used today. Beginning to be more digitally focused, this gauge cluster shows advancement and refinement in the displays, giving the car a fresh, peppy feel.
Notice these top off at 160 kmph? Cars just kept getting faster and faster after the '90s.
7 Honda CRX Si
Designed to look sporty and race worthy, the CRX Si gauges are needle-heavy and give the illusion that there’s a lot going on to make this car super fast!
It was a tiny little matchbox of a car, so you definitely could bury that needle and zip off, but where are the lights on this cluster?
6 1990 Ford Crown Victoria
Oh boy. Ford does it again – they’ve nailed “boring” and turned it into an art form! There has to be more to the Crown Vic than this gauge suggests.
We recognize that Fords aren’t luxury cars, but the sheer simplicity and boring design here tone the car down too much, and we’re really sad that it only goes up to 160 kmph.
5 BMW E39 523i
Okay, alright, we have some progress here. This is still a really basic gauge design, but the way it was laid out with the digital and colored display across the bottom adds some oomph to it!
The blacked out background of the display gives it a much more sophisticated, clean look and makes it seem more advanced. We like it!
4 1990 Miata
Everything here seems really close together, but it’s pretty basic, so at least it isn’t confusing. This car could have benefited from a wider gauge design, but overall, we can find what we need pretty easily.
A few LED lights would just make it a more enticing experience.
3 1992 Toyota Minis
Simple and easy, and we like the orange-needled indicators being used here. Quick-glance info can be easily recognized, and it’s symmetrically arranged to look aesthetically appealing.
The information is organized really nicely considering it’s an early 90’s model. It’s too bad this car can only go up to 180 kmph.
2 1990 Pontiac Grand AM
This was one of the most popular cars in the ’90s, and it demonstrates the 3D “bubble” gauge that is one of the staples of its era. Minor red and yellow accents go a long way in enhancing this otherwise basic gauge cluster.
The shrunken gauges to the side and the RPM indicators are nicely organized. We like this one!
1 1992 VW Corrado
YES! It’s hard to find anything about the Corrado that we don’t like, and the gauge cluster is no exception. The detailing and branding is a fan favorite and the dash is simple but the traditional little light sensor indicators on the dash are organized nicely here and make it look fun and true to the nostalgia of the brand.
It’s a winner – simple, effective, and it blends the needles with the digital indicators perfectly!
Sources: Hagerty, Motor1