Orginal Dobro gauge

Discuss items from the film, making replicas, and so on.

Orginal Dobro gauge

Postby Karol » Sat Feb 06, 2010 9:48 am

Steve Pilant has decided to write me and announce that he is offering up his Dobro gauge on eBay. It's not going for cheap, but as you can read in his description, it is an extremely rare gauge assembled from original Dobro parts by a former Dobro employee.

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?Vi ... 0431479140
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Re: Orginal Dobro gauge

Postby Dragonforce » Sun Feb 07, 2010 2:14 am

There are several points to consider about these "Dobros" gauges....

Firstly, Dobros Aust NEVER made a fuel gauge, or a liters gauge...the gauge face on Max's interceptor was a retouched Dobros gauge face, All replica gauges have replica faces, as there NEVER was a fuel/liters face made by Dobros. The only real Dobros parts on this gauge are the body,a retouched PSi face, plastic cover, and pointer...and likely the non-functional pressure mechanism inside it. Dobros, or what used to be known as Dobros are now a company called "WIKA" who brought the Dobros name and continue to this day to make similar gauges under the WIKA name, both dry variants and oil filled presure gauges. The only gauges made then and now by Dobros/ WIKA are pressure gauges mainly for the petroleum/refining industries, and heavy duty industrial steam/pressure applications. Some smaller WIKA gauges can be found on everyday dive regulators, and air compressors...Only the big ones are not generally used in a domestic capacity...they are NEVER used or designed for a direct automotive application. Look at the "Liters" on both the movie gauge and all the clever repro ones...see how the letters are uneven? It was not put there by Dobros. I have been successful easily obtaining gauge bodies, pointers, through WIKA and reproducing the gauge face from one I got ages ago through George Kritty (the guy he refers to who "discovered" the hidden trove with the retired employee). The truth is, the ex employee did not have movie accurate "Liters" gauges or faces lying around, these all had to be made from what little George took away> What he did have was a small supply of parts enough to identify the parts used in the movie, and to evaluate that there was enough there to put together 3 or 4 complete units. There were a few cases, pointers and PSi pressure faces with the correct numbering and "Dobros" font logo on them, of which George replicated his variant of the gauge face using one of the original Dobros pressure ones, and movie stills, I would know because he sent me one of his fine artworks of which I base my own replica units.I have sold a few of my ones, but I have never had the audacity to ask for anywhere near $1500.00!! The description on that auction is more than a bit misleading, and contains an air of mysticism that is both unfounded and dishonest. The gauge is worth no more than a couple hundred bucks and no more, as to replicate it reasonably accurately is far from impossible...it is on the contrary quite easy to do so, so what if one can still be made from parts that are not genuine Dobros? The only part of these gauges that has the name Dobros on it, is the face! The newer WIKA ones dont have their name on the case either, so that is pretty much an open book.The reality is that the movie gauge (minus the face) may as well have not beenDobros either because there is no name on it and most importantly a liters/fuel gauge was NEVER manufactured by Dobros. It was made to be the way it was out of a Dobros pressure gauge face and unmarked Dobros gauge parts by the movie props department.As long as you have an accurate looking repro gauge face with Dobros on it....then who is to know? And how many people would really care either way???? Most simply would not be interested, their only concern would be wanting to know how it all works.....and how red your face can go when you tell them it's all faked just like the movie....and when it is all non-functional/faked...really brand and maker are pretty unimportant especially when the item is a work of fiction for a few seconds on screen. And $1500 bucks is a pretty expensive red face! :D
Last edited by Dragonforce on Sun Feb 07, 2010 2:37 pm, edited 5 times in total.
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Re: Orginal Dobro gauge

Postby Dragonforce » Sun Feb 07, 2010 2:41 am

quote from the auction: "This auction also includes the matching correct per film vintage red blinking light - both from Australia." I will also advise that the "vintage" red blinking light from Australia is no more than a red trailer marker/stop light. examples of which are still made by Narva, Lucas, and Stanley. there is a hook full of them at my place of work, and they can be had for as little as $14.95. I also sell the alarm with the correct sound when max's light comes on, they are blister packed Narva branded and sold at my workplace for $7.00.
While I am on the subject the Blower switches or as they are correctly known as: Eaton type 2 position Differential switches can be easily obtained new in box through my work at $25.00. The brackets are another story....you have to make your own!
If you are prepared to look hard enough, and are lucky enough like me to have at your fingertips 40+ years of automotive parts suppliers catalogues, then it is easy to ascertain that somewhere, somebody is still making a lot of the stuff previously believed to be dead and buried...albeit most often under a different name...but still being made nonetheless.
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Re: Orginal Dobro gauge

Postby scag66 » Sun Feb 07, 2010 2:54 am

Props, both replica and hero are very strange beasts.
There have been fan made versions of the Blade Runner blaster kicking around since the mid eighties, then in 2006 the actual hero turned up at WorldCon
An inventive fan asked if he could take some pictures and from those pics came a whole new market in accurate replicas. These new models are now referred to as WorldCon blasters and ive seen kits go for $1200US plus on ebay. Last year the actual hero blaster went for nearly $300,000US at the Profiles in History auction.
I got a gauge and light that are identicle to the $1500 version for just under $200, nothing beats good timing.
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Re: Orginal Dobro gauge

Postby Dragonforce » Sun Feb 07, 2010 12:49 pm

http://www.buywika.com/category.cfm?Category=1

Gauge type 111.25

Steel body (easily painted to match movie colour)
Snap in acrylic window (not movie exact but close enough)
The pointer on this gauge is incorrect, but WIKA can and do supply the correct type adjustable ones for a couple of dollars.
All you have to do with this gauge, is remove the pointer, bourdon tube and mechanism, place a repro face over the existing one, replace pointer with correct type, replace cover and you are pretty much done. All for I can assure you far far less than $1500! And once placed in the correct location on XA or XB dash looks pretty darn close!
Just because it doesn't say Dobros does not mean that it is not, as technically any WIKA gauge is in fact a Dobros gauge, A WIKA representative informed me of this.
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Re: Orginal Dobro gauge

Postby Dragonforce » Sun Feb 07, 2010 1:06 pm

WIKA Company history:

WIKA Alexander Wiegand GmH & Co KG (Headquarter in Germany) was founded in 1946. Today, more than 50 years later, WIKA as one of the most important market leaders is leading the way to the future through innovative development of pressure & temperature measuring solutions. From 1965, within 5 years WIKA had become Europe's leading pressure gauge manufacturer. In the mid seventies, the first electronic piezo-resistive remote transmitter gauge was developed and by 1979 WIKA was the number 3 of all pressure gauge manufacturers throughout the world. In 1994, WIKA was certified in accordance with DIN ISO 9001. A further highlight was the opening of the new Sensor Technology Center in 1999 - an impressive example of continuous and consistent investment in the future to adequately meet market trends and demands. WIKA is at home worldwide in 24 countries. The opening of WIKA Instrumentation (M) Sdn. Bhd. in April 2002 is a further step to serve our customers globally.

although It doesn't give any details re Dobros, but from 1965 onward they were literally putting other people out of business due to their technical innovation. In the 70's 80's period at some time they brought out among others Dobros who were struggling with the heavy competition from WIKA.

Unfortunately DOBROS was one of the victims of global market dominance.
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Re: Orginal Dobro gauge

Postby Dragonforce » Sun Feb 07, 2010 3:27 pm

I have since discovered that it is highly likely that the actual gauge (before re-touching) in the movie was a Dobros water pressure gauge used on fire engines at the time. They were possibly used on Dennis/Mack fire appliances, thus their large size and KPI numbering....perfect ranges for water pressure. The red marker lamps were also sometimes utilised by fire departments on the fire trucks as an aftermarket replacement. It is most likely these gauges were used in Australia, and more weight is given this theory when considering Max's fireman tools on his belt! Perhaps the props department attended a Fire dept auction? they could have purchased a "Lot" of fire bits and bobs....the original gauge among it them.

Cool!
Last edited by Dragonforce on Mon Feb 08, 2010 2:07 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Orginal Dobro gauge

Postby Dragonforce » Sun Feb 07, 2010 8:14 pm

Statements like this one on the auction are far from accurate:

"This auction is for an ORIGINAL one identical to it made at the same time by the same company with the same subleties as the original in the movie car. This is an impossible item to find an accurate original of. It is not a fan sold inaccurate replica."

The item up for auction was NOT made at the same time with the same subleties as the original one in the movie car. There was only ONE original "Litres" gauge and that one is in the real Interceptor in the Cars Of The Stars Motor Museum in England. The gauge on offer is made from the same parts that were used by Dobros for their gauge making, but at a much later date by George Kritty. And like it or not it most certainly is a fan sold replica, about as accurate as you could get, but still a replica nonetheless. The pointer is what is crucial here also, as they were not featured on this series of gauge originally. They had the arrow type pointer, and the adjustable one was put on obviously as an afterthought. How do I know? Because I have an original 100mm face untouched Dobros gauge. All it needs to be movie accurate is the face plate (which I have) and an adjustable pointer (which I also have) however I am reluctant to tamper with it in any way, as it is all original. It has the correct lipped case with two screw rear access panel,rear double wingnut bracket, and clear acrylic window synonymous with genuine Dobros gauges in that series.

Of note with these gauges also supporting the notion that they were water pressure gauges on fire engines, is the bracket on the rear with the two wingnut bolts. These brackets were used to panel mount the gauges...likely into an switchboard/gauge panel on a fire engine. The mount is not condusive to any other form of traditional gauge mount, the inlet is rear entry, and not at the bottom of the gauge like most others are. Thats what makes this gauge very special and unique.
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Re: Orginal Dobro gauge

Postby Karol » Sun Feb 07, 2010 9:18 pm

Interesting stuff, there, DragonForce.
In Steve Pilant's defense, I think it's obvious that what he meant by "not a replica" is that it is a real, genuine Dobros gauge with all genuine parts. The gauge itself is not a replica Dobros. It is a real original Dobros. It's a replica only in the sense that the "Litres" was added to look exactly like the gauge in Mad Max 2.
Of course people can buy gauges that look "darn close." But for a serious collector or the owner of a Mad Max museum, Steve's piece might be worth the price.
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Re: Orginal Dobro gauge

Postby Dragonforce » Sun Feb 07, 2010 9:41 pm

Sorry, I should say that these things are really worth what someone is prepared to pay. They are rare (genuine Dobros) but not impossible to find. Older 70's-80's fire appliances could be a good place to look for them. Let's face it there must have been literally thousands of them made back in the day, and they must be out there somewhere. The reason none have been found may be because people have looked in all the wrong places. It is preposterous to assume that what George found in the ex-employee's shed are the only ones in existence. and for Steve to allude to this in his auction. I managed to find one! OK it took a LOT of searching and enquiry...phone calls, faxes, etc.... But I did find one. And I did not pay anywhere near $1500 for it. The one I have is no different, and all I have to do is put in a faceplate and adjustable pointer.

Of course it is a replica, as it is (was) most likely a water pressure gauge and never a fuel level gauge. Regardless of pedigree the thing was likely designed to measure water pressure and not sit on a dash in Max's interceptor. In that sense my untouched one is not a replica but 100% genuine in it's present state. It will however become a replica if I ever make the minor modifications for movie looks. Mine is genuine Dobros, but still would be a replica of the gauge seen in the movie and sitting in the actual car in Keswick England. Anything but the real one is in fact a replica of it. Some better and more accurate than others, and the genuine Dobros parts replica's about 99% accurate...never 100% that's just not possible. The only 100% out there is the real one.
Last edited by Dragonforce on Mon Feb 08, 2010 2:10 am, edited 2 times in total.
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