Jim Smart
March 1, 2009

In the past 25 years, automakers have done a pretty good job of improving nighttime instrument visibility via improved lighting and graphics. More recently, they have begun using light-emitting diodes (LEDs) and semiconductors to improve visibility even more.

LEDs aren't new. They've been around since the early 20th century, but only recently has the LED industry found more ways to press these little guys into the mass market. LED lamps have become the light of choice with droplights and flashlights. It was only a matter of time before innovative minds would find ways to infuse them into classic Mustangs.

Here are a couple of LED lamps-one blue (left) and one white (right). These guys fit right into your '65-'73 Mustang's existing instrument panel harness sockets.

That said, it's challenging to drive a classic Mustang at night because instrument panels are poorly lit, even under the best of circumstances. You can use all kinds of reflective materials inside your Mustang's instrument panel and still come out on the dark side because those No. 1895 or No. 57 lamps just don't give us the candlepower required for good nighttime visibility. Mustang Project has long recognized lighting shortcomings in classic Mustangs and decided to do something about it via LED taillights and parking lamp bulbs. Now Mustang Project has taken this concept even further with LED instrument lamps designed to brighten up your classic Mustang's gauges. We decided to try them out.

Installation is simple. All you have to do is choose the color you want-blue, green, red, amber, or even white-to replace the original bulbs in your instrument panel. Instrument panel removal is straightforward, requiring little more than a No. 2 Phillips screwdriver for vintage Mustangs.

What you can expect from Mustang Project LED instrument lamps is a different kind of light. Those original No. 1895/57 lamps give us a tungsten-induced warm yellow light. LEDs provide a blazing electric white light that's three times brighter, which brightens instruments and will change that blue/green aqua to a bright blue if you choose to keep the original blue/green lenses. You can keep the original green plastic lenses or you can remove them for light more true to the LED.

Prices for classic Mustang LED instrument panel light kits range from $24.95 to $29.95, depending on model year. There are also LED kits for '71-'73 full instrumentation packages that cost $12.95. This is a great investment in your instrument panel because LED lamps outlast regular light bulbs.