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The title says it all. I'm puzzled if there is a technical (Hardware/Software) reason behind the weird mixture of metric (Celsius for temperature) and non metric (like psi for pressure) in the Aston Martin Lagonda Series II (and later) dashboard.

This is especially noteworthy as distance and speed measurement can be adjusted between metric and imperial, while others can't. Also, with the Series III vector screens labelling wasn't an issue anymore, but despite the throughout redesign, the limitations where kept.

enter image description here (Series III dashboard. Note not only the screens but also the sensor button field)


Since assumptions did come up, about it 'just' being some display, The whole car electronics are computer controlled. It's not like some (later) manufacturers adding superfluous systems complementing the workings, here everything runs thru the system (much like today). Every switch and every light. The only non-computer device was an additional mechanical odometer beside the engine for legal reasons.

The system itself being a discrete National Semiconductor PACE, an early 16 bit system

closed as off-topic by user6464, Igor Skochinsky, CJ Dennis, lvd, tofro Nov 16 '18 at 9:03

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "This question does not appear to be about retrocomputing, within the scope defined in the help center." – Community, Igor Skochinsky, CJ Dennis, lvd, tofro
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    I didn’t know that the dashboard was a fully modifiable computer display — I found that out in the mean time, which is why I deleted my comment. (Incidentally I would recommend mentioning that in the question.) – Stephen Kitt Nov 15 '18 at 17:45
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    This seems very off-topic to me. Whatever limitations or design choices might have led to mixing metric and non-metric units, it probably wasn't the fact that these were being displayed using a computer-driven CRT. This is kind of like asking why ATMs don't allow me to withdraw more than a certain amount each day. The fact that ATMs have computers in them doesn't automatically make this a computing question. – Ken Gober Nov 15 '18 at 17:55
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    @KenGober Right, or even more like "Why can't I enter the Dollar-value for my desired withdrawal at this ATM in China..." – Brian H Nov 15 '18 at 19:36
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    @KenGober Since it's not about a "finacial product", but real world physics, it may not be as arbitary as you assume. Also, you might want to take a look at the system we're talking about. A full figured 16 bit computer of the 1970s. So the assumption that there may be some computer/hardware related issues isn't as far fetched as you try to imply - unless you got some detailed information, in which case it would be nice to share them :) – Raffzahn Nov 15 '18 at 20:09
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    66.media.tumblr.com/d81147ddd7c2b394074c3a56749b2b59/… in case anybody wants the visual evidence of retro computing at play. – Tommy Nov 15 '18 at 20:19
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This does not seem to about computer systems (retro or otherwise) but cultural assimilation of different standardised measurement systems.

To me, as a UK based user of halo cars it seems clear. In the UK we just use a mish-mash of units. I buy petrol in litres and measure distance in Miles. In fact it annoys me that my trip computer does not give me Miles/Litre and insists on Miles/Gallon or Km/Litre. Temperature is in Celsius and so on ...

All pressure gauges show PSI at the garage not Pascals. I weight in Kg but measure in inches.

Aston-Martin Lagonda is a UK based British marque. This would be normal for them then and now.

Nothing strange in my mind. Nothing retro, nothing computing.

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    This passes the sniff test for me as another British person (albeit one natively in centimetres), but I have no independent idea of whatever the usual measure of tyre pressure is now since I've never owned a car in the UK, let alone what it was in the '70s, and there's a whole morass of class and generational differences that I daren't comment on. – Tommy Nov 15 '18 at 22:09
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    @Raffzahn Us Brits have always used Celsius, really. It's weird Americans who use a scale based on... armpit temperatures? I think? Celsius is part of our "imperial". – wizzwizz4 Nov 15 '18 at 22:24
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    My ~70-year-old parents definitely use centigrade, even as they measure their own weights in stone and talk about pints of milk. – Tommy Nov 16 '18 at 0:09
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    @wizzwizz4 I remember the UK weather being in °F: early 70s, I think. – scruss Nov 16 '18 at 1:37
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    Right... I'm still annoyed that I can't get a sat nav that'll give me short distances in metres but long distances in miles, despite the fact that that's just the way a typical British person who grew up in the 80s tends to think. Because we grew up in a country that had just started to transition from imperial to metric measurements, and got a very odd mixture of the two. :) – Jules Nov 16 '18 at 1:53

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