What are the feature and price differences between a Classic Update kit and a universal kit? I have a 66 Pontiac GTO and am deciding between your Power Plus 20 harness and your 64-67 GTO Classic Update Kit.

Great question! The goal of any of our Classic Update Series kits is to marry the needs of today’s newer technology with the ease and simplicity of an OEM application and installation. They are built with the Resto-Mod, Pro-Touring, and Modified crowds in mind. All Classic Update kits are vehicle specific. In other words, the 64-67 GTO kit (available 12/20/2010) would be correct for a 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967 Pontiac GTO, Le Mans, and Tempest ONLY. We do not recommend trying to fit a Classic Update kit to any other years/makes/models than those specified.

The dash harness on a Classic Update kit is built to install in a given location, with a specific routing sequence. This assures an exact fit into the vehicle. The mating harnesses (dash cluster, engine, front light, rear body, console, etc.) have the main connectors on them, but the wire leads are all left long for custom routing by the customer. The custom fit and installation of these mating harnesses makes for a much nicer finished product. Unlike a universal harness, Classic Update Series kits give you the proper ends, lamp sockets, terminals, and connectors, bringing the harness as close to plug and play as possible.   Classic Update kits also include ignition, headlamp, and dimmer switches that are engineered to fit the car as well.  These kits tend to cost a bit more than universal kits due to all the extra features provided.  However, you get what you pay for!  Be sure to check out the 1964-1967 GTO kit when it releases on 12/20/2010.

By nature, universal harnesses can’t provide the vehicle-specific switches, connectors, etc. mentioned above.  Also, any manufacturer’s universal harness will require you to do quite a bit of cutting and splicing, which may deter some customers.  Another thing to consider is that you may end up trying to splice the 30-50 year old switch end and lamp socket pigtails from your old beat-up harness onto your brand new harness, which is extremely counterproductive.

American Autowire currently manufactures three lines of universal wiring kits: Builder, Power Plus, and Highway Series.  These kits tend to be less expensive than their Classic Update cousins because of lower parts, research, and manufacture costs.  This does not mean that American Autowire’s universal wiring kits are of a lower quality!  It just means that it was not built to fit your specific car and your car only.  These kits can be useful for price shoppers, non-restoration vehicles, custom projects, etc.

Consider what you need your wiring to do and what features your car will have.  Look over each of these kits to find the best fit for your project.