The 2003 Kia Rio Was Cheap, But It Had This Clock

Our previous Car Clock of the Week was an old-fashioned VDO Kienzle analog yanked from a discarded 1967 Mercedes-Benz, so this week we’ll look at something a lot cheaper and much more modern: a timepiece sliced— literally— from the dash of a road-racing team that campaigns a 2003 Kia Rio.

The members of California-based As Seen On TV Racing picked up a 2003 Kia Rio sedan nearly a decade ago, gave it a Chia Pet theme, and have since raced it in the 24 Hours of Lemons series more than 20 times.

That’s better than 15,000 miles of full-throttle, fender-mashing, engine-trashing track madness, and so the team picked up a parts car in order to replenish some of the busted parts prior to towing the 1,300 miles to the High Plains Drifter race in Colorado last month. Because so many racers read Autoweek regularly, they were aware of the Car Clock of the Week series and pulled the clock as a fairness-enhancing gift for me prior to scrapping the picked-over parts-car shell. Since it takes too long to remove a clock with a screwdriver, they simply sliced a big chunk out of the dashboard with a Sawzall.

After extracting the clock from the shard of gray plastic dashboard, I set about sorting out the wiring and doing some testing.

This sort of digital clock nearly always works fine, and such was the case here. I’ll save it for inclusion in the parts bin at my next Build Your Own Junkyard Boombox Party.

For such a cheap car (and the first-generation Rio was either the cheapest or close to the cheapest new car available in North America for most of its sales run) to have a dash clock as standard equipment was something nobody would have imagined just a decade before.



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