Haha... that's actually an interesting idea. Not sure how well painting your own cluster would work, but it'd be interesting to find out.
From what I know when you buy the cluster off ebay for the white face gauges, it's just plug and play. You just take out your cluster and pop in the new one. Same plug and everything. (Someone please correct me if I'm wrong as I haven't actually done this mod).
And I would guess that the $20-30 would be ones that people have pulled out of junkyards and trying to sell on ebay and the $80 ones are factory ones that are almost new. Can't say for sure as ebay is so up in the air it could just be 2 different sellers.
I mean where they live alone could be the reason for the $50 difference (Cali vs. Minnesota).
1999 Ranger XLT -- "Project Unknown"
2010 Subaru Impreza -- "The Daily"