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I've seen this issue many times and luckily it usually isn't the gauge cluster itself as those are rather expensive, usually it is a loose ground wire on the engine which is most common after a repair was done, a loose battery cable, or a bad alternator as varying or AC voltage can cause the car to do many odd things usually starting with the gauge cluster. Based on your starting issue I would start by checking the battery and all the main power cables and ground wires as a fault in one of these could easily cause a intermittent no-start in addition to your gauge cluster issue.
I hope I've been able to help you with your concern, if you have any other questions or if you would like more information on your current question please feel free to ask.
This is a very unusual way for a VSA modulator failure to present, the VSA modulator is what applies the brakes for you when your anti-lock brakes or stability control is activated, so a good way to confirm that this is the issue would be to drive the car with the ABS/VSA fuses removed and the Modulator Assembly unplugged, during this time the ABS and stability control will not work so it will be like driving an older or cheaper car without those systems where you pump the brake pedal in a skid. If the issue no longer presents then the Modulator Assembly may very well be at fault.
A used part can be purchased from different auto parts recyclers such as ones found on eBay, but they will not always arrive complete and are not always known to be in good operating condition, however for less than $200 it might be worth the risk as they often give you a short warranty period to find defects. eBay VSA Modulator