David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
12/14/18 1:10 p.m.

story and photos by David S. Wallens unless otherwise credited

James Bond’s Aston Martin DB5 seemingly had it all: bulletproof windscreen, revolving number plates (naturally), smokescreen, oil slick, ejection seat, and left and right front wing machine guns.

And then there was something that Q called a homer. For 1964, this was the stuff of sci-fi: a “nice, little transmitting device” that could beam its location to a receiver. In the DB5, a movable panel in the dashboard hid the homer’s screen from prying eyes.

Today, these in-car navigation aids are commonplace. Some people use built-in systems, others just stick a phone or GPS unit to the windshield. While they’re terribly effective at giving directions, there’s one small issue: They don’t look period-correct.

So Porsche made one that is.

The Porsche Classic Navigation System comes from the brand’s restoration arm, the same department that now offers thousands of parts for past models. On the surface, this is a retro-looking head unit, complete with two knobs–the old standard controls that worked so well for many of us. Its single-DIN size makes it a perfect fit for air-cooled 911s as well as the 924/944/968 and 928 models.

But in the center of the unit there’s a 3.5-inch, high-def GPS navigation touchscreen worthy of Q Branch. The unit is also compatible with SiriusXM satellite radio, Bluetooth, iPod and USB sources. MSRP is $1250.


We installed the Porsche Classic Navigation System in a 1984 Porsche 911 Carrera. The stock unit had, sadly, been replaced long ago–like in so many other classics.

What horrors would be found inside the dash? That was our biggest concern going into this project, so we tapped some neighbors for help.

And not just any neighbors. Metra Electronics, the go-to source for car audio installation gear for more than 70 years, is located around the corner from our headquarters. The company’s David Maunez, a product specialist and vehicle research engineer, took the reins of this job.

Step 1:

Remove previously installed aftermarket radio as well as its mounting cage. This step wasn’t too hard.

Step 2:

A previous owner had cut and modified our stock wiring harness. Since the wiring still looked good, operated as intended, and already had the correct ISO plug for the new Porsche radio, we simply wrapped the wires with some Tesa loom harness tape. Neatness counts.

Step 3:

The Porsche Classic Navigation System comes with its own mounting cage, which seemed stiffer than the one we removed. It simply slid into place. Easy.

Step 4:

The new radio needs a GPS antenna and a clear view of the sky to receive a GPS signal. The supplied antenna comes attached to a long wire, allowing it to be routed in the back of the interior and hidden somewhere on the rear deck–one of the spots Porsche recommends. But that requires taking the interior apart, an undertaking we wanted to avoid. Instead, we routed the antenna’s wire around the dashboard and stuck it in the corner. Heads up: Running the wire between the dashboard and the door pillar is a tight fit. Some plastic install tools and a bit of patience helped here. Then we simply plugged the antenna into the back of the head unit.

Step 5:

The radio also comes with what Porsche calls a media box. It’s a dongle for iPod/iPhone, USB and 3.5mm AUX connectivity–there’s a plug for each device. Porsche recommends installing the media box in the glovebox or center console, but since we don’t plan to access it often–just stick in a USB drive and leave it there–we attached it to an underdash bracket using some 3M adhesive.

Step 6:

Another gadget included with the kit is a hands-free microphone. Since this is a Porsche and not a phone booth, we skipped installing it.

Step 7:

The Porsche Classic Navigation System easily slips into its cage and snaps into place. Attaching the wires is just a matter of plugging things in.

Step 8:

We rolled the car out of the garage, fired it up, and waited a few minutes to for the unit to receive a GPS signal–which it quickly did. Now to head to Switzerland.


Porsche Classic

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APEowner Dork
12/14/18 2:48 p.m.

That's a great looking unit.  I fear that the display is too small to be useful with my aging eyes but I'd still put one in a 911 if I had one just because it's so cool and I wouldn't want to ugly up that classic interior with a larger solution.

alfadriver MegaDork
12/17/18 7:55 a.m.

Does anyone know who actually makes the unit?

And if they make one that is mostly the same, but it says whoever made it instead of Porsche?   German electronics in my Alfa are period correct, and I'd love to have that unit in my car.

Heck, based on the way it looks, it would even look great in my Miata.

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