Tim Suddard
Tim Suddard Publisher
2/27/07 12:14 p.m.

Old cars come with old radios which don't cut it in today's digital age. While most of our project cars make sweet sounds in the engine compartment after a while we find ourselves wanting for some stereorific jams.

Lucky for us we ran into the crew of Custom Autosounds at SEMA. They make a host of radios, speakers, panels, etc. that combine the look of yesterday with the electronics of today. The last thing we wanted to do was cut a hole in the dash or tack on some stupid looking box to our freshly restored interior. That and the thought of putting a new head unit in our classic Ranchero resto-mod brought forth visions of Tech Editor Per Schroeder in a Tutu. Yea, that ugly and that out of place.

Install is really a breeze. The radio fit perfectly in the stock location and looks period correct. We located power, ground and switched power. Switched power is a fancy term for power that is on only when the key is on. From a few feet out it is hard to tell it’s new. It even has an auxiliary. input for our MP3 player.

The first speaker we installed was a center channel. It’s basically two speakers in one. Most systems have four speakers for front and rear stereo but since our Ranchero only has room for one, and Custom Autosound came up with a solution. Two speakers in one. They divide the speaker so there are two channels. We ended up taking off the adapter braket for mounting it in the dash and mounting it with some two sided foam tape. The factory grill then locked it into place.

Two additional speakers are mounted in the kick panels making speaker install a snap, although the kick panels needed a little shaping to fit just right.

We ran the auxiliary input through the glove box. That way we can hook up our iPod or in this case our Sirius MP3 player to our new stereo. With the unit in the glove box no one knows we have new age tunes in our Ranchero.

This was well worth the three hours we spent in the garage a few Saturdays ago. We liked it so much we’re planning to do the same to our Corvair.

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