Project Rabbit GTI: Installing a Period-Correct Radio

When we bought our  1984 VW Rabbit GTI, the radio and front speakers were missing. A previous owner was obviously somewhat of an audiophile, we believe, as we found a large, non-working amplifier and high-quality Alpine speakers mounted on the rear deck.

However, that same owner had ruined the otherwise perfect front interior door panels by cutting holes for speakers. We needed to either replace those speakers or find another set of door panels.

While we are not proponents of cutting otherwise perfect door panels, the damage had been done, so we opted for some period-correct speakers to once again mount in the front doors.

We called our friends down the street at Metra and they supplied us with a set of Boss P55.4C door speakers in the no-longer-common size of 5.25 inches. Retail is about $30 for the pair.

Sadly, like most modern car stereo components, the look was garish, modern and not at all what you would have expected to find in the ’80s. Thankfully, Metra also offers a complete line of speaker enclosures and they found a pair of subtle pair in matte black.

What we needed now was head unit that looked ’80s. While Grand Prix Concours’ Tim McNair was visiting to help detail the GTI, he asked what we were thinking of for a radio install. We lamented that we had not yet found something period-correct, and he told us of a vintage Pioneer unit that he had tucked away that he could donate to the project.

True to his word, Tim sent the radio. We installed it and now have the right look and pretty decent tunes in our GTI.

Join Free Join our community to easily find more project updates.
View comments on the CMS forums
sir_mike New Reader
11/12/20 2:44 p.m.

Like the period looks.Installed a period Clarion am/fm pushbutton radio in my 69 Cortina.One speaker underdash.Doesn't sound the best but I would rather listen to the car.

Sponsored by

Classic Motorsports House Ad

Our Preferred Partners