Car audio over the years (past, present and future)

DeeInKY

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We had an 8 track in the big Oldsmobile. Dad and I enjoyed it. Mom wasn’t really into it. Come to think of if, she didn’t really play records on the stereo either.

For a while there I had a portable cassette player and a bunch of mix tapes that I carted around.
 

Rudy

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I used to take a portable cassette recorder with me on vacation, having taped a few hours of my favorite radio station at the time. That was in the pre-Walkman era, but I must have had some sort of adapter for headphones I plugged into it.
 

Harry

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One of my early experiments in homemade car audio was using one of those piano-key mono cassette players connected to an old single speaker from a portable stereo. I had the cassette player in the front with me, and ran a wire from headphone output to this speaker in the rear seat. It didn't have a lot of volume, but it worked. I'd make mix-tapes at home and then play them on the road.

Later on, of course, when my cars had in-dash cassette players, all of that was just a prelude.
 

Rudy

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With car stereo theft being an issue, Radio Shack used to sell slide-out mounts that you could mount your equipment to, and slide it out when you left the car. There was an under-dash mount, and a transmission-hump mount which I owned. I used to have a "stack" in my car, with the power booster, the cassette player and a Heathkit FM tuner (that unfortunately never worked). That only lasted until I got a cheaper in-dash radio (may have been a Clarion--I got it at Schaak Electronics), then upgraded that later on to the Sony.

Once I settle into a proper garage in the next few years, I should hook up some of this old equipment to make a garage system out of it. :D
 

DeeInKY

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Most folks I knew who had those removable components didn’t remove them much, but it was a thing there for a while to come back to the car and find a hole in the dash. :realmad:
 

DAN BOLTON

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Most folks I knew who had those removable components didn’t remove them much, but it was a thing there for a while to come back to the car and find a hole in the dash. :realmad:
Some players had removeable face plates, too...looked like the car didn't have a radio.

In the late '70's, Alpine car stereos were the hot theft item. BMWs had them, and it was very easy to steal them, because the battery cable was exposed just a couple of inches ahead of the left front wheel.

The best car stereo I ever had was one I had installed in my '96 Chevy Corsica. A Pioneer head unit, and two Infinity speakers with magnets the size of softballs installed in the rear package shelf. Didn't need a subwoofer, I could listen to Herb Alpert's Colors with full bass and no distortion. I did have to put a popsicle stick wrapped in an old dishtowel under the CHMSL to keep it from rattling like crazy. I could raise the trunk lid and supply a whole parking lot with rump-rattlin' beats, as long as I duct-taped the license plate to the deck lid.
 

Rudy

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I did have to put a popsicle stick wrapped in an old dishtowel under the CHMSL to keep it from rattling like crazy. I could raise the trunk lid and supply a whole parking lot with rump-rattlin' beats, as long as I duct-taped the license plate to the deck lid.
I did that in my '92 Civic. I had built a removable subwoofer enclosure (dual 10" woofers) that fit against the back seat and was powered by a 2x120w Sherwood amp. It rattled the license plate and shook the rearview mirror. The fun came when I put on a Stereophile test CD that had bass warble tones on it. I lived in a 1950 bungalow that had the typical 1½ car wood-framed garage. I'd put that CD on the warble tones, open the trunk, turn it all the way up, close the garage door, and listen to that poor garage rattle itself into oblivion. :D (Theoretically if I could have found the resonance frequency of the garage and played a solid sine wave at that frequency, it could have created some serious havoc.)

Part of my misspent youth, I guess. :laugh:

My Pioneer has the removable faceplate, although someone could still steal the head unit and buy a new faceplate. Or worse, tear the entire car apart trying to find if I've hid it somewhere. But given the, umm, aftermarket for those things, the thieves just want to flip them fast for a profit, and a missing faceplate pretty much says "stolen."

Most folks I knew who had those removable components didn’t remove them much, but it was a thing there for a while to come back to the car and find a hole in the dash. :realmad:
The worst part was the damage they'd do to the dashboard to remove the radio. Which cost more than the head unit they stole. My mother's aunt once had her '77 Delta 88 stolen when it was several years old, and the factory speakers and radio were stripped from it. That never made sense to me as I wouldn't think there would be a market for it. But given where she used to live, if someone could fence the radio and speakers for a "fix," it was worth it.
 
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