Library Index

There are many ways to upgrade the old audio system in a classic car to a modern aftermarket car audio system. From simply upgrading the vehicle?s speakers to installing an entirely new stereo, the options depend on how much time, effort, and work the owner is willing to give. This article discusses a few different options that the owners of classic cars can consider when they decide to upgrade their audio system. The most important part about adding aftermarket audio to a classic car is keeping the look of the original car intact.

1967 Pontiac Radio

1967 Pontiac Radio

The most basic way to enhance the audio system in a classic car is to simply replace the speakers. Due to the design of many classic cars, they tend to lack the multi-speaker systems that modern cars have and will typically only have one or two speakers installed in the doors or dash. This can make the overall job of replacing speakers much easier. All that needs to be done is locate the speakers and measure their size. By merely dropping in aftermarket car speakers, a huge difference in sound quality will be heard due to the advancements in speaker technology. As the classic speaker is removed, there is a good chance that it will be crumbly, frail, and falling apart.

Another way to improve the sound is to replace the entire radio. There are three basic ways to install a new stereo in a classic car. The first way is to find a stereo of the same size and install it in place of the current radio. Many classic radios have shaft style design, meaning the central radio is separate from the tuning knobs. This style is different from modern aftermarket stereos; however there are some manufacturers that make these stereos with features such as MP3 playback, USB inputs, and more. For cars that are compatible with these types of stereos, this is the easiest way to replace a factory classic stereo. The second way is to install a modern single DIN car stereo receiver in the classic car by hiding it under the dash or inside of a compartment. This allows the classic radio to stay intact, yet the secondary radio will be the only one connected. This way also requires that the speaker wires and power wires be rerouted through the car. The third recommended way to install car audio in a classic car is by installing a separate stereo amplifier with an auxiliary input source. This is quite similar to installing a car stereo receiver, however they are usually comprised of a small amplifier with an auxiliary input and no CD player or AM/FM radio. They will rely on the auxiliary input source for the audio. These remote mount amplifiers can be mounted in any hidden place in the car and will normally have a remote that controls the amplifier volume, the auxiliary source, and any other controls that it has. If you are going to to do it yourself take a look at our body shop tip to learn How to modify the dash.

If you are determined to find an original replacement radio for your vehicle do not despair. Antique, vintage and classic car radios can be difficult to find and get repaired but there are many companies out there that specialize in reselling and repairing them. Start by searching the Internet for the key words "antique car radio" and include your zip code, city or state if you want to narrow down the results to your location. If that does not work contact antique or classic car clubs to see who they would recommend. No matter what type of car and no matter how old the car is, there is always a way to add some quality sound to it.

Here is some information on the antique, vintage and Classic Car Eras. You will also find resources in the Audio-Video section of our Business Directory.