Stereo upgrade

Hey all, my 68 still has the original Philco Am radio in it. I was considering keeping it for more of a concourse look but I want to upgrade the stereo for some better sound. Has anyone come up with a neat way of keeping the original in the dash but adding a new stereo somewhere in the car? I see WCCC has modern in dash systems that have a classic look to them. I may go this way unless I can come up with or someone has any ideas. Thanks.

I had the same decision to make here recently. My stereo had been replaced a few times over the years, and I still have the original AM radio on a shelf in my garage. there is a company (can’t remember the name) that will take your original AM radio, and for a phenominal fee will update its innards. I opted for one of the Custom Autosound stereos from WCCC. it looks OK, and sounds very good.

Just know that if you go with the Custom Autosound stereo you will want to replace the cheesy looking knobs it comes with. I bought new ones, also from WCCC.

I went with the Customsound from WCCC, 10 CD changer in the trunk and iPod & USB outputs tucked away behind the lourve door, works really well. The previous owner had kept the original AM radio where it was and had a new Sony head unit installed behind the lourve door, but it was a real hassle to adjust anything, volume or station or CD, being behind the lourve door.

I put front door speakers in the stock location with factory grills. I then installed an amp I the trunk, ran an audio cable to my center console and now my ipod can be my music source or I can even use Pandora on my cell phone.

System works great and the factory AM radio still works through the dash speakers.

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Here’s a potential plan that I’m considering… I think it might be the best of both worlds.

Leave the AM radio in place, hooked up to the dash speaker (we have new improved dash speakers by the way) and to the antenna (you’ll need a splitter of some sort). Then, find a hidden place to mount this receiver, like under the dash or under a seat or something, and hook it up to your package tray / kick panel speakers / amp / whatever. It would be cool to have a working original AM radio when you want it, and a hidden but powerful modern system when you want it.

The package tray is pretty easy to hide speakers in. You can either get the original style grilles, or do what I did and make a new tray with speaker cutouts and cover it with some kind of tight black mesh (I used garden shade screening) or the black carpet they use at audio shops. That way you can’t see them but they aren’t blocked acoustically. Here’s an old crappy pic that shows how that turned out:

Front speakers are a little bit harder to hide. You’d have to cut holes in your car, find some original enclosures or make your own (to protect the speakers from the elements) and use original kick panels with the holes. Or figure out a way to drill the holes in repro panels (good luck). Or, what I have right now is the kick panels with speaker pods so they can be externally mounted. Not hidden, but much easier. (see pic below) I may end up painting the speaker grilles to blend in better. Or I may still take the plunge and cut holes in my car. Maybe use some tupperware for the enclosures or something like that.

And by the way, you might notice that I have a Custom Autosound unit in that picture. I think they are good units and serve the purpose well. It looks like it belongs there (much more so than a modern DIN unit anyway) and sounds good. I had mine hooked up to an amp, which definitely helped. So, going that route is a lot simpler than the crazy plan of having both radios. Hope that helps!

Blitz, I wonder if that reciever unit can be tucked under a humphugger…

I wonder if a faux radio face and bezel could be molded as a false front that would slide down to reveal the updated stereo. Have the volume knob be the release and maybe even have it light up.

On consoles it would be a bit harder, maybe a flip up.

Already replied to this topic on another forum, but with 109 views as of this post, I thought someone might be interested in what I did.
The previous owner had installed a generic AM/FM/Cassette deck and 6X9’s in the rear.
Luckily for me, he kept the original Mercury AM Radio.
I reinstalled the Mercury AM Radio to a new front dash speaker (because the old one was shot), and up to the antenna.
I then took a Zune MP3 player (an iPod would work too) and hooked it up to an amp, subwoofer and the 6X9’s in the back.
I installed a little switch under the ashtray to turn the amp on and off.
I can sync my Zune wirelessly without removing it (as long as I’m close enough to my home wireless router & PC).
It has a radio, but doesn’t get very good reception, but i haven’t played with it, because I don’t listen to the radio.
I previously had it on one of those window GPS suction things, but didn’t like it.
So I made a bracket that hooks behind my dash pad.
All of this is completely removable without any damage to any parts of the car.
Here’s some pics:

Very similar setup to what I did (see post above) nice clean installation. The only difference is that I have my ipod in the console so it isn’t visible.

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I forgot to mention that too. You could always just leave the headphone/speaker jack somewhere and plug in an iphone/ipod or any smart phone when you get in the car. Less chance of theft that way. I keep it so the screen on my Zune doesn’t dim. Looks great at night with the cover art right there on your dash pad. Have to charge it more that way, but I got a charger that hooks up to my lighter. BTW, I’m old enough to remember when all cars had were AM Radios, and listen to mine quite a bit. Just adds to the nostalgia of having a classic car.

Here is my Custom Autosound USA-1. It is the cheapie version with no USB or Aux in. It was an ebay purchase, so one day I will go with a higher quality unit with more options.

I’m not sure why anyone would want to upgrade their stereo. I can’t wait to cruise around listening to the static of my original AM radio. :buck:

Well Al, here in the Phoenix area AM is great if you like mariachi music or are a lifelong sinner! :grin:

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If somebody got a working original radio for sale for my 67 XR7 let me know please. Thanks

There’s a couple for sale on ebay. Only 1 says it’s tested and working that I’ve found. $75 ain’t too bad. WCCC has one for $115. Check your speaker though. My radio worked but the speaker was shot from dry rot (all ripped). You can get a replacement for like $20 I think.

Here is what I bought for use in my Cougar. I have the original Am/Fm in place and working. When I want to listen to some other type of music via iTunes ,Pandora or Slacker radio I use the the HMDX Jamm bluetooth wireless speaker. It has great sound and is compact so I simply put it in the storage compartment in my console. I forgot to metion it has recharable Ion batteries that charge via a USB to micro usb connection. It can play up to four hours without needing a recharge.