Vintage audio for your classic car.

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Heres a few tips and advise for choosing and fitting a vintage radio.

No1. do your reasearch; look for interior photos of your car from when it was new, see what other people have fitted.
Check the radio museum website to find out what was around at the time. 

A lot of manufacturers offered badged radios as a factory option (i.e BMW badged Blaupunkt), but it was also normal for the dealer to offer an option, in which case the country of sale would have played a part, for example in Italy you would be more likely to have an Autovox brand fitted by the dealer.     

Before buying your classic radio, make sure the dimensions will fit your car, they are not necessarily standard dimensions.

Also check the voltage and polarity of your car and radio, if the radio is capable of 6v or 12v, and positive or negative earth, always check the setting (regardless of whats printed on it or what you were told) before fitting, getting it wrong may kill the radio.   

It helps to have a few spare nuts, washers and spacers handy for installation.

When installed correctly there should not be any load on the radio's face plate, clamping it into the dashboard or console will result in a cracked, broken or deformed face plate, or dashboard.   

Use spacer washers and extra shank nuts to correctly fill out any space between the dashboard and face plate.

Support the radio using a stud (not usually supplied with the radio) or fit one to the hole in the back of the radio (M5 bolt), do not insert the bolt more than about 5mm, some cars have support for this nut, or you can attach it to something else, extending with plastic tube might help.

Some car manufacturers have special parts for fitting a radio (Porsche, Mercedes, BMW), normally they are not essential, you can usually fit the radio with some basic DIY skills.

If the car has a DIN sized aperture, you might be able to buy a DIN adapter for your radio to make fitting easier.

Fit an inline fuse between your power and the radio, 2A is sufficient for most post 1960 radios, earlier radios might require between 2A and 10A depending on power consumption.  Early valve radios require 5A to 10A.

Most older radios do not have electronic memory settings, it is not imporant to connect them to a permanent live feed.

Ground/earth connection is important, usually you ground the radio chassis to the car, if you dont' have a good ground connection you will get interference, often it is a good idea to wire the + and - direct to the battery.

Connectors vary, some old radios use DIN loudspeaker plugs, some spade connectors, some banana plugs, all are available online through ebay or your local electronic/radio shop (Halfords in the UK).

If you are using external amplifier or powered speakers/subwoofer, they must be grounded at the same point.

Choose your speakers, old radios rarely have more than about 8w per channel output, you don't need 100w speakers! 15w speakers can easily handle that power. For more power, fit an external amp or powered subwoofer, you can often fit a small sub under a rear seat or hidden in the car and maintain the classic look.
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