Not every classic car rolled off the factory floor with a sound system included. While the first car radios appeared back in the 1930s, they remained an optional upgrade well into the 1950s. The good news is that you can add quality sound while maintaining the mint appearance of your vintage ride.

Do You or Don’t You Add a Sound System to a Classic Car?

The answer to the question lies in your intended use for the car. If you are preparing your 1930 Cadillac Sixteen for the show and are going up against other complete restorations, adding a 500-watt surround sound system will not win you any points with the judges. If you love to cruise down the Trans-Canada highway with your rag top down and some bebop tunes providing the beat, then your classic ride deserves the latest in stereophonic equipment. But that does not mean that you have to install a gleaming touchscreen in the middle of your mint dash. You can find equipment upgrades that will deliver the tunes without imposing on your vintage décor.

Modern Technology helps to Hide Your Upgrades

The glove box and under your front bench seat provide two spaces ready to receive a source unit and an amp while preserving that original appearance in the open air of your cabin. Wires can be run under floor carpet, behind the dash, and through door panels. Bluetooth technology and your smartphone lets you air your favourite play lists without plugging anything into the dash. Nowadays there is no need for bulky cassette tape or disc player. A satellite radio or infotainment system featuring smartphone apps create the perfect soundtrack for your taste and personality.

Using the Original Car Interior with a New Speaker and Receiver

There are reproduction radio faces available for many rides born in the 1960s and later. Inside the new radio face you will find all new technology. Any original speaker will suffer from cracked parts, so you will need to source new parts. There are likely spots in your dash and/or doors that are made to receive a speaker. Order one sized to fit in the original spot and add some speaker fabric to hide the glint of modern equipment. For adding even more tweeters or woofers, your custom car shop can fabricate speaker covers that blend in with the look of your ride.

Amps turn Your Old School Radio into a Rockin’ Soundtrack

Perhaps that original radio is still receiving local radio stations, but the tunes lack some oomph. An amp can provide the additional power required to overcome the rumble of your exhaust. The box can be hidden in the glovebox, behind the dash, or under a seat. Many units are about the size of a modem and once wired into your system, require no interaction to function. You might be surprised at just how awesome the original audio system sounds once you have some real power pumping through the wires.

Another small addition that produces big changes in sound is a subwoofer. Like an amp, many units can be hidden under a seat or behind a door panel screen. Now you can really feel the beat.

Talking to Your Shop Before You Buy

While scrolling through the online vintage car parts shop, you may see a kit that includes a new receiver face, set of speakers, and wiring harnesses. However, if your baby never had a sound system, none of the pieces may actually fit. Your restoration specialist can help you create a plan that includes measurements to check against the specs of potential receivers and speakers.

Don’t Forget to Increase Battery Power when You want to Blow Out the Windows

While the classic car scene is not known for ground effects, lifters, and smoke stacks, when you start adding on modern equipment to an older electrical system, you need to upgrade your power source. Consider increasing the size of your battery or adding a second battery for auxiliary equipment. Not only should you review your total amps being drawn with the new stereo system installed, it is also a good time to check vintage wiring for safety. While you may want to keep as many original parts as possible, corroded and frayed wiring can make it all go up in smoke.

Once you have completed all the upgrades and restoration for your classic car, don’t forget to give us a call to make sure your investment is properly protected. Don’t have your passion protect with us? Give us a call today to protect your investment with Collector Car Insurance from Wayfarer Insurance Group.

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