Here's our starting point-a Mopar AM/FM Thumb Wheel radio. It's not in bad shape, and stil
So you're driving down the boulevard on a Saturday night. The temperature's perfect. Your girl's never looked better, sitting there next to you. The rumble of your 440 echoes off the buildings as you drive by. Life is good. You've got the radio tuned to your favorite station, when the all-time best driving song comes on. The bass gets heavy...the guitar riffs get heavy...your foot gets heavy...Life is definitely good.
You just can't cruise without tunes! But if the only three stations you can pick up on your radio are All La Bamba All The Time, The Reverend Killjoy Ministries, and Angry White Male Talk Radio, all in glorious, canned Monophonic Sound, it's going to get pretty lame, pretty quick.
When the right song comes on the radio, there isn't an enthusiast among us who isn't instantly transported to a Friday night in May of their senior year, cruising with the windows down and a car load of buddies, or just you and your girlfriend. Face it-car radios are, have been, and always will be as important to the enjoyment of our vehicles as a rumpity cam and dual exhaust. For most of us, a radio was our first bolt-on project.
Antique Automobile Radio first completely disassembles your radio and evaluates what exter
So why, 30 years later, are we cruising around with stock AM radios belting out tinny sounding music from that lone speaker in the top of the dash? From our own personal experience, it's because we won't hack up the dash to put a decent, modern radio in, and the cost of an original AM/FM tuner is pretty steep. So we live with the canned music. Actually, we live with the radio off.
But that's all changed, thanks to Antique Automobile Radio in Palm Harbor, Florida. The company specializes in totally cloaked radio conversions, and the results are amazing. Starting with your stock radio, they restore the chassis, face, dials, buttons, and knobs, replacing whatever may be missing along the way. Inside, they install a state of the art, micro-processor controlled tuner that interfaces with your original knobs and dials to give you FM stereo and standard AM, with sound quality equal to modern high-end custom stereo systems. Best of all, there's absolutely no outwardly visible signs that the radio is anything but stock, meaning that it looks "right" in the dash. The conversion retains the original-style radio face, so if your car came with an AM radio, it still appears to have the AM radio. If it's an original AM/FM, all the better.
This is what the inside of your radio looks like. There's a lot going on in there! After t
Since AM radios were the standard, that's what most people have converted. Turn the receiver on, and the FM band comes up. Click it off and on again, and AM comes up. You have to hunt and seek the FM stations on the AM face, but frankly, so what? Find them once and set the pre-set buttons, which are retained and functional, if that's really an issue.
Finally, the most important feature is the cost. The full, standard conversion, including restoring the box, face, dials, bezels, and knobs is $399. And that's starting with your grungy, nasty $25 AM swap meet core, so you don't have to spend a couple hundred on a good starting point. That's about what you'd pay for a brand new high-end tuner! (Actually, in many instances, it's a lot cheaper- just ask your 17-year-old.) A conversion with 8-track restoration costs a bit more, as do original signal seeking radios. Finally, for the ultimate in cruising pleasure, AAR offers a Panasonic 8-disc, wireless remote CD changer, which plugs into custom jacks placed in the radio chassis.
Top technology, great sound quality, and CD capability for a very reasonable price, with all work and components also covered by a warranty. But best of all, it looks "right" in your dash, just like it's supposed to.
What About 8-Tracks and Other Obscure Stuff?
Okay, so Mopar Thumb Wheel radios are about as rare as the flu. But what about more obscure stuff? Or how about that original 8-track? What if your basketcase was missing the radio? Relax-Antique Automobile Radio can handle it.
This little circuit board replaces everything that was inside the box in the previous phot
Antique Auto Radio is constantly redeveloping their package to keep abreast of the electro
Back at the bench, Matthew Creighton started installing the new tuner board in the chassis
Antique Automobile radio has a huge inventory of core radios, covering all makes and models of cars. If they don't have what you're looking for in stock, they can probably find it.
As for that obscure radio you might have, check out the glass radio face shown here-it's for a Mopar model 803, which is a pre-'50s model. The original silk screen process on the glass was water soluble, so as moisture collected behind the radio face over time, the numbers dissolved. AAR recreates the images and scales found on radio faces and has new silkscreen images printed on new glass. For this particular radio, AAR also has brand new chrome bezels being manufactured, as well as knobs. What kind of a market do you think exists for this exact type of radio? It's not that big, but AAR went to the trouble for it anyway. If you've got a radio, they can bring it back to life.
How about 8-tracks? "We can do them. I don't know why anyone would want an 8-track-they were horrible to begin with and they haven't gotten any better with time-but we can do them. The heads always go bad, and we've got one of the last stocks of NOS heads in the country," said Dan Shulz, the company's founder. So, after the novelty and nostalgia of the 8-track wears off, and you remember why you hated them 25 years ago, you can just click over to your brand new FM receiver or hit the wireless CD remote and load your favorite compact discs and be done with it.
But what about the true die-hards who want to retain all the vacuum tubes, AM mono sound, and poor reception? Well, they've got all the components to make your radio exactly the way it arrived all those years ago, too. But, to be honest, we can't for the life of us figure out why you'd want that, especially when there's no visual difference after the conversion is done.
This is what the inside of the radio looks like when it's done. Another benefit is that th
A new LED panel is also manufactured by AAR and placed behind the stock face. The stock pa
The finished radio has a new pig tail that plugs into the stock wire harness for power. It
For the ultimate in cruising pleasure, AAR also has a CD player option. The two CD jacks a