Modern Music For Early Mustangs

Scratchy Speakers and Limited Choices Go Away

Story Kevin Harper - Images Mike Horne - June 19, 2011 09:00 AM

ImageThere will be nothing left of the original radio and speakers. The 21st century has arrived.
Image1 We’re not going to use the old bezel since we have some new ones and choices. We’ll use the measurement of the new unit to determine which one to choose. The unused bezels will find a place on a shelf for a future customer’s install.
Image2 Decisions, decisions. Only one will be selected and you’ll find out which one shortly. Later model Mustangs can also get woodgrain bezels, but that doesn’t suit our purpose anyway.
Image3 The new Sony unit fits down into the radio box and then slips into the new bezel. It looks like it belongs.
Image4 The mounting slides are checked and found to be worthy. We should be able to get this in position in short order, especially since there is no front seat to get in the way.
Image5 This is what the driver is going to see as he looks down at the center of the dash face. Goodbye bulky push buttons.
Image6 The new unit mounted in place shows there is going to have to be some work done on the rest of the dash. It’s on the “to-do” list.
Image7 The mounted unit was actually there for a photo opportunity. We still have to address the matter of the speakers and these front dash speakers have seen their better days. They’re not even worth hanging onto.
Image8 Here are the new Kenwood KFC-835C speakers. If they sound as good as they look, it’s going to be incredible.
Image9 The key to good sound is good connection. We’ve made spade terminals like these to attach to the new speakers. The wiring, despite its age, is good enough to use again.
Image10 New connections are placed on the end of each wire. This is a simple process that pays big dividends.
Image11 The new connections are securely attached and the speaker is routed up to the original location. It will fit just fine.
Image12 We’ve moved our attention to the rear speakers. We have a set of speaker housings in sturdy black plastic that will sit nicely on the package shelf. Some trimming is required and we already measured twice, so it’s time to cut.
Image13 More about measuring. We want to center the speakers in the factory holes and the housings will have to be measured to fit properly. This was actually done once before, but now done again after the trimming.
Image14 There’s a certain amount of test fitting that will be done. We will have a solid board between the speaker housing and package shelf structure, but this exercise is to get proper placement.
Image15 All of the components are placed together to show what is necessary. The board itself will be covered and look like part of the interior, but that’s a long ways away.
Image16 The board for the package shelf has been measured and the holes have been traced. We’ll cut out those holes and mount the board to install the speakers.
Image17 A view from the front to the back. Yep, the trunk is full, but we’re not tripping over the stuff. Now look at the speakers. The space between them will be filled with the “Cyclops” third brake light in a housing.
Image18 Here are the kick panels for the ’68 Mustang. Fitment will be next on our agenda.
Image19 The kick panel speakers feature the solid performing SP-600, which will give us a full enveloping sound for the ride.
Image20 These kick panels have been molded to fit. Make sure you specify the proper year/model when ordering.
Image21 The tedious but necessary task of running the wires to tie everything together. We also installed a KAC-7205 Kenwood amp, but the owner of the car asked us to keep it stealth and not reveal his choice of location. Only Classic Creations of Central Florida will know.
Image22 A few weeks after we finished our work, we came back to the shop. The interior had been put in and these kick panels really fit in nicely.
Image23 Here’s the Sony AM/FM/CD with mp3 capabilities in the “finished” car. The unit doesn’t detract from the classic style and you don’t have to tuck it away in a glove box.

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Is there really a compelling reason to leave the old radio in place, other than originality points in a judged show?

We’d heard so much said about “the quality of life” that it’s become just second nature to want to improve upon something. The owners of older cars have a respect for beauty and, to some degree, tradition.

Still, changing the cars from manual to power steering is commonplace. Jerking a tired engine to be replaced by a modern crate has been done time and time again. Is there really a compelling reason to leave the old radio in place, other than originality points in a judged show?

The folks at Classic Creations of Central Florida had a customer’s ’68 Mustang in the shop. There was no concern from this customer, stationed overseas serving our country at the time the Mustang was getting a facelift, about points. The directive was to take it and make it the best it could be. For the musical sounds that will be competing with the engine noise, that meant we’d have to up the ante.

Calls to Ken Harrison and CJ Pony Parts got our situation rectified in short order. We knew this would be a good source for all of the audio components and kick panels that it would take to get the job done right. The new Sony Xplod would include a CD player, not something you could get from the factory in 1968.

Our timing was right and you may not be as lucky when you go to install your own unit. All of the seating and carpeting had been removed for other work. It gave us plenty of room to get inside and do what we had to do. Let’s get started before Merv decides to put an interior back in place.

For Your Information:

CJ Pony Parts

(717) 657-9252


K & C Harrison

(800) 865-3876

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