Can you install a modern radio in a restomod

Can you install a modern radio in a restomod?

Yes, you can install a modern radio in a restomod. After all, it is your car, and you can do whatever seems fit with it. If you are interested in classic cars or are handing over your classic car to your son or distant cousin, adding a modern stereo can ensure you get clean and clear music while riding it. Adding the modern radio will breach the generational gap.

The Ultimate Guide To Upgrading the Audio System in Your Restomod, by our friends at Restomod Academy, is a great resource for classic car and restomod audio upgrades. It might seem like adding a modern radio to a classic car is difficult, but that’s not the case. Direct classic car radio replacements are easy, and this is how to do it.

Find a Suitable Stereo for Your Needs

Many stereo-head systems fall into the $300-$1,000 price range. If you’re looking for something more upscale, search for a head unit that works with your smartphone (iPhone or Android). When not in use, some models even have screens that can be tucked neatly into the dash. You should, however, keep in mind that the more complex and feature-rich a stereo is, the more expensive it will be.

Find a Modern Radio that Fits the Style of Your Classic Car

picture of a modern radio in a classic carFinding a modern stereo that fits your car is not always easy. It will majorly depend on how “classic” the car is. Replacing a classic car radio with a standard din unit is always brilliant since the car’s stereo design can be fitted in practically any car. Your classic car will mostly have a single DIN slot for the stereo head unit, but some cars have a double DIN slot.

You can use a spacer to mount a single DIN head into a slot with a double DIN. In addition to determining the appropriate stereo size for your vehicle, you will need to purchase a matching faceplate to conceal the screws used for mounting the stereo and ensure that the installation is aesthetically pleasing. Stereo manufacturers will provide a conventional faceplate with the head unit. However, you’ll have to buy a vehicle-specific trim plate for some cars with peculiar dash opening shapes.

Prior to 1984

For vehicles manufactured before 1984, you’ll find that many of them include slots that are compatible with DIN and double DIN stereos. You will need a mounting plate for your car’s make and model. Still, the plate itself should attach in a manner comparable to that of more contemporary vehicles. If you have an older automobile with non-standard audio installation locations or sizes, you’ll need to get a little more creative when mounting the stereo in your vehicle.

Many owners can maintain the historical appearance of the inside of the vehicle by mounting a contemporary stereo in the glove box. This also provides a location to put the new equipment without cutting or changing the dashboard.

There are numerous custom audio firms that will happily take on the process of installing a stereo in a classic vehicle for you if you are not comfortable with the level of inventiveness and possible construction that is required for the installation.

Use the right Wiring Harness.

Use the right Wiring Harness.Considering wiring a car radio into an older vehicle can be overwhelming, especially if it is your first time. Luckily, a whole industry is devoted to making this as simple as possible, with adaptor harnesses for virtually every imaginable vehicle. Metra is a popular brand, and you can use one of their adapters.

Remember that there are two harnesses available for most cars while searching for the proper wiring harness. These are the into-the-stereo harness and into-the-car harness. For a stereo upgrade, you will need the into-the-stereo harness. Your replacement head unit will be equipped with a plug and wires. To get them to function together, you must connect the connector and cables of the head unit to the harness plugging into the car.

Wire the Stereo

Using a soldering iron is the best approach to attach the head unit’s plug to the stereo wiring harness before you can plug it into the car. Soldering the connectors ensures the strongest, most vibration-resistant connection possible. Do the soldering outside the vehicle on a clean workbench to avoid accidental damage.

Before you solder each wire, wrap it in heat-shrink tubing so that you can carefully insulate and safeguard every joint once you’re finished.

You may always use crimp connections to connect the two harnesses if you don’t like soldering. Adhere to the guidelines on the connector package to achieve a good electrical connection. Whether you decide to solder or crimp, it is typically sufficient to match the wire colors when connecting wiring harnesses. Since certain models may use non-standard wire colors, consult your head unit’s handbook and the labeling or instructions on the car-to-stereo wiring harness.

Remove the Factory Head Unit

remove-the-factory-unitNumerous factory head units include anti-theft features to prevent thieves from stealing the stereo. Therefore, you will probably need a special tool, prongs with special shapes, to insert the factory head unit. You can also make a DIY stereo-removal tool.

Find a video on YouTube on how to go about it and do it yourself. However, you can buy a proper tool to do it, considering that most of them come at an affordable price. The right tool will make your work even easier.

Plug in the Necessary Accessories to the New Head Unit

Plug in your new stereo’s main plug, which you just completed the wiring up. You’ll see a designated antenna with just one prong protruding from the AM/FM radio center. There may or may not be compatibility issues with other add-ons such as audio systems, digital radio, or CD changers.

Install the Head Unit

Install the Head Unit

When you finish connecting the wires and plugging in the head unit, slide it into the dashboard until it is firmly secured. When the head unit is fully inserted, many will click into position and lock themselves in place. Others might need screws to be fastened in the place where they are. After installing any necessary trim surrounds and faceplates to give your installation a professional look, you are now ready to move forward with the process.

When you finally get the head unit installed, it won’t be long before you can start streaming music from your phone or other music players. To connect them, you will need to follow the directions packaged with your head unit, and then you will be ready to go.

Now that the new head unit is functioning properly, you may realize that your standard speakers are unsatisfactory. You may even require more power than the head unit can provide, necessitating the installation of an amplifier. Luckily, you can find a power source, fit the wiring adaptor, and install the speakers of your choice to make your experience even more satisfying.

Benefits of Modern Radio in Classic Car

Benefits of Modern Radio in Classic CarThe good thing about updating your radio system is that you don’t need to upgrade your whole car. Stereos are easy to remove and replace, regardless of your chosen option. If you are looking to replace your audio system but don’t understand the many benefits of modern radio in classic cars, this piece will enlighten you.

One of the primary benefits is that the replacement process is not expensive, so you will not need to break the bank to do it. Other benefits of a direct classic car radio replacement include:

Modern stereo improves the audio quality.

Let’s begin with the most important factor influencing a person’s decision to purchase a modern stereo: sound quality. It’s common knowledge that a standard car’s factory radio and speaker systems aren’t very good. The trouble with classic car radios and older models is even worse. Even if you only replace your radio or speakers as separate components, you will experience a discernible improvement in audio quality. This will ensure that you enjoy car audio the right way.

The installation process can be step-by-step.

It is not necessary to purchase and install all the components you desire for your car audio system simultaneously. You can do it step-by-step, allowing you the time and leisure to make the best purchase decisions. Watching your car audio system improve step by step can be even more entertaining than getting it all done at once.

There are unlimited choices.

Numerous components of a car audio system can be altered to improve your listening experience. Switching everything is unnecessary, but it’s undeniable that doing so will improve the audio quality massively. Whether you’re searching for a high-tech replacement for your car’s factory radio, new speakers, or an amplifier to boost your system’s power, you’ll have plenty of options. You can find these components in various online stores such as Amazon, eBay, and more.

You don’t have to replace the audio system yourself.

If you’re intimidated by the labor of installing the new car audio system, don’t panic. Many companies supply and install audio components; you can choose one near your home. You will relax as the installer does the work for you, saving you from having to figure things out on your own. Furthermore, a professional will do a fantastic job, leaving the audio system looking even classier.

A new audio system increases the value of your car

If you are planning to sell the car at some point, maintaining a factory look with a classic car radio replacement can increase the value of your car to potential buyers. The components of the new system are durable and built to withstand humidity and temperature exposed to them. They will be an effective investment for your car.

Things to Consider When Buying a Car Stereo

Things to Consider When Buying a Car Stereo

With the immense options available for modern stereos, it can be quite overwhelming to choose the right option for your classic car. Here are a few tips to consider when choosing a car stereo.

Consider the audio sources.

Before making a purchase, you should check to see if the car audio supports various playback formats. Audio files can now be encoded into a variety of various formats. The format type determines the quality of the audio file. While MP3 and AAC give standard quality, ALAC, WAV, and FLAC, among others, offer higher resolution and greater sound quality. As a result, confirm that the car radio of your choice is compatible with all playback formats. Additionally, confirm that your car stereo can play music via CD/DVD, radio, Bluetooth, SD, and smartphones, among other audio sources.

Make sure it has smartphone integration.

Nowadays, every buyer searches for a product that can be connected to and work in tandem with their smartphone. Therefore, confirming that the radio you buy has that capability is crucial. Smartphone compatibility with iPhone’s CarPlay and Android Auto has been one of the hottest trends. This makes driving easier and makes it possible to control your smartphone conveniently through the head unit for a smooth and safe driving experience.

It should have local satellite radio.

Many individuals love listening to music on the radio while driving. Radio is a fantastic resource for quick news updates and staying current on current events. These days, digital radios are quickly displacing analog radios. These radios not only have clearer sound, but they also have some very handy features, like the capability to play songs straight from Spotify, so you can listen to music that suits your tastes without taking your eyes off the road.

GPS navigation

A GPS allows the driver to focus on the road in a new area. With GPS help, you can navigate to the new destination without needing to stop in every area, asking the locals the directions. Luckily, many audio systems come integrated with GPS, meaning you don’t have to spend extra dollars to buy a GPS. Furthermore, you can use GPS navigation on the car with the help of Android Auto or Apple CarPlay.


While one role of the head unit is to take inputs from your various audio sources, another significant function of the head unit is to output the audio to your car’s speakers via its internal amplifier. This amplifier has two different power ratings: peak power and RMS power. RMS power is the amount of power an amplifier will produce on average when it is used normally. In contrast, peak power refers to the maximum amount of power the amplifier can produce. You should be more concerned with the RMS rating unless you’re the type of person who constantly cranks up the volume on their speaker to its maximum level.

RMS Power

In most cases, having a high RMS power is advantageous since it provides you more flexibility in terms of loudness without hitting the limit of the amplifier’s ability, which could result in distortion. In other words, it prevents you from overloading the amplifier. However, a higher wattage does not necessarily result in superior sound quality. Many things, including the quality of the audio source, signal processing, a digital-to-analog converter, equalization, and the speakers in your vehicle, contribute to its overall quality.

You can install a modern radio on your classic car. While you can do it yourself following the steps we’ve discussed, you can also hire an expert to help you out. Consider the power, sound quality, GPS navigation, and phone-to-car integration when buying a modern stereo for your classic car. If you can, consider getting a modern radio disguised as a classic car radio.

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