Thursday, August 26, 2010

1951 Willys Pickup Audio System

This very cool vehicle was in the process of a complete restoration to the factory style. The only exception was that the owner wanted a great audio system in it. The restriction was that none of it could be seen, so that the illusion of leaving the factory yesterday wouldn't be ruined. Definitely a challenge, but it came out sounding good enough to put a modern "factory premium" system to shame.
The engine room. That Optima battery was eventually covered with a replica old-style battery case, and all the amp wiring was covered in a matching braided loom to keep the theme.
This is what the factory dashboard looked like. As you can see, there's no place for a radio to go. A pair of speakers was eventually tucked up out of sight under each end of the dash.
This is the only part of the audio system you can see. A master volume knob was added in a factory hole. You'd never know it wasn't stock.
Since there's no place for a radio, the source for the sound system is an iPod dock connector cable. The cable can be tucked out of sight at shows. With an iPhone connected, you can even stream Pandora internet radio while you're going down the road. How's that for modern?
This is a photo of the stock "well" under the bench seat.
A new 4 channel amp was located in the stock well under the bench seat bottom.
Since you don't want to drill any holes in a vehicle like this, a mounting platform for the amp was attached to the floor with silicone adhesive. The amp then got screwed into the platform.
This is probably the smallest speaker box I've ever seen. It mounts the rear speakers in an unused and hidden area behind the bench seat back for rear fill and bass response.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Gold Technics 1200's

Custom is always cool. Sometimes, it's even the less expensive option.
Now that Technics has discontinued the 1200, new ones are selling for over $1000 each(!). For a fraction of that, you can turn a used set into something that looks and performs better than new...and makes a statement too.
This set got a custom candy gold with gold metalflake paint job. Under the lights, these sparkle like mad.
This picture really shows how shiny the paint finish is.
Along with the new paint, these decks were completely disassembled, cleaned, and adjusted to like-new spec. Then the RCA cables were replaced with a new set of upgraded and super-durable Streetwires units. The grounds were upgraded for better performance and reliability too.
The blue Serato vinyl is a good look with the blue wiring and gold finish.
This will give you an idea about what "completely disassembled" means. The paint used is automotive spec, so it should be durable and keep it's shine for years.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

69 Roadrunner.

One thing that drives me crazy: People will build hot cars with the "best of everything", then throw in whatever 70's hand-me-down radio they have laying around. No matter how good your exhaust sounds, eventually you're going to want to listen to something else...something good.

This is a great example of what can be done in a classic car without destroying it's flavor. It's a sound system that blends in aesthetically, but stands out sonically.

The irregularly shaped and profiled dash area was handled by machining a polished black polycarbonate panel for the modern Alpine radio. A connector for an iPod is tucked into the glovebox and is controlled through the radio's faceplate buttons.

Panels were made to house Alpine's Pro components in the plastic kickpanels. None of the metal behind the plastic had to be modified in any way. With a casual glance you wouldn't even notice that they weren't factory equipment.
The biggest challenge on the driver's side was retaining 100% functionality of the emergency brake. Tight clearance, but it all clears.
The mismatched-shaped rear speaker locations required machining more polished black polycarbonate adapter plates. You'll never see them under the reworked carpet cover, but still cool pieces. (the white is just the protective plastic that comes off when you're done)

To handle the bass duties, an enclosure was made to house a 10 inch subwoofer behind the backseat. The box also serves as a mounting point for the amplifiers and trim panels.

A black carpeted trim panel finishes off the trunk area. Unless you really know what a stock trunk looks like, you wouldn't know anything was in there.

The stock style plaid trunk mat still fits perfectly back where it came from.
Nothing stereo related here. It's just a great looking motor.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Hot Rod Power Tour 2010

Here's a quick look at the Hot Rod Power Tour. Thousands of custom cars road-tripping across thousands of miles. Taking over a new city every night. Two lanes, tiny towns, and terrible food in between. The worst driver's (or passenger's) sunburn you'll ever have. One of the best times a car guy can legally have.

This may look like your average police car, but it's actually one of the Roush-built Cobra Interceptors used by the Bondurant school instructors with a Cobra motor and manual trans.

The Ariel Atom. Anyone that watches Top Gear knows how cool this is (if not, check YouTube). I already have plans to go for a ride in it. Stoked. You've got to be hardcore to do the Power Tour Longhaul in a car with no roof or windshield.

You think a car is low budget from the outside, then you see the Viper V10 motor under the hood. Only on Power Tour.

Of all the cars we saw on Tour, this is BY FAR the most stylish custom car. I can't imagine how much work it took to create a detail-perfect reproduction of the Wagon Queen Family Truxter. Notice the leash hanging off the rear bumper?

The glovebox is even signed by Chevy Chase and Beverly D'Angelo.

This is what Southern Illinois looks like when you're lost.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Custom Turntables.

Customizing doesn't always have to be about cars. Just like everything else, if you have the same thing as everyone else - it's boring. This kind of thing could be done to almost anything: Computers, Video Game consoles, toasters, whatever.

Take for example these customized and upgraded Technics 1200 decks done in a red Alcantara suede (the stuff they use in Lamborghinis). What you can't see in the pictures are the electronic upgrades: the grounds both inside and outside were upgraded from the stock 22gauge wire to 12gauge, which improves both output and headroom if used conventionally. It also helps digital systems like Serato track the control records more precisely. As an added plus, it also makes turntables more durable and reliable. The tonearms on these were replaced, and the internal settings were syncronized for speed and braking.
If you'd like to check these out in person, check out to find out where they're going to be. Remember to ask before you touch.
The finish could be anything, really. As an example of something wilder, here's a set that was done in zebra fur (yes, fur). I still don't know if they're black with white stripes, or white with black stripes. If you want to be different...