Copyright 2006 by BUCKAROO COMMUNICATIONS
All rights reserved.
THE HEAR & NOW
INSTALLING A Custom Autosound Stereo
Into A Chevy C10
Story & Photography By Matt Emery
Page 1 of 3
There are only a few things in this world that really get us
going. A few of them are auto related, but one of things we
love most is music. As far as we're concerned, the only thing
better than tooling down the highway in our hot rod truck is
tooling down the highway in our hot rod truck while listening
Cars and music have been so intertwined in our culture
that the Beach Boys and Jan and Dan virtually made their
careers out of combining the two-well, these two things and a
pretty girl, anyway.
While we love classic vehicles, there are some aspects
that have to be upgraded for life in the here and now--or make
that the hear and now. Though a sound system that provides the
capabilities of modern vehicles may not be on a par with
upgraded safety features such as disc brakes, it sure does
make life better to our ears, anyway.
We like the looks of the classic dashes in early pickups. We
did not want to cut up the dash in order to install a new
stereo system. Thanks to the folks at Custom Autosound those
days are over, and have been for some time, as they've seen to
it that nearly anyone can install a custom sound system in his
or her vintage ride without having to do any damage to it, or
without the need to be an electrical engineer.
Since 1979, Custom Autosound has been producing
state-of-the-art stereo systems that fit the stock radio
opening. Custom Autosound owner Carl Sprauge originally
designed a unit that would fit into his '63 Corvette without
having to alter the stock console. Since then, he and his crew
have expanded the products they offer to encompass systems for
more than 400 different makes an models, ranging in years from
the 1940s through the 1980s.
In this article we're chronicling the installation of a
Custom Autosound USA-5 unit into a 1972 Chevy C10. The
installation of the Custom Autosound unit is fairly
straightforward, one that most folks, with a base knowledge of
their vehicle's electrical system and stereo-based electronics
can do at home. It just requires some basic understanding, and
the ability to bolt things together and run some wiring.
Custom Autosound has units that can control the CD
changer but do not have a cassette player. It also has a
Secretaudio unit which has a small and very thin faceplate
that can be mounted in a visor or a center console while still
being able to control a remote-mounted CD changer. The
Secretaudio system is perfect for those who want to smooth the
dash on their pickups.
Follow along as the crew at Custom Autosound brings
this Chevy audibly into the modern age -- with is vintage
The heart of the matter is the Custom Autosound head unit.
This model is the USA-5. It features AM/FM stereo and Cassette
player with 240 watts of power, and is capable of operating a
CD changer. Don't let the numbers on the dial fool you; they
are only there for looks. The unit uses LED numbers to display
the station and the CD readout.
The Custom Autosound CD changer
holds 10 disc that are easily installed into the magazine. All
controls for the changer are found on the head unit.
Custom Autosound has devised these dual voice-coil speaker to
fit in the place of the stock dash speaker. They are pre-wired
as they come from Custom Autosound, so installing them is
simply a matter of plugging them into the main radio wiring
harness. It can handle 140 watts of power.
4. Gone also are the days of having to
cut a hole in your door panels to mount speakers. Custom
Autosound has eliminated that drastic step with its
kickpanel-mounted speakers. These unit are black, high-density
molded ABS plastic, so they can be installed as is, or they
can easily be painted or covered with upholstery if the
interior of your ride is another color. They feature a 6½"
coaxial (two-way) speakers that are capable of handling 80
watts of power each. As with the company's other speakers, the
units are pre-wired with male and female ends, so there is no
chance of a wiring problem.
5. This Chevy had been upgraded back in
the late '80s with a Jensen stereo. The unit was okay in its
day, but the cassette player hadn't worked for years and the
owner wanted to have more of a retro look, so the unit had to
6. The first step when working on any
automotive electrical system is to remove the negative lead on
the battery. With that done it is time to remove the old unit.
To get to it, though, the heater controls need to be remove.
This is done by removing a few screws from beneath the dash.
The ashtray and its frame also need to be removed.
7A-B.The control knobs are pulled and
the nuts holding the faceplate on the old unit are removed.
The unit is then dropped down and out through the bottom of
8. With the unit out of the way, the
stock dash speaker (what is left of it) is unbolted and
9. One nice thing about the Custom
Autosound twin coil (DVC) speaker is that it, too, is
pre-wired and ready to be plugged into the wiring harness. The
leads are marked L and R so that the wiring process is as easy
10A-B. With the stock hardware resued,
the new speaker is installed.
11. In another "upgrade," the Chevy had
been equipped with carpet covering the kick panels.
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