When it comes to listening to the radio in a customized classic truck, sound quality isn't exactly one of the first phrases that comes to mind. In the case of the '79 Chevy C-10 we rushed to ready for Americruise, being able to listen to the radio was one of the last things on our mind, but that doesn't mean we didn't think about it. The thought of being able to listen to a good FM radio station broadcasted in stereo or pop in a favorite CD while we were blazing across America definitely had its appeal. But in reality our C-10 was still equipped with its original AM radio, which even when new was minimal at best. In '79, pretty much all General Motors products were equipped with a hidden antenna built into the windshield. It was a really good idea as far as being a great way to clean up the looks of a vehicle, but the truth of it was they didn't work very well.
After disconnecting the truck's battery, the next step was to remove the dash panel by rem
Across the brands, another problem customized classic truck owners encounter when it comes to choosing a new radio (sound system) is that the availability of head units that will mount in place of a shaft-mount design is just about nil. In the instance of '73-87 GMC and Chevy C-10 trucks, the original design calls for a shaft-mount radio, but due to the way the dashboard is styled, we figured out a way to adapt to the later-styled box-mount radios without leaving a trace. Unfortunately, the problem didn't end with being able to install a box-mount application. The next consideration-and it was an important one-was trying to find a new head unit that didn't look like it was designed by space aliens with an array of flashing lights and gizmos to be installed in a Honda car.
...and then wiggling it out of place at an angle away from the A/C vent. Wiggle is the key
For us, the first thing was to track down a manufacturer that offered styling appropriate for a customized classic truck. After ruling out numerous brands (and we mean numerous), our dilemma was solved when we looked to Clarion, a good brand that has been around since 1967. The head unit we chose was the Clarion DXZ475MP, which in addition to featuring MP3 and WMA capabilities offers a maximum output of 200 watts that equals 50 watts per channel.
Frankly, when the subject comes to dealing with a sophisticated sound system, it's not a topic most classic truck owners are all that familiar with, and truth be told, around the CCT offices we are no exception to the rule. It was for this very reason that we elected to start with a basic system utilizing only a Clarion head unit and mating it up with two Clarion 6x9 coaxial speakers. In an upcoming issue after we are familiar with the original Clarion components we will cover the installation of a Clarion amplifier and Clarion 10-inch subwoofer. As with the Clarion 6x9 coaxial speakers, the 10-inch sub and amplifier will be hidden from sight.
With this phase of the hidden Clarion sound system completed and the Clarion DXZ475MP fully operational, we were absolutely delighted (that means really happy) to discover we hadn't compromised the sound quality of the Clarion components by placing form ahead of function.
The Clarion DXZ475MP is a perfect replacement for the stock Chevy shaft-mount radio, as it
With the opening in the dash matched to the Clarion's profile, the Clarion slid into place
It was necessary to trim (cut out) the black plastic dash panel with a die grinder to matc