Getting your '60s and early '70s Chevelle audio system into the modern tech era may sound a bit strange, but what if you were able to do it without the modern head unit look?
Now you can, with help from Custom Autosound Manufacturing. CAM specializes in nostalgic stereos and other audio components that don't compromise your car's dash, styling, or classic looks.
CAM's latest unit, the USA-630 radio with 240 watts of power, not only controls a 10-disc CD changer but also has two built-in leads from the back: one for an iPod and one USB port for a flash drive device. The classic-looking stereo has large OE-style push-buttons and a display that shows the song, artist, and album title during playback of MP3/WMA files. The 18-inch leads are also long enough to route to the glove box so you can keep your iPod and flash drive out of sight and away from sunlight.
Since it's not uncommon for older muscle cars to have gone through many less-than-desirable audio swaps, CAM has also been addressing the speaker locations. CAM now offers a variety of options to get rid of those nasty-looking door speakers we were all guilty of at one time or another, as is the case with the former owner of our '67 Chevelle.
Shown here is the new USA-630...
Shown here is the new USA-630 from Custom Autosound Manufacturing, along with the company's high-quality Dual Voice Coil Speaker, a 140-watt dash speaker we installed.
For the front speakers, some may prefer the kick panel speaker option, especially if the stock ones needed replacing anyway. Simply upgrading the existing dash speaker with a 140-watt Dual Voice Coil Speaker, as we did, can really help improve the sound.
CAM also offers deck speakers, including hidden speakers that can be placed underneath the seat. In our case we learned that we already had nice JBL 6x9s on the decklid, and since the installation was clean we went ahead and decided to leave them in place at this time.
The Chevelle radio installation went really smooth with the aid of Greg Ames from CAM's headquarters in Fullerton, California. Actually, the hardest part was removing some of the oddly placed machine screws and nuts on the top of the dash that were holding the ancient dash speaker in place. This was also a great time to replace the worn-out stock radio bezel with a new one from True Connections, a company that deals only in Chevelle and El Camino replacement parts.
If you have any experience installing a radio, then you'll completely appreciate how the new USA-630 radios come complete with all the wiring, fuses, cords, and plugs ready to go, making it a simple swap for anyone who can handle basic electrical connections.
After the installation we instantly noticed a huge improvement in sound quality, as we now had way more watts to power the rear deck and dash speakers. The controls on the USA-630 head unit are easy to use, and the buttons allow you to navigate your music selections. Now you can be cool and tell your kids to bring along their iPods or flash drives when they come with you for a ride.
What We Did
Installed a USA-630 stereo
Classic looks with a modern sound
This '80s-style upgrade is...
This '80s-style upgrade is what we were looking forward to getting rid of in the Chevelle. The old door speaker, clapped-out carpet on the door panel, and visible wire can now be replaced with a brand-new door panel to give the car a much cleaner look and cover the hole!
Remove the knobs and unscrew...
Remove the knobs and unscrew the nuts that retain the old stereo faceplate and head unit. There should also be a support bracket in the back, and it will need to be removed in order for you to pull out the old unit from under the dash.
Now you can remove the stock...
Now you can remove the stock bezel and pull the radio out from under the dash. Notice the yellowing of the stock bezel and the cutting that was done to fit the old radio and tape player.
Removing these machine screws...
Removing these machine screws that a previous owner had used for the replacement dash speaker was the hardest part. A sideways ratcheting flat-head driver and lifting up the dash pad to fit a wrench on the nut underneath worked after very short turns and some real patience.
This is the old speaker we...
This is the old speaker we took out of the dash and probably the reason for door speakers that went in long ago. The new DVC 140-watt dash speaker not only sounds much better than this one, but also went in easily and fit in the stock location with a supplied bracket.
The new radio can be brought...
The new radio can be brought in from underneath and into the dash as shown. Now secure the supplied rear support bracket to the stud on the back of the radio and the upper dash stud with nuts, and tighten.