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Anyone miss the old car stereo shops like me?

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Anyone miss the old car stereo shops like me?

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Old 04-17-2018, 06:56 PM
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Anyone miss the old car stereo shops like me?

Remember these stores from back in the day with the room behind glass doors with the racks of stereos and speakers and switching in different head unit and speaker combos? And drooling all over the amps, equalizers and crossovers? Maybe I'm showing my age but I have trouble relating to all of these new single DIN head units with lots of tiny little buttons. I used to love visiting these stores back in the mid-eighties while in college.... no bluetooth, no USB, no programming a new head unit. Wire it up and go! Back then I didn't have two nickles to rub together but could always find some cash for one of those 10 band equalizer\booster combos. A friend who was out of college and working had the cash for a competition level Rockford Fosgate system in his 1987 Buick Skylark "T" (all blacked out) which he referred to as a mini-Grand National. Those were the days

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Old 04-17-2018, 07:08 PM
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Re: Anyone miss the old car stereo shops like me?

Yes, although we still have one or two up here.

What I miss is having a selection of 1.5 DIN radios to chose from.

Some day, a classic radio shop is going to start making nice 1.5s again, and if they do a nice job, they'll have a have a corner on the market.
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Old 04-17-2018, 07:33 PM
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Re: Anyone miss the old car stereo shops like me?

A guy from my High School started one in the 90s and was really successful. He grew the business and expanded.. was called Tim’s Car Tunes.. we used to hang out there and wish we could buy subs, amps, CD changers.. ha ha

I do miss those shops.. I guess new cars all having built in alarms and Bose systems hurt that business..
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Old 04-17-2018, 07:34 PM
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Re: Anyone miss the old car stereo shops like me?

Yeah, but there selling all this modern DIN bluetooth USB stuff with those tiny buttons I mentioned. Not the old Alpine lit up green buttons in the 3x2 format which were soooooo easy to navigate by feel.
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Old 04-18-2018, 02:22 AM
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Re: Anyone miss the old car stereo shops like me?

There's still a quite few around the Houston area that have survived. I am sure it's not what it used to be any longer.
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Old 04-18-2018, 03:06 AM
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Re: Anyone miss the old car stereo shops like me?

Agreed. I miss the 80s too. Mostly not just because we were younger and had less responsibilities, but times WERE better, things were slower, people WERE happier, and we had disposable income. "THEY" have managed to take all of that away. The world has become too fast-paced and although I could probably keep up, I don't want to. I'm going to live at a pace that I decide is comfortable - FOR ME!
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Old 04-18-2018, 04:48 AM
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Re: Anyone miss the old car stereo shops like me?

Originally Posted by sshoureas View Post
Yeah, but there selling all this modern DIN bluetooth USB stuff with those tiny buttons I mentioned. Not the old Alpine lit up green buttons in the 3x2 format which were soooooo easy to navigate by feel.
I was just resetting all my adjustments on my JVC unit last night, had to disconnect the battery recently to work on the car. I have to get out my super small manual with tiny writing and go through all the adjustments and like you said find the small buttons to adjust. My fault though for not using my radio station saver. I miss the old equalizer with the manual slide switches, no need to readjust after setting up.
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Old 04-18-2018, 07:06 AM
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Re: Anyone miss the old car stereo shops like me?

I miss em. Now I have to install my car stereos and every body else that knows me. Nephews, cousins, neighborhood kids etc. "Take it to Dustin they say"
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Old 04-18-2018, 07:24 AM
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Re: Anyone miss the old car stereo shops like me?

Yeah, I remember them well. For my really "FIRST" big complete system in 1985, I went to a place that was called "Cartunes Audio in Little Rock Arkansas. I bought a Alpine 7803 (I think), a 7 band passive EQ, Alpine 2way for the dash, 6x9 Tri's for the sails, and 2 10" Subs for the rear. I still have and use the 4 channel, 400w bridgeable amp that powered the subs and 6x9's. Total out the door....AND "installed or put in the back seat" as the salesman laughed, was $1303 dollars!! I maxed out a credit card for it!. I spent the next day installing it in my new 85 T/A. MAN did it jam. So simple then.
Now you have to have a IT Degree to find the Bass setting!!!

Here's a pic of the T/A

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Old 04-18-2018, 11:07 AM
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Re: Anyone miss the old car stereo shops like me?

While in college in 1988 I bought an aftermarket Kenwood cassette deck KRC-8001 and installed it in my 1982 Z28. I also ran a "super compact" Kenwwod KGC-4042A equalizer that I mounted above the cigarette lighter pod in that small nook. I purchased two 12 inch Mitek (MTX) subwoofers that I built a triangular box for (couldn't find any prefabricated boxes for sale). The box took up the entire area beneath the rear hatch from the backseat backrest to the rear trim panel and all points in between, lol. Some Kenwood 6x9's behind the sail panels and 4x6's with in the dash all with crossovers handled my mids and highs. I powered everything with a Precision Power (Mosfet component) 300 watt amp that I mounted in the rear storage well area. There was no Google search in 1988 to learn from or to provide instructions or recommendations, we just winged it. Good old times!






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Old 04-18-2018, 11:39 AM
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Re: Anyone miss the old car stereo shops like me?

First thing I did when I got my first car ('70 Duster) was to run out an buy an AM/FM Cassette to replace the factory AM radio. And where do I go? To J.C. Penney of course!
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Old 04-18-2018, 11:41 AM
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Re: Anyone miss the old car stereo shops like me?

I love it Arnold! The guys that worked at the stereo shops didn't have google either and for the most part....knew their #@%$!
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Old 04-18-2018, 11:44 AM
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Re: Anyone miss the old car stereo shops like me?

Originally Posted by DynoDave43 View Post
First thing I did when I got my first car ('70 Duster) was to run out an buy an AM/FM Cassette to replace the factory AM radio. And where do I go? To J.C. Penney of course!
JC Penney and Service Merchandise!!! And I had my awesome Kraco and Sparkomatic units in the beginning too!!
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Old 04-18-2018, 11:54 AM
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Re: Anyone miss the old car stereo shops like me?

Originally Posted by Bob88GTA View Post
I love it Arnold! The guys that worked at the stereo shops didn't have google either and for the most part....knew their #@%$!
Bob, I bought the system from a local stereo shop in Corpus Christi and yes the sale people were the only pros that we could ask. Crutchfield was another option but it was in magazine form not online in 1988. I also remember department store decks, I recall buying a “Sears Best” car stereo from the Sears auto center in the early 80’s. Systems were expensive back then compared to todays prices.
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Old 04-18-2018, 04:51 PM
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Re: Anyone miss the old car stereo shops like me?

Some cool stories and equipment here .. let's keep it up!
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Old 04-18-2018, 04:56 PM
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Re: Anyone miss the old car stereo shops like me?

Originally Posted by Bob88GTA View Post
Yeah, I remember them well. For my really "FIRST" big complete system in 1985, I went to a place that was called "Cartunes Audio in Little Rock Arkansas. I bought a Alpine 7803 (I think), a 7 band passive EQ, Alpine 2way for the dash, 6x9 Tri's for the sails, and 2 10" Subs for the rear. I still have and use the 4 channel, 400w bridgeable amp that powered the subs and 6x9's. Total out the door....AND "installed or put in the back seat" as the salesman laughed, was $1303 dollars!! I maxed out a credit card for it!. I spent the next day installing it in my new 85 T/A. MAN did it jam. So simple then.
Now you have to have a IT Degree to find the Bass setting!!!

Here's a pic of the T/A


Nice looking TA. I dig that vintage bra too! Wonder if you can even still buy those?
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Old 04-18-2018, 04:56 PM
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Re: Anyone miss the old car stereo shops like me?

Originally Posted by Bob88GTA View Post
JC Penney and Service Merchandise!!! And I had my awesome Kraco and Sparkomatic units in the beginning too!!
Sparkomatic…now there's a blast from the past! Service Merchandise was great, used their layaway plan more than once!
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Old 04-18-2018, 05:14 PM
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Re: Anyone miss the old car stereo shops like me?

My best system back in 1986 was a Realistic cassette deck i paid $249 for that was sort of an Alpine copy cat. I bought a Sunkyong amp used, and a Realistic equalizer. sounded pretyy decent in my 1978 Buick Regal.
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Old 04-18-2018, 06:48 PM
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Re: Anyone miss the old car stereo shops like me?

We still have 1 in my town which has been in business since I can remember and still going strong! I miss my Lanzar Opti-Drives, Phoenix Gold amps and Earthquake subs back in the day! I remember when the bandpass box came out in stores and I ended up building my own with lights in it. Those were the days! Sadly, I haven't had a system in 15 years.
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Old 04-18-2018, 06:48 PM
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Re: Anyone miss the old car stereo shops like me?

Originally Posted by sshoureas View Post
Back then I didn't have two nickles to rub together but could always find some cash for one of those 10 band equalizer\booster combos.
Same here. I had a Lear Jet graphic equalizer. 7x7 display of LEDs with 3 different colours. Great PLF (pretty light factor)
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Old 04-18-2018, 06:57 PM
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Re: Anyone miss the old car stereo shops like me?

Anyone remember the Optimus amps from Radio Shack? Those things were freaking awesome and indestructible. I bought the biggest one they had when I was in high school powering 4 10s with a crossover. It was a crazy powerful amp for the money and it was HUGE.
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Old 04-18-2018, 07:21 PM
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Re: Anyone miss the old car stereo shops like me?

you can still find those Optimus amps on eBay, sometimes new in the box. They seemed heavy duty but never had one
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Old 04-18-2018, 10:21 PM
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Re: Anyone miss the old car stereo shops like me?

Remember the Godfather subs? I want a set today! Those things were awesome.
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Old 04-19-2018, 12:03 AM
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Re: Anyone miss the old car stereo shops like me?

Originally Posted by Bob88GTA View Post
JC Penney and Service Merchandise!!! And I had my awesome Kraco and Sparkomatic units in the beginning too!!
Sparkomatic. Caldor carried 5 auto stereos, from basic up to top of the line. I noticed that when they put them on sale that the sale price of the next unit above was the regular price of the lower unit. So I bought the cheapest model and used it until the better unit went on sale. Then I returned it, but since the price was the same as the better unit, I traded up. I kept doing this for about a year and a half or two until I made my way up to the top of the line unit. I still have it up in my closet. I think I wore the cassette mechanism out. This unit had 2 shafts (remember those?), a high power amp, and the fastest music search auto reverse cassette I know of.
Now all I want is a mechless unit and a thumb drive, because no one uses cassettes anymore and I can't stand all the commercials on the radio anymore. Today's music sucks too. But I just might use this unit again. It rocked.
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Old 04-19-2018, 12:06 AM
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Re: Anyone miss the old car stereo shops like me?

No one knows what I'm talking about when I mention this, but some of you old timers might know: I have heard stories that people used to use a Radio Shack power converter hooked up in reverse and it worked as a kick-*** audio amplifier.
Can anyone verify this?
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Old 04-19-2018, 04:13 AM
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Re: Anyone miss the old car stereo shops like me?

Originally Posted by sshoureas View Post
Nice looking TA. I dig that vintage bra too! Wonder if you can even still buy those?
I have one in excellent condition hanging up in my garage with paper work, came with the car.
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Old 04-19-2018, 07:44 AM
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Re: Anyone miss the old car stereo shops like me?

Originally Posted by NoEmissions84TA View Post
No one knows what I'm talking about when I mention this, but some of you old timers might know: I have heard stories that people used to use a Radio Shack power converter hooked up in reverse and it worked as a kick-*** audio amplifier.
Can anyone verify this?
Yeah, along the same line as a "Linear" amp. We used to use them in the late 70's on the CB Radio's. God aweful power!! We would override ANYBODY within a 5 mile radius of us!!
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Old 04-19-2018, 12:33 PM
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Re: Anyone miss the old car stereo shops like me?

Originally Posted by NoEmissions84TA View Post
No one knows what I'm talking about when I mention this, but some of you old timers might know: I have heard stories that people used to use a Radio Shack power converter hooked up in reverse and it worked as a kick-*** audio amplifier.
Can anyone verify this?
Never heard of that one, but this "old timer" does remember using his dad's car battery charger to run an under dash 12 volt car 8-track in his bedroom. Use to drive the old man crazy but at least he always knew where to find it.

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Old 04-19-2018, 12:38 PM
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Re: Anyone miss the old car stereo shops like me?

Memories! I done the charger thing for my CB for a while. Then I got a power supply. Where is the book of matches to wedge under the tape so it tracked good??
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Old 04-19-2018, 02:12 PM
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Re: Anyone miss the old car stereo shops like me?

i remember going to the local places and drooling over all the car stereo stuff back in the day - rockford fosgate, mb quart, soundstream, alpine, audio control, phoenix gold, etc...
my first non-stock radio was a JVC cassette player and you could pull the whole thing out of the dash and carry it around the mall with you. never had to worry about anyone stealing it.
my first CD player was an Eclipse unit. it had a feature where you could make one of your CDs a "key" so it would lock if someone stole it.
my trunk was full of old school turtle shell rockford fosgate amps and two 12" DVC JL Audio subs. the amps were linked together so three separate amps looked like one huge one. i eventually upgraded to three 12" DVC Audiobahn subs.
my friend worked at a car stereo shop that did some pretty cool stuff. my friend had a dodge shelby daytona. he ripped the back seat out and made the whole back of the car a sub box with i think four 15" subs and memphis amps. the stereo shop had a competition astrovan that had some crazy amount of subs and amps. we used to go to bass offs. it was pretty fun since most of the competitions were at local Hooter's restaurants.
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Old 04-19-2018, 02:57 PM
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Re: Anyone miss the old car stereo shops like me?

stereo contest mid 80s
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Old 04-19-2018, 04:05 PM
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Re: Anyone miss the old car stereo shops like me?

I liked those old shops to actually do the repair of radios such as replacing the belts on the cassette decks.
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Old 04-19-2018, 04:27 PM
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Re: Anyone miss the old car stereo shops like me?

that's a cool video clip! Takes me back for sure!
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Old 04-19-2018, 06:50 PM
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Re: Anyone miss the old car stereo shops like me?

Remember them? I worked at one! The Sound Company in Springfield, MA, summer of 1985. Fresh out of college and without a job I walked into the store to look at car stereos and knew more than the salesman - the owner heard me and offered me a job right there. I did have a slight edge, I had grey-marketed Carver & Harman Kardon stereos in college and did so well with them that my last delivery right before graduation came in a box truck!

We were getting rid of a bunch of old single speakers from the basement of the store one afternoon and were trying to blow them with a Phase Linear amp we had - some would, some wouldn't so the ones that didn't we plugged them into the wall outlet! That blew every single speaker except for a walnut cased Kef that we had....that thing sat there on the floor and played 110 volts out of the outlet and wouldn't quit!

I put it in the sound room and sold dozens of them for weeks!

I had an Alpine stereo in my Formula that would make the mirrors shake.

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Old 04-19-2018, 07:23 PM
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Re: Anyone miss the old car stereo shops like me?

Soundesign.
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Old 04-19-2018, 08:47 PM
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Re: Anyone miss the old car stereo shops like me?

Originally Posted by PurelyPMD View Post
so the ones that didn't we plugged them into the wall outlet! That blew every single speaker except for a walnut cased Kef that we had....that thing sat there on the floor and played 110 volts out of the outlet and wouldn't quit!

I put it in the sound room and sold dozens of them for weeks!

WOW. Marketing Genius. I would buy after seeing that!
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Old 04-20-2018, 07:59 AM
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Re: Anyone miss the old car stereo shops like me?

Ya know what I like? -the fact that 80's era/period correct AFTERMARKET is something a lot of us try to replicate. There's factory, aftermarket, and period correct aftermarket!

I'm running an old school style EQ because I just love the look! -and because it's my sound processor.
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Old 04-20-2018, 12:32 PM
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Re: Anyone miss the old car stereo shops like me?

I still have the Scsoche trim plate for single DIN and thin EQ in a 1.5 DIN opening, removed from my '91 Camaro before trade-in. Although it's decidedly non-matching, or non-OE i nit's appearance, I have thought about putting it in the T/A. I mean, I've saved it since 1992, so when the heck not?
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Old 04-20-2018, 12:37 PM
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Re: Anyone miss the old car stereo shops like me?

Originally Posted by Abubaca View Post
Ya know what I like? -the fact that 80's era/period correct AFTERMARKET is something a lot of us try to replicate. There's factory, aftermarket, and period correct aftermarket!

I'm running an old school style EQ because I just love the look! -and because it's my sound processor.
The guys on a Chevelle forum I frequent refer to this sort of thing as “day 2” cars where they get period correct mods. Examples in the Chevelle world could include crager S/S wheels, hurst shifter, headers, or whatever the first things guys did in the day after first buying the car. I think stereo mods are a much bigger deal in the 70s and 80s vs. 60s and older due to the technology advances. Speaking of which, where is my VH 1984 cassette....
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Old 04-20-2018, 01:10 PM
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Re: Anyone miss the old car stereo shops like me?

Still in my GTA since 1988
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Old 04-22-2018, 10:32 AM
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Re: Anyone miss the old car stereo shops like me?

Those places bring back some good memories,my first brand new radio was a blaupunkt montreal tape deck from crutchfield.I still have a polk audio c4 bandpass box,a buddy of mine bought it at a hifi buys in the atlanta area back in 92'.
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Old 04-22-2018, 10:37 AM
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Re: Anyone miss the old car stereo shops like me?

Blaupunkt in my 73 TA with cabled remote.


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Old 04-22-2018, 01:30 PM
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Cable remote,I did not know that was available.I remember going to Sears when I was kid and my folks bought a VCR with a cable remote,that had to be 83'or 84'.
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Old 04-22-2018, 02:03 PM
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Re: Anyone miss the old car stereo shops like me?

Our first VCR a Magnavox around 1985 had a wired remote too. Never a need to search for that lost remote control though. My dad took it in trade from a customer who couldn’t pay his bill at his grocery store. I remember the first movie I watched on it was the Breakfast Club.
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Old 04-22-2018, 04:27 PM
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Re: Anyone miss the old car stereo shops like me?

I had a BETA VCR I bought from a roommate back in 1987 that also had a wired remote. I think it was a Sony. Yeah, not one of my better decisions!
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Old 04-22-2018, 06:00 PM
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Re: Anyone miss the old car stereo shops like me?

WOW, this post takes me back.
When the heck did we get so old?
The younger people looking at some of these pics probably have the same reaction
as my cousins did when they were younger and wanted to call their mother.
They didn't have a clue how to work the ROTARY PHONE.
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Old 04-23-2018, 06:22 AM
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Re: Anyone miss the old car stereo shops like me?

My 87 IROC had a Kenwood pull out cassette unit with Harman Kardon front & rear amps, Polk Audio front speakers and the same Alpine 6x9's that were in my Formula in the back.

Still have the amps and they will be going back in, also have the radio delete plate and that may be going back in too thanks to today's modern technology.



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Old 04-23-2018, 12:43 PM
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Re: Anyone miss the old car stereo shops like me?

The guys on a Chevelle forum I frequent refer to this sort of thing as “day 2” cars where they get period correct mods.
That's cool. I hadn't heard that term before. ....at one time I was doing something similar with my car (the whole car).....it's since been modded with a good bit of modern tech, but I still have the TPI, which I kept on purpose.

Day 2 mods. I like that.
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Old 04-23-2018, 02:01 PM
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Re: Anyone miss the old car stereo shops like me?

Originally Posted by Abubaca View Post
That's cool. I hadn't heard that term before. ....at one time I was doing something similar with my car (the whole car).....it's since been modded with a good bit of modern tech, but I still have the TPI, which I kept on purpose.

Day 2 mods. I like that.
ya it’s all the rage in the muscle forums. Hurst shifters, suspension to match they way the dragged back then. But it can be whatever you like, just period mods.


Originally Posted by Bow_Tied View Post
Same here. I had a Lear Jet graphic equalizer. 7x7 display of LEDs with 3 different colours. Great PLF (pretty light factor)

found it and an old Alpine deck in the garage. Should put them in something...

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Old 04-23-2018, 03:00 PM
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Re: Anyone miss the old car stereo shops like me?

I was also right in the middle of the big car audio "boom". Out of the 2 local audio shops neither were using computer software to help design boxes. I was making custom fit and computer tuned boxes and installing big systems in my spare time. I still have my software on 3.5" floppy disk. I had a 2dr 4x4 S10 Blazer with a Toshiba CD player, Clarion Pro Audio 4x6 plates in the dash, coustic silk dome tweeters in the B pillars, Pioneer 6x9's in the rear and a pair of MTX "Cranker" 12's. All processed through a Sony xec-1000 crossover to Alpine mid amps and a Hafler sub amp. I could bounce a 2liter soda bottle around on my roof!! I actually bought most of what I need for a slammin, period correct, system for my '88 2wd S10 Blazer that also has fiberglass ground effects and soon to be TPI swapped.
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