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Radio alternatives for '63 Riviera?

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So... when I bought my '63, I was given the original AM FM radio, but the car had been fitted with a Custom Autosound radio and trunk-mounted CD changer. About two years in, the radio  simply stopped working; since the CD changer still worked, I got another CAS radio. Four years later (about a month ago), that radio died as well. I had the old radio tested--which, at some point, had some amplifier added to it--but they are unable to get any sound out of it. As I have an FM transmitter for my iPhone, I don't really need anything fancier than decent AM FM sound; I figure I have a few options and wanted to sound out some opinions...

1. Send the original radio to get out and have it rebuilt with new, modern innards. No idea where to get this done or what it costs.

2. Buy a new, old-looking radio. I've heard mixed reviews on CAS, and have seen something different from OPGI (Retro Sound?)

3. Keep the current, non-functioning radio where it is and get a working radio fitted elsewhere (trunk, under-dash), with a remote. No interest in doing that.

4. Find an original radio. Seems rather difficult, although I did see one on eBay for $375.

 

Suggestions/recommendations/experiences? Thanks in advance...

 

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Hi,

 

You already have the radio. Even if a radio bench tests that it is working, there is a good chance it will not work correctly when you get it in the car. I was given that advice and that with 50 year old radios to get it redone as it will save time and trouble. I had an original AM-FM that I had refurbished. He replaced all old parts that had dried up or quit working, did a more modern enhancement of the bass/treble, added a pig-tail so that I can play my MP3 player or I-Pod through it, thoroughly cleaned everything inside and out, touched up the dial selector and sold me a better rear speaker that fit correctly with the correct OEM style connector. This was all done for less than $350. I am very happy with it. Getting the innards replace with more modern components will be more costly. My thinking was that I like the stock look and for as often as I drive the car this was the way to go moneywise There are many reputable people out there that refurbish OEM radios. I can give you the contact information for my guy or I'm sure that many of the forum members have someone they can recommend, possibly in your area. Good luck.

 

Bill

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Bill--Thanks for the info. I think my first choice is to keep the original look--I just have no idea who would do what you describe. Sure--send me your guy's info; hopefully someone here has a contact in the metro Detroit area.

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This is the busy time of year so whomever you go with will probably have a back log. When I sent mine in it was 2 months. The guy that did mine was: Precision Stereo Repair, Robert Pacini, 315-797-5219, e-mail is oldstereo@hotmail.com. He is located in New York. He was recommended to my by a fellow ROA member. Give him a call and talk to him directly rather than e-mail. He is a very nice man and will explain everything in detail that he can do and prices. He will also send you info detailing what he does and shipping information.

 

Bill

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I did the Retro Sound stereo from OPGI, plus matching speakers. No complaints. It doesn't look as nice as the stock one, for sure.

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I was really tempted to upgrade the radio in my 63, just as I've upgraded things like the distributor, AC unit etc. Things that look original but improve performance. Also, I love music and was hot to make the sound in my Riv as good as possible. But I had a last minute change of heart. I bought a refurbished factory AM radio/speaker from another ROA member mentioned on this thread for a very fair price. I installed it. It's magical. The slight crackle and hiss of the AM technology, the funky programming and the elfin green light emitting from the old school radio are sublime. It's so delightfully 60's retro tech. Music has never been more accessible and we've become a little jaded. Before you get all thermo nuclear with your sound system, take a relaxed drive on a cool weekend summer night around 11 PM with the old school radio. Welcome to the 60's brother. Riv on. PRL
 

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Adam, I had my '63 AM radio redone by an old radio guy from Farmington Hills area of Detroit. He removed all the old stuff and replaced with modern solid state electronics, which also "upgraded" the AM to AM/FM, MP3 4-way stereo (front/back) and sub-woofer connectors. He also upgraded my speaker (the only one in the car) to have stereo in the stock location.

 

However, it is bone stock on the outside. All of the controls and push buttons work as before.

Someone could stare at it all day and not realize it was a fully modern radio. Still looks and functions the same as original.

 

You gotta see his train set in his basement. Awesome!

 

Here is his business card info:

Donald Mustunis

donstrain@comcast.net

48617 Declaration Dr.

Macomb, MI 48044

248-247-6280

 

 

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9 minutes ago, petelempert said:

I was really tempted to upgrade the radio in my 63, just as I've upgraded things like the distributor, AC unit etc. Things that look original but improve performance. Also, I love music and was hot to make the sound in my Riv as good as possible. But I had a last minute change of heart. I bought a refurbished factory AM radio/speaker from another ROA member mentioned on this thread for a very fair price. I installed it. It's magical. The slight crackle and hiss of the AM technology, the funky programming and the elfin green light emitting from the old school radio are sublime. It's so delightfully 60's retro tech. Music has never been more accessible and we've become a little jaded. Before you get all thermo nuclear with your sound system, take a relaxed drive on a cool weekend summer night around 11 PM with the old school radio. Welcome to the 60's brother. Riv on. PRL
 

 

Pete,

 

Glad to know the radio still works. Sounds as if I should have charged more.......! The transcendental experience you are describing alone was worth the asking price. What you have touched on brings back a lot of good memories. The only problem is I can't stay awake that late any more! Love the "elfin" green light. Those were good times to be a kid with a car.

 

BIll

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I went with the Custom Autosound in my 65 to replace the factory am/fm, and I love it. Just need to learn how to keep it from resetting my mp3 player back to the very beginning every time I shut the car off. Used their speakers front and rear as well, and couldn't be any more pleased.

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Hi,

Ed chimed in on a similar topic a few months back and gave a link to a company that will upgrade the original OEM Buick radio to AM/FM/MP3 and does phone as well. The company has a great YouTube promotion and shows you what it does, how it works etc. I think Ed said it does Cappachino but couldn't find that bit. Really worth a look before you decide, and they have an agent down under too!

It stopped me going out and spending on a unit that I would have to hide away and all the other stuff to fit.

just mtbw

Rodney

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Take a look at this conversion that's featured on the turnswitch.com web site.  They've posted this to YouTube.  It's long but worth watching.  I thought it was amazing.  Now to figure out how to put four speakers in my '64 that don't show to detract from originality.  Or, as you'll see in the video, it can be set up to use the original front and rear for a '64 or later using the original front and back speakers. 

 

 

 

 

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Another solution to not affect your cars originality is to cruise with this Bluetooth speaker. 10 hour play time.

Drop it in my back seat. No cables. Use my cell phone or iPod to transmit FM or MP3's. Its got great bass - better than the Bose portable.

http://www.nyne.com/product/nyne-bass/

 

I have black seats - don't even notice it sittin there. Love it.

 

g925BASSBLK-F.jpg

Edited by PWB (see edit history)

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It seemed like a Desoto Radio was impossible to find but Custom Autosound was able to build one that fit.  I got the USA-630 and am very happy with it.  However, it did take about four weeks to receive since it was on back order.

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On 6/10/2016 at 4:13 PM, Riviera63 said:

This is the busy time of year so whomever you go with will probably have a back log. When I sent mine in it was 2 months. The guy that did mine was: Precision Stereo Repair, Robert Pacini, 315-797-5219, e-mail is oldstereo@hotmail.com. He is located in New York. He was recommended to my by a fellow ROA member. Give him a call and talk to him directly rather than e-mail. He is a very nice man and will explain everything in detail that he can do and prices. He will also send you info detailing what he does and shipping information.

 

Bill

Bill, did you remove the dash to take the radio out? Thank you.

now that winter is over ☃️️, are you driving your Riv to meet in Kansas City?

Red Riviera Bob

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43 minutes ago, Red Riviera Bob said:

Bill, did you remove the dash to take the radio out? Thank you.

now that winter is over ☃️️, are you driving your Riv to meet in Kansas City?

Red Riviera Bob

 

Hi Bob,

 

No, you do not need to remove the dash. There is a good diagram and removal instructions in the chassis manual. If I remember correctly, besides what was in the removal instructions, I also removed the ash tray assembly and the center AC vent. This seemed to give me more room and better access.

 

I had planned on driving my Riv to KC for the meet and even had motel reservations. Unfortunately, life happens and I will not be able to attend. I am very disappointed as I had a great time at the 2 meets I had attended previously. Great times and great people. There is always next year.

 

Bill

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turnswitch.com 👍👍👍👍

 Gary is a great guy and is easy to talk to ,  did a fantastic job on my 65 radio !!!  

 

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You might also check out Gary Tayman at www.garytayman.com. He also puts modern components in classic car radio chassis's.

I called him and spoke to him about his process and he seems like a decent guy. I have not had any work done by him nor have I heard or seen any reviews about his work.

He offers a lot of options and prices for his work.

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