Smilers Stealthy Stereo Install!


One thing I didn't want to do to my car was destroy its period charm and feel by sticking a modern flashing silver stereo into the centre console. It would hardly complement the interior would it?! So I borrowed an idea from the air-cooled VW scene and fitted the modern (though in my case still 8 years old) head unit in the glove box. The original radio can then be left in the centre console to keep things looking as they should, nice and retro. Mine even still works, it turns off automatically when I turn the new one on via a relay that kills the power to it.

To make a neat job of this you need one of those under-dash mounting trays that used to be common place in motor factors though now of course are probably getting a bit rare. This is going to be mounted to the floor of the glovebox liner. This and the liner than need to be cut about a bit as shown in the photo's. The head unit has to be mounted towards the passenger door otherwise the back of the unit will foul the windscreen demist pipe work. It does make it a bit more awkward to reach but once your radio is tuned in or your C.D. is playing who cares? You'll be much too busy enjoying driving your 'tina anyway!

Here's the pic's.


First the tray is modified.


The mounting rail on the left side (as viewed from the front in it's new mounting position) has to be removed completely to allow it to be mounted as close the edge of the glove box liner as possible.


The extra portion shown cut away from the back is to clear the heater pipe work behind the dashboard.


The head units mounting cage can now be fitted.


Next a hole needs cutting out of the back of the glove box liner. This is to allow the unit to be sat back far enough for the glove box lid to close and for access for the wires and a bit of cooling air circulation to boot. You'll be able to judge where to make the hole when you slide the modified tray into position from the inside.


And there it is. The other funny shaped little hole is for the glove box light.


The tray in position.


Here you can see it protruding out of the back of the glove box. Make sure it is mounted far back enough in the liner to allow the glove box lid to close. The tray is slightly longer than the head unit so you will have enough clearance.


It is then retained in position by two self tapping screws (drill pilot holes first).


The whole lot is now ready to be refitted into the dashboard and the stereo fitted.


Fitted and waiting for the head unit.

Job Done.


Since I wrote this article technology has moved on and it is now possible to purchase head-units that contain a radio tuner, Aux input, SD Card slot and USB input but no C.D. player or tape casette player. As a result these units are very shallow and so sill fit within the glove box without any modification other than a hole for the cabling.