Top 5 Constraints

I am still not entirely sure what I will be doing for my final project. One idea I had was to make a radio for my car. The car in need of a radio is a 1970 Chevrolet. It was missing lots of interior parts when I bought it; carpet, seats, the parking brake, and the radio. To have something to listen to for now I installed an amp under the dashboard and plug an iPod directly into it. While this provided quick satisfaction, it does not permenently solve the radio issue. There are multiple possible solutions. I could find an original vintage Chevrolet radio somewhere, which would look great in the vintage SS dashboard. But these radios are 1. hard to find, 2. likely don’t work anymore, 3. if I were to find one that does work it would not exactly be “feature rich”: likely just AM radio… if I’m lucky I would find one with FM and an 8 track player. The other option I have is to put in an aftermarket unit. This would have good quality AM/FM radio and heaps of nice features like a 3.5mm jack, a CD player, or even bluetooth. This option has two big downsides. I would have to modify the car’s dashboard for such a unit to fit, which would be blasphemous to do to an authentic Chevelle SS dash. I also simply HATE aftermarket radios. They’ve got fake plastic shiny chrome and flashy LED lights and look like they belong in the Starship Enterprise, not your P.O.S. 2001 Honda Civic. Another option on the market is a modern radio built to fit into a classic car. I am avoiding this option, too, though. They are not priced cheap, but they are built cheap (reliability issues). There is a fourth option, though. A less travelled path in the car radio world. I am going to build my own radio unit. I can make it look however I would like and give it whatever features I would like.

The biggest constraints that I foresee:

  1. While I have gotten my feet wet in the topic, I have not taken on such a complex electronics project before. There are many different components, most of which I have not used before.
  2. These various components must fit in a relatively small package. I would like my unit to be similar in size to a regular 1 DIN car radio unit. It must also fit in the unique dashboard cutout. In 1970 there were not universal car head unit dimensions. There were even variances between different models built by the same manufacture in the same year.
  3. All interface parts I select must fit with the aesthetic. I want all displays, buttons, and knobs to look like they could have been in the car when it was new 50 years ago. I am not necessarily intending it to look like a factory original piece, but I want it to look like it fits in.
  4. This is a bigger project than my upcycling project. It will take much more time and will involve buying more parts. It will be hard to find the time to do this. I was going to build this radio anyways, but perhaps the benefit of doing it for the final project in this class is that it gives me a hard deadline to have it done by.
  5. Manufacturing and finishing the “faceplate” piece will affect the final look of the device heavily. I am not sure about how to do this and how to make it look good.

The interior has been much improved since the featured image. It is just the first picture I found that shows the dashboard.

In an automatic carwash… the windshield and back window seals leak in water so carwashes aren’t very fun.

car, Chevelle, El Camino, head unit
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