I have a '66 coupe. The radio is aftermarket and the antenna is on the wrong side. I was told the car was a radio-delete car, and someone installed the radio and antenna. Is there any way to research the car and confirm the radio-delete issue? I would like to delete the radio, or purchase the correct one and move the antenna or delete it also. Any info would be appreciated.
Dave Eastwood, Via e-mail
You don't have a buildsheet on the tank of your '66, but you can do a little sleuthing and possibly pick up some clues as to whether or not your car was a factory radio-delete car. If a previous owner added the radio and antenna like you stated, it's not likely that he added all the components the factory would have on a U69 radio car, especially if he didn't adhere to strict factory standards inasmuch as installing an aftermarket radio and mounting the antenna on the wrong side. If your car was originally a radio-delete car, there would be no power antenna switch mounted to the left console cover by the side of the radio.
Do a quick check under the hood. All Corvette engines used the zinc-plated spark plug boot heat shields, but only radio-equipped cars had ignition shielding with the lower J-shaped shields along the sides of the block, horizontal spark plug shields, and a distributor cover with vertical shields at each side. Are there capacitors mounted to the coil, voltage regulator, and blower motor? These were only used on radio-equipped cars. Capacitors were also plugged into wiring under the dash if your car came with a radio, at the brake light switch, turn signal flasher, ammeter plug, and the common brown accessory wire via a loose connector near the ignition switch.
Look above the left muffler (if it's an under-car exhaust system) for a repaired hole in the upper quarter-panel where the original antenna might have originally been located. With a light and a scotch brite pad, you should be able to do a thorough inspection of the bare fiberglass. Look for a power antenna mounting bracket mounted to the splash shield (a vertical fiberglass panel bonded to the quarter-panel just behind the rear wheel) with a two-hole nut plate on the wheel side of it. These would only be present on a radio car. A ground strap-a long, thin strip of copper-passes over the number four body mount bracket near the antenna mount and screws to the frame with a bolt and star washer, if it's a radio car. Woven-copper ground straps would be located at the accelerator lever, connecting it to the rear intake manifold bolt that mounts the spark plug wire support, the right-hand motor mount, the birdcage to the frame at the left No. 1 body mount, and the exhaust clamps to the frame crossmember (for under car exhaust systems). If all these things are in place, it's likely you have an original U69 radio-equipped Corvette. Either that or a previous owner did a superior job with nine-tenths of the installation, and then screwed up the antenna install.
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