When The General introduced the C4 body style in 1984, a plethora of innovations was introduced along with it. From the Goodyear Gatorback tires to the "backbone" frame, the new Corvette was in a class all by itself. Among the list of highly touted accessories was the (then) state-of-the-art Delco-Bose stereo system. Each of the four speakers in the car featured its own amplifier, guaranteed to supply maximum "boom" for the buck. The stereo unit itself was an all-digital, AM/FM cassette that rivaled some of the high-end stereos of the time. However, factory car stereo systems have evolved by leaps and bounds since 1984, and the top-of-the-line status of the Delco-Bose system has slowly faded away.
Such was the case with my car, The Blubonic Plague. Although it may be weathered and worn, it's an original car, and isn't missing any components. The only modification to the original Delco-Bose system is that the original stereo unit was replaced with one from an '89 Corvette. Still, like many components in a 16-year-old car, time has taken its toll, and the ol' stereo wasn't sounding as good as it once did. Although the radio and cassette operated fine, the speakers, on the other hand, only operated depending on the volume. At moderate listening levels the right front and left rear speaker worked. Increasing the volume would bring in the right rear speaker, with all four coming in at maximum volume-and greatly distorted. My first reaction was to replace the speakers, but then I was introduced to Carl Sprague of Custom Autosound. Carl's company has been in business for quite a while and they specialize in unique stereo systems for classic as well as current vehicles. Carl suggested that the problem might be in the stereo unit itself.
Not being one to argue with the experts, I took him up on his suggestion and went for Custom Autosound's CVB-600. This beauty is an AM/FM/CD and cassette player "all-in-one-der," and fits in the factory location with no modifications. The installation is very straightforward. Just unbolt the factory radio and unplug the wire harness. The new radio uses the factory plugs, and a special converter to adapt to the amplified Bose speakers.
There is one small concern, however. In '84 models only, there was a running change in the wiring, and you'll need to count the speaker wires. If there's six speaker wires, then the converter won't be needed. If there are only five wires, the converter will be used. Other then that, the whole unit bolts right in. Once the installation was finished, I was astounded by the quality of sound! All four speakers sounded every bit as good as they probably did when the car was new, maybe even better. It seems like for the small amount of time invested, the stereo system shouldn't sound this good. I almost felt like I cheated somehow, but once I hit the freeway with the stereo blastin' my favorite tunes, I got over it-quickly.
Where's the stereo, man?While at Custom Autosound, Carl Sprague introduced me to a new system he's working on. It's a JVC unit that has some interesting features. As you can see (Photo 1), when the system's off, it closes up and resembles a block-off panel-as if the radio was deleted. To turn it on, push on the upper right corner, and a control panel appears (Photo 2). It looks kind of neat, but when the time comes to listen to a CD, the control panel disappears and the radio face moves down to reveal the CD player (Photo 3). This is one of the cleanest radio installations around, and hopefully it will be available from Custom Autosound very soon.
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