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Hidden Stereo Install

Tags: Tech, Hot Rod, Street

This article is a quick reminder that sometimes it’s worth the time you save to start with a good pattern.

I was looking for an out of the way place to install the stereo in our Street Rod. I’ve never been much for cutting a hole in the dash to accommodate the flavor of the month in mobile audio. Usually, I retain enough of the factory head unit to fill the hole in the dash and light up with the rest of the dash lights.

The glove box is a natural place to hide the radio and still keep it relatively accessible. Heck, in this day and age, it doesn’t even need to be accessible anymore. It just needs to pick up the Bluetooth signal from your phone and you’re rockin’ down the highway.

I could have measured and made a cardboard template to fabricate a sheet metal surrogate to hold my stereo. Then I remembered that we sold one. By the way of a reproduction glovebox insert.

I wanted my version to be shallower in order to allow enough room behind the stereo for the wiring to clear the firewall. I merely sectioned the cardboard version down until I arrived at the shape and size I wanted. Starting with a known quantity allows you to directly transfer the mounting holes, etc. from the original part to your fabricated part.

Left over race car tin (aluminum) makes a fantastic material to work with for these types of projects. It’s pre-finished and very easy to work. Even if you lack sophisticated sheet metal bending tools.
Speaking of that lack of sophisticated bending tools, this is what I used to get crisp folds started. After the shape was complete, I drilled and riveted the seams together and mounted the stereo in the dash. I found lots of other uses for the rest of that sheet as well. It makes a great material for speaker mounting. It’s less prone to buzzing than steel and easy to dampen.

The template, and the finished product.

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