Wayne Cook
August 1, 2000

Step By Step

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Shown here is the new USA 6 unit designed to fit your vintage Mustang dash perfectly. Although the unit is fairly wide, the faceplate is sized to fit the stock opening in your car. This AM/FM receiver also controls the CD player and has 100 watts of amplification power. Beneath the unit is a strap to support the rear of the case so the unit doesn’t dangle just from the control-knob shafts. New control knobs are seen still in their plastic wrap.
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This photo shows the Custom Autosound CD 60 player with the CD magazine directly beneath it. Also shown are the CD-player mounting brackets and connecting cable to link the player with the USA 6 inside the car.
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These are the new speaker kick panels supplied by Custom Autosound. They work in your coupe, convertible, or fastback and look good when installed. They’re unobtrusive and sound terrific. Those of you with Pony interiors will have to forgo the carpeting found on your stock lower kick panels.
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This 4x10-inch speaker has dual-voice coils to handle both channels of a stereo setup. It’s sized to be a drop-in replacement for your OEM speaker.
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Shown here is the Bass Ported Soundbar that’s made for use in ’65-’69 fastbacks only. It’s a slick setup, and we’ll show you how it works shortly. For our installation, we’ve decided to go with the dual-voice–coil dash speaker and the speaker kick panels.
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The installation begins by removing the ashtray and track to improve access. Our knee-knocker air-conditioning unit will have to be lowered to allow access to the radio.
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We’ve removed the glovebox door to get it out of the way, but this step is not mandatory. We removed the knobs and retaining nuts from the stock radio and it’s now behind the dashboard. We’ve discovered that we can’t get the radio out without moving the AC unit even farther away from the firewall. Be careful moving this unit around because if you break the seal on any of the hose connections, you’ll be looking at an expensive AC recharge job.
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In this photo, the old unit comes out from behind the dash. This fastback has a white interior and we have to be extra careful not to scratch the paint.
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Now is the time to remove the speaker grating from the top of the dashboard. You’ll need a very short or right-angle Phillips screwdriver to access the two front screws because of the steep slope of the windshield.
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This is the back of our dual-voice–coil 4x10-inch speaker. Notice how it has four connection points instead of just two. The speaker comes furnished with the wire leads already in place, complete with the correct plugs. These plugs are set up so that the connections cannot be made backwards. Because of this, correct speaker phasing is ensured.
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Here the new speaker goes into place. Lower the wire leads down, making sure they clear the windshield-wiper–motor bellcrank and pushrods. We tested the operation of the wipers to be sure these wires wouldn’t become tangled in the windshield-wiper mechanism.
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This view shows the backside of the new USA 6 unit. The plug port between the two heat sinks is for the CD-player connection cable. To the left are the speaker leads, power, ground, memory, and dimmer control wires. To the right is the cable for connection to the stock antenna.
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We have the air-conditioning unit pulled out as far as we dare, and now the USA 6 goes into place. Before we put the unit up into position behind the dash, we made our speaker connections with the dual-voice–coil speaker. This was easier to accomplish because we could see what we were doing with the radio loose. We used the supplied metal strap to suspend the rear of the unit so that it wouldn’t be supported solely by the volume and station control shaft housings.
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Now that the USA 6 is in place, we’ve returned our air conditioning to the original location. Here, we attached the control knobs to the unit, and our USA 6 installation is complete.
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Our interior is a beautiful combination of parchment and red, so the black speaker kick panels wouldn’t look right. We began the painting process by lightly sanding the panels to ensure good paint adhesion.
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With the speakers masked off, we painted our kick panels Testors dark red to match our red carpeting and dashpad. When the paint dried, the speaker gratings were placed back into position.
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We have two reasons to remove our sill moldings. One is that the kick panels won’t come out with the sills in place and, second, we’ll need to route our CD-changer control cable underneath one.
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With the sill moldings removed, our stock panels come out of the car. Our Pony interior panels are parchment in color with red carpeting trim on the bottom half.
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Here’s how the speaker kick panels go into place. They’re an exact copy of the original in terms of size, so they slide right in. Be sure to leave the attached speaker leads in a situation where you can reach them when it’s time to make your wire connections.
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It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with how the CD-player cable attaches to the back of the USA 6 unit so that you can make the connection blind. We’ve made this connection, and routed our control cable behind the carpeting to the channel running underneath the sill plate. Here, we carefully lay the cable into the desired position. You may wish to secure the cable with tape so screws won’t damage it when the sill plate is reinstalled.
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On our fastback, this trim molding has to come out to allow the cable to be routed to the trunk.
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Now the trim panel with the vent control is removed from the car. Remove the screws from the front of the main panel (with the courtesy light) and you’ll be able to route your CD-player control cable clear through to the trunk. Open the trunk and you’ll see daylight to guide you.
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The supplied brackets attach to the player in a number of ways, but we want our attachment to be made so the unit will hang from the ceiling of the trunk. Attach one bracket as shown, and hook the bracket on the structural gusset just ahead of the trunk lid. There are several gussets that run parallel to the centerline of the car.
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Holding the player in position, attach the second bracket to the other end of the unit. On a fastback, the distance between the factory bracing is just right to hold the player in place, and it will hang there securely without the need to drill holes and employ fasteners. On coupes or convertibles the situation is different, and you may decide to mount your player on the floor of the trunk using the supplied hardware. Here, we see the CD 60 unit hanging from the ceiling of our trunk ready to go. Connect the control cable at this time.
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This photo shows the completed installation of the USA 6 unit in the Mustang dashboard. Notice how the dial indicator shows the AM band selection when the unit is off. This makes the casual onlooker think your car has an AM radio. When the unit is on, there is a digital display to show your selection. This installation was relatively easy, and it sounds terrific. All instructions and connections are crystal clear to prevent incorrect installation. The toughest part of the whole job is not scratching the interior paint.

One of the big drawbacks in driving a vintage car is that most came with marginal sound systems or radios. Even if your vintage Mustang came with that rare FM option, it still sounded like it was coming from the bottom of a barrel.

The age of many of our cars predates the advent of stereo, and sound systems were referred to as “high fidelity” or hi-fi. The single monaural speaker up in the dash didn’t sound that good even when it was new, and it’s a sure bet that you can barely hear it at freeway speeds.

Once you’ve made the decision to do something about the lousy sound in your vintage Mustang, you’ll soon discover the opening in the instrument panel is too small to accommodate any of the generic aftermarket stereo systems out there. Unless you want to butcher the opening in your car to make something fit, you’re stuck with putting a new unit into the glovebox or under the seat. Needless to say, neither of these solutions is optimal.

The answer to this problem is a state-of-the-art system that will fit your car without modifications. Such a system is now available from Custom Autosound. The company’s new equipment will fit correctly, look terrific, and sound even better.

We called the factory, and asked to be shown the latest and best of what’s available for a ’65 Mustang. For our story, that was the new USA 6 unit, made to fit your vintage Mustang dashboard perfectly. The Custom Autosound USA series is the winner of the Consumer Electronics Association award for quality engineering, and the USA 6 offers both AM and FM reception and complete CD changer control as well. At 100 watts, the new USA 6 unit has plenty of power to drive your speakers and make them heard at any vehicle speed. The USA 6 has five station preset buttons that work for three FM groupings and two AM. What this means is that you can have separate station settings for three different cities for FM, and two for AM. If you live in San Diego but visit Los Angeles a lot, just switch from FM 1 to FM 2. Your FM 3 settings might be set for your weekend Las Vegas trips. There are a variety of control functions related to the CD-player operation including disc select, track select, repeat, introduction, and shuffle. For those of you wanting even more power, plugs for a booster amp are already in place.

The stock opening in your ’65 Mustang dash is too small to accommodate a compact disc, but the USA 6 unit will control a Custom Autosound six-disc changer that can be mounted to your car in a remote location such as the trunk. To illustrate this point, the company supplied a brand new CD 60 compact disc player, which mounts easily in your trunk and holds six compact discs in an easy-to-load magazine. The CD 60 is controlled with ease by the USA 6 unit in the dash. Control functions are straightforward and easy to manage while driving the car.

With the special speakers available from Custom Autosound, there’s no need to cut holes in your doors or trim panels. They also offer high-quality speakers to mount in your vintage Mustang in a variety of locations without the need for any cutting. We were supplied with new speaker kick panels that feature 6½-inch two-way speakers with 80-watt capacity.

These panels fit your car in the same manner as your stock kick panels and can be painted to match your interior color. A new dual-voice coil 4x10-inch speaker was furnished to replace the deteriorated stock unit up in the dashboard directly beneath the windshield. Able to handle 120 watts, this dual-voice–coil speaker takes both channels from your stereo input to give great sound from the stock location.

For ’65-’69 fastback Mustangs, a Bass Ported Soundbar is available. This item is designed to be mounted horizontally on your fastback rear flip-up cargo door. It has two 5-inch speakers and two tweeters. It’s able to handle 75 watts.

Simply put, Custom Autosound can outfit your vintage Mustang or other special-interest Ford to sound as good or better than the sound systems available in many brand new cars. The installation is something the average mechanically inclined person can do in a weekend, and the end result looks as if it were a factory-installed setup.