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In 1998 I bought a Triumph Herald 13/60, here you can read about it's restoration and share in a few photo's from it's travels. Please feel free to leave comments to any of the posts, of even email me if you want to.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Centre Console, Radio and Aerial

In 14 years of owning my Herald I've never had a stereo in the car, even when I had the car restored a few years back I had the aerial hole welded up as I still didn't want one.

For whatever reason I decided last year that it would be nice to have a radio and something that could play MP3's from a SD Card. I didn't want anything fancy as the road noise from a Herald is fairly pronounced and would therefore counteract the benefits of an expensive unit.

Christmas came and Santa brought me a 'Beat' CD-Less Radio/MP3 unit and a pair of Pioneer Speakers, total cost well under £70.00.

I needed a console of some description to fit the stereo, but didn't really want one of the stainless steel jobbies that are on Ebay, plus I wanted somewhere to fit a Hazard Switch and a 12v Outlet and then have space for 2 further switches for the heated seats which are planned for the future. I decided to use materials that I already had, so its component parts would be sheet steel, carpet & vinyl off-cuts.

The fact the stereo doesn't have a CD player means it's not as deep as most units, so clearance at the back was not an issue. The design process was quite fluid (read as: wasn't sure what to do, so just done the first thing I thought of). So a basic shape was formed, with sides and top strengthener welded in, the overhang at the top slots nicely into existing dash.

Rear view of console shell

Once the shape was formed, a thin spread of filler was added just to smooth out the edges where it had been welded together.

Front view of console shell

Then with my various off-cuts I used contact adhesive to stick black vinyl to the front and carpet to the sides. Finished off with a chrome strip pushed over the edge of the carpet and riveted on to keep secure.

Covered and ready to fit

The top overhang slotted in between the dash surround and was secured with a couple of self-tappers, a brace was fitted from the back of the console to the body of the car to add rigidity. It wont win any design awards, but doesn't look too bad now it's in. 

Console and radio fitted

I didn't want to cut hole in my door panels, so the 2 front speakers fitted nicely in the millboard down in the footwells. 2 rear speakers will likely follow at some point to give a fuller sound.

Speakers fitted in footwell

Another reason I'd resisted fitting a stereo was I've never liked the look of an aerial on a Herald, so I wanted something that was more discreet. After considering a number of options I kept coming back to the windscreen mounted items, but many looked cheap and reviews were mixed at best.

After another evening searching Ebay for inspiration I came across a Blaupunkt Autofun aerial, reviews were all positive, but it was on the expensive side compared to similar options, but it was a good make and German, so it had to be worth the money....

The main unit can be mounted either in the top centre or a top corner using a self adhesive pad provided, you then stick 2 thin wires from it, cutting to length as required. I went for a central position behind the rear view mirror. There's a short earth wire and a longer 12v and aerial cable that is long enough to tuck behind the windscreen rubber and reach the back of the stereo. Connect the 12v supply and the aerial and away you go.

Aerial

Pros:
  • Excellent reception
  • Good length cable
  • Discreet fitting of main unit
  • Easy to fit (once you've made sense of the instructions)
Cons:
  • The thin aerial extensions are a bit ugly
  • Rubbish instructions
  • Not the cheapest at around £35.00

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