Classic Car Radio Upgrades

Most British classic car radios of the 50s, 60s & 70s were made to receive Medium and Long waves (AM) only. Still fine today if you only ever want to listen to the Shipping Forecast, Test Match Special or Five Live. But if your tastes are more eclectic then you need a modern radio that receives FM and possibly DAB. There are very many modern car radios that do this but what if you want to keep the period correct radio for your classic car?

I can help you with this.

If you have an original radio for your classic car, RadioRescue can almost certainly upgrade it. I offer various levels of upgrade from a mono only FM conversion through to a full four speaker stereo conversion with DAB and Bluetooth options. The conversions can also include a correctly buffered input for an iPod or other external audio source*. As an authorised Aurora Design agent I only use their products which are superbly made and the very best on the market. I also have quite a large stock of unconverted radios which can be converted to your specification.

FMC-2 Mono FM Conversion

The Aurora Design FMC-2 module is a tiny addition to your radio which does not alter the original functions of the radio but adds FM reception and an iPod or other music source input.

When converted, the radio looks and works precisely as it originally did. MW and LW are still present exactly as they were. The controls and pushbuttons work as intended. But, click the radio off and on quickly and the radio switches to FM. You can then tune in the FM stations with the tuning knob. If your radio has presets you can set them as normal. Click it off and on again and the radio reverts to the AM bands. Normal operation of the On/Off switch simply switches the radio on to whatever station it was last receiving.

With the optional Aux input*, plug in your iPod and the radio switches automatically to the new input source. Unplug it and the radio will wait 20 seconds and then switch back to the last station it was on.

The module can be configured for either negative or positive ground radios.

Should you wish to return your radio to stock condition at any time, the FMC-2 module can easily be removed.

Price £195 (£162.50 + VAT) installed in your radio.

*Available at extra cost.

Aurora Design FMR2.8

FMR-2.8 Four Speaker Stereo Conversion

The FMR-2.8 is a full stereo FM radio which is small enough to fit inside most classic car radios. The unit also covers the Medium Wave AM band in mono sound.  Its highly advanced design can drive up to four speakers at 45 watts maximum output or two speakers at 75 watts maximum output. Unlike the FMC-2, this module does not use most of the original radio electronics but only utilises the tuning, volume and tone controls. The number of speakers connected is automatically detected and where appropriate, virtual balance and fader controls are created.

The outputs are all fully short circuit protected. Although available as negative ground only, the module has protection against accidental  battery connection reversal.

This is the one to go for if you want a stereo system or if the radio you have is incomplete or unrepairable.

The conversion is supplied with pre-wired connections ready to interface with your classic car’s harness. External connections are for four speakers, dial lamp and electric aerial if needed.

For DAB/DAB+ digital radio channel reception, an option board is available. This option does not need a separate aerial and greatly increases the functionality of the radio.

An optional* stereo iPod or other music source input is available with the standard conversion and operates in the same way as the FMC-2 (see above).

The radio speaks all control operations in plain English. No external units are needed; everything is contained within the radio.

This module is natively negative ground and requires a polarity converter such as the HPC-1 (see below) for use in a positive ground vehicle.

Post 1962 Transistor radios from £395.00 (£329.17 + VAT)

Pre 1962 Valve & Hybrid radios from £595.00 (£495.83 + VAT)

Signal seeking radios from £795.00 (£662.50 + VAT) .

All radios quoted individually.

DAB/DAB+ Option £185.00 (£154.17 + VAT)

*Available at extra cost.

Aurora Design BT-2.5

BT-2.6 Bluetooth/AAC Adapter

Imagine cruising down the road in your classic vehicle with your favorite music streaming from its original radio. A call comes in on your smart phone and the radio softly mutes as the call comes in over the radio. Sound impossible?

Not with the BT-2.6 from Aurora Design LLC! With the BT-2.6, any radio that has been converted with an FMR-2.8 can be brought up to today’s standards. Streaming music from your Bluetooth enabled AAC/MP3 player or smart phone, or taking hands-free calls, it’s all possible with the BT-2.6.

While anyone can buy a cheap off-the-shelf Bluetooth solution with its hanging cords and cigarette lighter adapters, Aurora Design offers a fully integrated solution with unrivaled features.

The BT-2.6 was designed from the ground up to fully integrate with the FMR-2.8 AM/FM receiver offering features and performance that can’t be matched in cheap off-the-shelf products. Fully integrated into the radio, there’s nothing for you to fumble with or cords you have to connect to use.

When a call comes in, the radio softly mutes and the call comes up. The LED on the FMR-2.8 will change colour to let you know you are in the Bluetooth mode. No wasting the radio’s Auxiliary input on a Bluetooth dongle. No fumbling for knobs or switches to select the Bluetooth input. No fumbling for little buttons on the adapter or touch screens. No switching back to the radio in the middle of a phone call if no one is talking for a few seconds, or when playing streaming audio if it goes quiet. The FMR-2.8 and the BT-2.6 talk to each other to keep in perfect harmony, just like a modern Bluetooth equipped car.

And now with the introduction of high quality AAC support, all your music will sound even better! No need for your phone to convert your music to low quality SBC, the BT-2.6 will playback AAC encoded music directly for the highest quality possible.

The groundbreaking new Voice Assist feature joins the Aurora Design innovated Voice Command feature. Just as the Voice Command feature lets you speak to your radio, the Voice Assist feature lets your radio speak to you to help you with basic radio operation. No having to remember confusing beep tones or complicated LED flash patterns and colours. The radio will announce “ready to pair” when you open Bluetooth pairing. It will then tell you “pairing completed” or “pairing not completed” so you’ll know exactly what’s going on.

The microphone on the BT-2.6 can be mounted internally to your radio, or externally for best audio quality. Even if your radio has an internal microphone, you can still plug an external microphone in at a later date to get even better quality! The BT-2.6 contains advanced echo cancellation and noise reduction algorithms for the best sound possible. The external microphone comes with a 3m cord so it can be place anywhere in the vehicle for the best performance. Notice on most modern cars with hands-free operation, the microphone is mounted on the headliner right above the windscreen. With the BT-2.6’s external microphone this can also be easily accomplished.

Controlling streaming audio playback is just as easy. Just as you would tune the radio to a different channel to hear different music, by simply tuning the radio up or down while streaming, the BT-2.6 will skip to the next/previous song. No little buttons or menus to fumble with, just use the same controls on your radio you normally use.

Designed to meet automotive OEM and SAE performance specifications, the BT-2.6 represents a no compromise design. All critical components are full automotive OEM grade parts, not lower cost, lower quality parts designed for aftermarket/consumer products. Every aspect of the design and operation of the BT-2.6, no matter how insignificant was scrutinized, resulting in a product that performs beyond the expectations of even the most demanding user.

Unlike many aftermarket Bluetooth products that are not certified or have been heavily modified, the BT-2.6 is based on a fully certified module. With certifications for FCC, IC, CE and the Bluetooth SIG, you are assured of the most robust, compatible product available.

Price from £195.00 (£162.50 + VAT) depending on radio model.

BTU-2.6 Bluetooth/USB Adapter

The BTU-2.6 offers similar functionality to the the BT-2.6 described above but with the enhancement of USB input and charging.  The main points of the specification are:

Ultra-compact, low power, surface mount design:

   – Easily installable in any radio, only 1.44” x 1.5” x 0.44”

• Fully certified Bluetooth sub-assembly:

  – Bluetooth 5.0 certified solution

  – Fully compatible with Bluetooth version 3.0/2.1+EDR, 1.2 and 1.1

  – Supports HFP v1.6, HSP v1.1, A2DP v1.2, AVRCP v1.5 profiles

  – Supports high quality AAC and standard Bluetooth SBC codecs

  – Certified for FCC, IC, CE and Bluetooth SIG

• Automatically reconnects to any of the last 4 connected devices

• Up to 8 devices can be paired with the BTU-2.6

Voice Command feature when paired with compatible Bluetooth devices

Voice Assist feature in all operating modes

  – Speaks in high quality English

• Standard USB 2.0 port:

  – Supports all USB charging modes; SDP, CDP and DCP as outlined in BC1.2

  – Provides a full 2A charging current

  – Supports proprietary charging modes like Apple® 1A/2A and BlackBerry®

  – Charging continues even if radio is turned off

  – Supports high quality AAC, MP3 and Ogg Vorbis codecs

  – Backward compatible to USB 1.0, 1.1

  – Handles up to 2000 folders and 65,535 files

  – USB A connector can be extended using standard USB extension cables

• Extremely high efficiency power supply:

  – Uses only 50% more power while supplying 400% more charging than BTU-1

  – Tightly coupled design eliminates AM radio interference on FMR-2.8

• USB file compatibility:

  – Handles .aac/.m4a files up to 48kHz and 320kb/s

  – Handles .mp3 files up to 48kHz and 320kb/s

  – Handles .ogg files up to 48kHz and 320kb/s

  – Handles .flac files up to 48kHz and 1000kb/s

  – File types can be freely intermix on USB drive

• Microprocessor controlled:

   – Smart algorithms detect and adjust parameters over 4000 times per second

• Automatically continues on last song when turned on

• Fully integrated with FMR-2.8AM/FM receiver:

   – Control pairing, Voice Command, play/pause, next/previous, call accept/reject

       and muting using only the existing controls on the radio

   – Included front panel RGB status LED

• Optional pushbutton for use in non-FMR-2.8 installations:

   – Pairing, Voice Command, next/previous, play/pause, call accept/reject and mute

   – Illuminated pushbutton gives user feedback to operational status

• Microphone can be mounted internally or externally for best sound quality

  – Clip-on microphone with 3M (9.8’) cable

  – Can be placed anywhere in vehicle for best sound, lowest noise

Price from £295.00 (£245.83+ VAT) depending on radio model.

iTunes® is a trademark of Apple Inc.

AAC used under license from VIA Licensing

All other trademarks are those of their respective owners.

Aurora Design Aux-1

AUX-1 Auxiliary Input Controller

If you simply want to be able to use your mobile or iPod as an input to your radio, the AUX-1 is an elegant solution. Far better than the cheap conversions where the radio still plays in the background, this upgrade is a properly engineered electronic switch that results in pure clear sound from your radio’s speaker.

The AUX-1 is a microprocessor powered Auxiliary Input controller that simplifies adding an audio input to original radios. It has three triggers that can be used independently or in any combination to switch the radio over from normal operation to the auxiliary input. The three triggers are a VOX, power cycling and a switch input. The VOX circuitry and algorithms are based on the superior VOX implementation of the FMR-2 radios. It is extremely sensitive and extremely good at rejecting noise. This results in no switching back to the radio during quiet audio passages.

The audio output level from the AUX-1 is very high to match the levels of early valve radios. Whereas directly connecting an MP3 player to the audio amplifier on some valve radios results in low volume and poor performance, the digitally controlled amplifier on the AUX-1 easily matches the levels of any radio.

Full protection against reverse battery and over power, the AUX-1 is nearly indestructible. Through clever design, the AUX-1 is compatible with 6V/12V positive/negative ground radios resulting in only one board being required for all installations.

This conversion is mono only.

Price £95.00 (£79.17 + VAT) installed

HPC-1 Polarity & Power Converter

This module is needed if you want to use a radio converted with the FMR-2.7 stereo FM module in a positive ground or 6 volt vehicle.

The HPC-1 offers a new level of performance in 6V vehicles. Until now, owners of vehicles with original 6/12V positive ground and 6V negative ground systems were extremely limited with their converted radios due to the anemic output of available power converters. With the HPC-1, owners can now fully drive two 4 ohm speakers, or four speakers at reduced power.

The HPC-1’s highly efficient synchronous design ensures low power dissipation while providing maximum output to the radio. The HPC-1 can provide up to 56W output power from a 6V positive ground system and 90W output power from a 6V negative ground system with the engine at fast idle.

Fully filtered on all connections, and through the use of proprietary EMI reduction circuitry, the HPC-1 provides an extremely clean output without the need for large, power robbing external filters.

The HPC-1 features full reverse battery and transient protection. A low voltage lockout circuit ensures the converter always operates properly. No more blown fuses or damaged converters due to a weak battery!  Due to the clever design of the HPC-1, only a single board is required for all installations reducing inventory. Its extremely small size and low EMI output allow it to be mounted directly inside the converted radio simplifying installation and operation.

Price £125.00 (£104.17 + VAT) installed

Payment by bank transfer preferred