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Technical Turn on, Tune in, Drop out (of sight)

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Bandit Billy, Dec 18, 2017.

  1. Bandit Billy
    Joined: Sep 16, 2014
    Posts: 4,220

    Bandit Billy

    In my continuing effort to hide my technology in my cars I came up with an idea to incorporate some tunes without distracting from what I am planning on being a very cool interior in my roadster.

    I didn’t want a visible head unit, no CD players, no door speakers. I thought about a portable Bluetooth speaker but I don’t want it ripped off at a car show or give a crack head a reason to slit my convertible top to take a speaker off the seat. Same thing for a suitcase filled with amps and speakers. So a few drinks later I came up with the following idea. I have been building it for a while and thought I’d wait for this year’s tech week to share it with you but got tired of waiting.

    Real estate is very scarce in my 34 roadster and I am already running my under dash heater from tech week a couple years ago. I did have a spot left over in the middle of the firewall under the new cowl vent though.

    Taking my lead from a vintage ford speaker ...

    that would have been a common sight in an old car, I created a cardboard template that would echo the shape of my Speed 33 firewall.


    Second, make it out of steel.

    Third, weld two studs to the firewall to secure the box without having to have bolts through my perfect firewall. You can skip this step if you have already painted your firewall.

    Next, weld four smaller studs to the inside of the lid to secure speaker. If you look at the ford speaker box, it has screws though the grille and I thought it could be built better…so I did. The 4 studs are visible in the next picture.

    Make a wood panel to attach speaker to. This panel will also set the speaker back from the grill as the dual voice coil speaker protrudes in the center where the tweeters are, plus you will attach the speaker cloth to the board as well.


    Ford script speaker cloth is readily available in the aftermarket. I considered something flashier like a juke box would have used but I went for a stock look. Note the speaker panel is notched in the center and all four corners, that is in order to clear the mounting hardware (nut zerts) on the box.

    The speaker is from Retro Sound. I have used this speaker before, sounds nice and it is stereo. Not expensive. If you look close you can see the left and right speaker inputs on the back.

    Next, prepare the box. You will need to drill for the amp, add a bracket for the Bluetooth receiver and I also added a volume knob to fine tune the volume rather than relying on my iphone.

    Next step, off to the powder coater. Russ Meeks at Finishline in Milwaukie, who appreciates my creativity, finished the box in a semi flat black wrinkle coat for a factory fresh appearance.

    Speaker bolts in a seconds using nylon locking hardware to make sure they don’t shake loose while 'Zeppin out to the oldies.

    These are license plate lights that I am using for floor courtesy lighting. I added them to the top of the speaker box. Note they have two poles so the ground will toggle on the jamb switches.


    In this view you can also see the air vent holes drilled in the box. Note to self, louvers would have been cool too. You can also see the 4 holes that will mount the amp and the two larger holes where the mounting studs on the firewall will pass through.


    I welded a bracket on the side to hold the volume knob. It is labeled as “V” below


    Here are all of the components needed to Bluetooth the speaker box; the amp labeled as “A” (a motorcycle item, 50 watts, 2 channels), the Bluetooth receiver labeled as “B” and the volume knob “V” all mounted in the case with my courtesy lights up top. I will add sound proofing mat.

    Here is the box mounted to the firewall, you can see I used wing nuts for now but might use nylon insert nuts here as well in the final assembly. Not easy to steal which is what I was after since it is a roadster and I don’t put the top up often on my cars.


    The lid is installed starting with the bottom edge and then over the top. Secured with small Allen head bolts into nut zerts added to the box during assembly.

    More venting holes on the bottom, electronics hate heat.


    Top view of the box shows the wiring grommets that will protect the light wiring as well as the speaker ground and power.

    Installed, plenty of room above the tunnel for carpet and it leaves room for the heater box to the right. No theft worries as you must remove the lid to access the mounting

    You can see my limited amount of real estate. The speaker squeezes between my gas pedal and the heater that goes on the other side of the dash. It was a lot of fabrication and took a bit of time and creativity but hey, if was easy, everyone would do it!

    Don't want a speaker box? You can hide this easily inside an old heater box too!

    Tech from the imagine of BanditBilly for my buddies on the HAMB.

    Attached Files:

    Mr T body, Stogy, brEad and 36 others like this.
  2. For those about to rock, we salute you.

    Sent from my iPhone using H.A.M.B.
    Stogy, scotty t, billsat and 9 others like this.
  3. Very nice,I like the wrinkle finish also. HRP
    mad mikey and Bandit Billy like this.
  4. Nice fab,got enough volume to hear over that awesome flatty?
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  5. Bandit Billy
    Joined: Sep 16, 2014
    Posts: 4,220

    Bandit Billy

    LMAO! That is yet to be seen (and heard).
    It looks original from a distance, and that was the idea.

    I listen to it in the garage occasionally and it is pretty loud, could use a bit more bass, probably should have added a graphic EQ inside the box instead of the bike amp. Then you could preset the dynamics.
  6. 2935ford
    Joined: Jan 6, 2006
    Posts: 2,866


    Does the talent around here ever end?

    Very nice work and a GREAT idea!

    Now ya got me thinkin! :)
  7. Deuces
    Joined: Nov 3, 2009
    Posts: 15,522

    from Michigan

    Does that thing play any Moody Blues or Iron Butterfly?????...;)
  8. Bandit Billy
    Joined: Sep 16, 2014
    Posts: 4,220

    Bandit Billy

    Not yet but it will! I use it for Pandora and my playlists on my iphone but skies the limit with Bluetooth audio.
    Glad to see so many of you dig this, you never know how things will go over around these parts.
  9. Jalopy Joker
    Joined: Sep 3, 2006
    Posts: 20,602

    Jalopy Joker

    very Cool , great tech too
  10. alchemy
    Joined: Sep 27, 2002
    Posts: 12,601


    That's exactly like I woulda done it. ;)

    Except I wouldn't have been embarrassed to have the volume knob right on the front. Lots of cool knobs out there that would fit the style. Maybe you can adjust the knob with your toe now.
    Bandit Billy and flatheadpete like this.
  11. upspirate
    Joined: Apr 15, 2012
    Posts: 1,742


  12. flatheadpete
    Joined: Oct 29, 2003
    Posts: 9,202

    from Burton, MI

    Pretty slick!! One thing I would change though...I'd move the volume knob to the front. I'd be afraid of hitting it while smashing the gas and possibly breaking it off. Cool idea though. Might try something like this in my Shoebox Ford.
    Bandit Billy likes this.
  13. Bandit Billy
    Joined: Sep 16, 2014
    Posts: 4,220

    Bandit Billy

    It ain't on the front, it is low on the drivers side of the box. You are right though, there are better knobs.
  14. Bandit Billy
    Joined: Sep 16, 2014
    Posts: 4,220

    Bandit Billy

    Truthfully, it doesn't need a volume knob at all, your iphone volume works just fine. I just thought an override on the box would be nice for a fast volume adjustment, like to talk to a cop or the first refrains from Sweet Home Alabama (turn it up!).
  15. donno
    Joined: Feb 28, 2015
    Posts: 300


    Very nice!!
    Bandit Billy likes this.
  16. 49ratfink
    Joined: Feb 8, 2004
    Posts: 16,856

    from California

    I heard all the cool guys do not have music in their HOT RODS.
  17. Deuces
    Joined: Nov 3, 2009
    Posts: 15,522

    from Michigan

    Sweet Home Alabama....
    Another GREAT song!!!!!
    Krank that mother up!!!!!:D:D:D
    lothiandon1940 and Bandit Billy like this.
  18. That's slicker than dog snot Billy!
    juan motime and Bandit Billy like this.
  19. Bandit Billy
    Joined: Sep 16, 2014
    Posts: 4,220

    Bandit Billy

    Thanks man!
  20. Yes, that is very creative. I could probably do it but I'm not very smart nor am I that handy with tools. Other than that, I'd be a winner, too.
  21. tb33anda3rd
    Joined: Oct 8, 2010
    Posts: 13,863

    1. Connecticut HAMB'ers

    my vote for best tech week project, december 2017!
  22. belair
    Joined: Jul 10, 2006
    Posts: 7,598

    1. H.A.M.B. Chapel

    Very, very nice and well written. But I have a Chevy, not a Ford.
  23. Bad Eye Bill
    Joined: Sep 1, 2010
    Posts: 841

    Bad Eye Bill
    from NB Canada

    That's a fine piece of work.
    Bandit Billy likes this.
  24. Bandit Billy
    Joined: Sep 16, 2014
    Posts: 4,220

    Bandit Billy

    Nobody is perfect! :cool:
  25. DDDenny
    Joined: Feb 6, 2015
    Posts: 10,170

    from oregon

    You better hope the needle doesn't get stuck on Free Bird!:eek:
    mad mikey likes this.
  26. J. A. Miller
    Joined: Dec 30, 2010
    Posts: 1,018

    J. A. Miller
    from Central NY

    Really nice Billy! I didn't know they had wrinkle powdercoat.
    lothiandon1940 likes this.
  27. Bandit Billy
    Joined: Sep 16, 2014
    Posts: 4,220

    Bandit Billy

    Russ Meeks is a genius. I explained the project and dropped it off when I had my exhaust system ceramic coated. he said, "oh yeah, I got this" and boy did he ever!

    I love that song. You know that guy in the back of the room that always yells "PLAY FREE BIRD!" ? I'm that guy.
  28. The 39 guy
    Joined: Nov 5, 2010
    Posts: 2,491

    The 39 guy

    Great idea,plan and execution!
    Bandit Billy likes this.
  29. Never2low
    Joined: Jan 14, 2008
    Posts: 1,053


    That turned out nice!

    I'm planning to do the heater case route (if I can't squeeze enough room from under the dash) in my coupe.

    Here's another option for a micro amp, with a decent amount of power, that has the Bluetooth module built in.

    You can run a pair of interior speakers off the front channels, and bridge the back channels to run a small subwoofer. (if that's your thing)
    Bandit Billy likes this.
  30. gnichols
    Joined: Mar 6, 2008
    Posts: 10,249

    from Tampa, FL

    Ya did good. I like it! Gary
    Bandit Billy likes this.

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