[urq] RE: Mid 80's, period correct radios: which one ?

Steve Eiche seiche at shadetreesoftware.com
Wed Jul 27 15:40:47 EDT 2005

FWIW, I put myself through college working in car stereo/alarm/phone 
installation shop in the mid-late '80s.  That gave me first hand 
experience with just about every radio available at the time.  (It also 
started my lust for the Audi quattros when I installed a complex system 
in a new '88 5ktq.) 

I really don't know why anyone would want a Nakamichi TD 1200 anymore, 
unless you love cassette tapes.  Those were known as the "Dragon for 
your car" with automatic tape azimuth adjustment, like the Nakamichi 
home stuff, but they weren't terribly reliable, and the RF section 
wasn't remarkable. 

Personally, my favorite at the time was the Alpine 7374.  It was all 
digital (probably the first), including volume, balance, fader, etc. 
with the classic Alpine clear square buttons that changed colors when 
you pressed them.  The controls were simple, the tape section was 
excellent, and included Dolby B, C and dbx, along with tape seek 
functions that worked very well.  I found one of these a few years ago 
(my second - I regretted selling my first one) and still have it for 
some reason.  I really can't see installing it, but it is a classic.   I 
also like the Sony XR 73/74/7500 series headunits, which have good 
features, reliability and a style and lighting color that match '80's 
Audis.  These also control the same CD changers used by Audi on the '91 
200qs and early ur S cars.

As for the OE radios in the '83 ur quattros, they were made by Panasonic 
and were pretty poor quality.  The switches failed like mad (I bought a 
bag of 20 of them to replace them as they failed in my Scirocco, and 
between my radio(s) and radios that people brought to me, they went 
quickly.), the tape section was prone to jamming and they were low 
powered.  I had a couple about ten years ago, but threw them away.  
Probably should have kept them.

As for a good period OE radio, the Rothenburg from the '84+  cars were 
pretty good and should still be plentiful in salvage yards. 

I do think that the modern aftermarket ICE (in car entertainment) 
systems have taken a few steps back since about 1990.  The audio quality 
is no better, and in many cases worse than what was available then, with 
more emphasis placed on animated displays than sound quality.  The new 
amplifiers put output power over accuracy and the speakers seem to 
emphasize styling over performance as well.  As for the new controls, 
yuck.  Oh well, rant off.


>>I found the "perfect" period correct, urQuattro radio, according to

>>Payne: http://www.isham-research.co.uk/quattro/wiring/Typ85/mcc994.html
>>Now, finding a working unit in North America might be difficult...  :-) 
>>BTW, there is a new Nakamichi TD1200 for sale on eBay now (item number

>>570$ and still 2 days to go...
>>There is a market for anything, it seems...

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