History of obsolete car audio, part 4: Rise of the cassette


Bulky home-radio conversions, record players, and 8-Track tapes. Fine attempts, all. But when it comes to car audio, the cassette blew them all away.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/articles/2018/01/02/obsolete-car-audio-part-4


In 1979 I drove from NJ to Florida for a two week vacation and played ELO’s “Out of the Blue” on cassette over and over again. The cassette wore out and is long gone now, but from a CD of the same name it is now on a thumb drive and I listen to it in my Honda Fit.
I still have one cassette, The Kinks, "Give the People what they want."
Nice article, brings back memories.
Regards, Ray


I have 2004 Subie with both a manual trany and a CD/ tape player, plan to keep that car forever !


In the UK advertisement, 38 Guineas in 1968 is equivalent to about 660 pounds today (a Guinea was one pound one shilling). That’s about US$930.


I had them all, starting with an 8 track in 1967. I optioned an 8 track when I ordered a 1972 GTO, wasting $200. It was a hard decision to switch to CD at home. I kept looking at all those cassettes. 2015 was the last CD player in the Buick LaCrosse.
Remember when the tapes started to distort when playing. You knew it was just going to get worse with time. It was like watching your favorite ball player fading out of the game.


In the early 70s, I bought my first car- a somewhat clapped-out Triumph TR3A, which, of course had no radio and a positive ground electrical system. My brilliant solution (I thought so,anyway) was to use a 6" long 2x4 and a piece of an innertube that was discovered in one of the wheels when I was finally able to afford some new Semperits, I inserted my new bargain Craig MonoFM-Stereo cassette dash unit into the innertube with the 2x4, a perfect tight fit.I then screwed the 2x4, which I had painted flat black to the transmission tunnel well forward under the dash. The flat black innertube covering my masterpiece was a true stealth unit in the all black interior, and the radio was 100% insulated from the car’s chassis so I could then safely wire it in. A pair of no-name wedge shaped surface mount speakers from Zayres completed my system, chosen as much for their price than the other features they may have had. They fit into the corners of the package shelf package shelf behind the roll bar and virtually disappeared. I was so proud! I had a masterpiece of unequaled quality that was second to none! Blaring Black Dog at full volume with the top down at night on the Kent State campus was paradise.The music became inaudible above 40 mph due the roar of the engine, which fortunately provided relief from the massive inherent distortion from my carefully matched components. Ah, youth! Great memories!


Back in 1973 I was in high school and installing Audiovox in-dash 8 tracks and cassette players along with the Craig Power Play 20 watt amplifiers and Jensen 6x9 co-axial speaker. That was the ticket back then. For me, it was all about quadraphonic. I knew it was the future. I still have my quad 8 tracks and player, SQ4 records and decoder along with my quad headphones. Back then with a little herb & stairway to heaven in quad with my best gal in my ‘65 GTO. That was livin’ baby!