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Article from
Truck Builder
APRIL 2006

All rights reserved.
INSTALLING A Custom Autosound Stereo
Into A Chevy C10
Story & Photography By Matt Emery

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     There are only a few things in this world that really get us going. A few of them are auto related, but one of things we love most is music. As far as we're concerned, the only thing better than tooling down the highway in our hot rod truck is tooling down the highway in our hot rod truck while listening to music.
     Cars and music have been so intertwined in our culture that the Beach Boys and Jan and Dan virtually made their careers out of combining the two-well, these two things and a pretty girl, anyway.
     While we love classic vehicles, there are some aspects that have to be upgraded for life in the here and now--or make that the hear and now. Though a sound system that provides the capabilities of modern vehicles may not be on a par with upgraded safety features such as disc brakes, it sure does make life better to our ears, anyway.
We like the looks of the classic dashes in early pickups. We did not want to cut up the dash in order to install a new stereo system. Thanks to the folks at Custom Autosound those days are over, and have been for some time, as they've seen to it that nearly anyone can install a custom sound system in his or her vintage ride without having to do any damage to it, or without the need to be an electrical engineer.
     Since 1979, Custom Autosound has been producing state-of-the-art stereo systems that fit the stock radio opening. Custom Autosound owner Carl Sprauge originally designed a unit that would fit into his '63 Corvette without having to alter the stock console. Since then, he and his crew have expanded the products they offer to encompass systems for more than 400 different makes an models, ranging in years from the 1940s through the 1980s.
     In this article we're chronicling the installation of a Custom Autosound USA-5 unit into a 1972 Chevy C10. The installation of the Custom Autosound unit is fairly straightforward, one that most folks, with a base knowledge of their vehicle's electrical system and stereo-based electronics can do at home. It just requires some basic understanding, and the ability to bolt things together and run some wiring.
     Custom Autosound has units that can control the CD changer but do not have a cassette player. It also has a Secretaudio unit which has a small and very thin faceplate that can be mounted in a visor or a center console while still being able to control a remote-mounted CD changer. The Secretaudio system is perfect for those who want to smooth the dash on their pickups.
     Follow along as the crew at Custom Autosound brings this Chevy audibly into the modern age -- with is vintage looks intact.


1. The heart of the matter is the Custom Autosound head unit. This model is the USA-5. It features AM/FM stereo and Cassette player with 240 watts of power, and is capable of operating a CD changer. Don't let the numbers on the dial fool you; they are only there for looks. The unit uses LED numbers to display the station and the CD readout. 2. The Custom Autosound CD changer holds 10 disc that are easily installed into the magazine. All controls for the changer are found on the head unit. 3. Custom Autosound has devised these dual voice-coil speaker to fit in the place of the stock dash speaker. They are pre-wired as they come from Custom Autosound, so installing them is simply a matter of plugging them into the main radio wiring harness. It can handle 140 watts of power. 4. Gone also are the days of having to cut a hole in your door panels to mount speakers. Custom Autosound has eliminated that drastic step with its kickpanel-mounted speakers. These unit are black, high-density molded ABS plastic, so they can be installed as is, or they can easily be painted or covered with upholstery if the interior of your ride is another color. They feature a 6" coaxial (two-way) speakers that are capable of handling 80 watts of power each. As with the company's other speakers, the units are pre-wired with male and female ends, so there is no chance of a wiring problem. 5. This Chevy had been upgraded back in the late '80s with a Jensen stereo. The unit was okay in its day, but the cassette player hadn't worked for years and the owner wanted to have more of a retro look, so the unit had to go. 6. The first step when working on any automotive electrical system is to remove the negative lead on the battery. With that done it is time to remove the old unit. To get to it, though, the heater controls need to be remove. This is done by removing a few screws from beneath the dash. The ashtray and its frame also need to be removed. 7A-B.The control knobs are pulled and the nuts holding the faceplate on the old unit are removed. The unit is then dropped down and out through the bottom of the dash.  8. With the unit out of the way, the stock dash speaker (what is left of it) is unbolted and removed. 9. One nice thing about the Custom Autosound twin coil (DVC) speaker is that it, too, is pre-wired and ready to be plugged into the wiring harness. The leads are marked L and R so that the wiring process is as easy as possible. 10A-B. With the stock hardware resued, the new speaker is installed.  11. In another "upgrade," the Chevy had been equipped with carpet covering the kick panels.

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