Monday, March 3, 2008

Radio Upgrades.

So far this blog has been focused on questions prospective D buyers may have, I hope that the information has been useful. I am certainly NOT the authority on all things DeLorean, am only sharing what I’ve been through and what I’ve learned. There is certainly more that can be added, and with time I will add more, but let’s take a break with those type of postings. Let's fast foward with this post, to a recent upgrade.
The DeLorean’s factory speakers are pretty bad, and the factory radio, well, it’s a radio from 1985. I was fortunate that this was one of the many upgrades my previous owner did on 2109, and it performed pretty decently. My D came with a Blaupunkt head unit, along with replaced front speakers and rear wall board mounted 5 ¼” Kenwoods. Still, having done a few radio installs in my day, I wondered if I could take this system a little further. In a DeLorean w/ the engine running behind you, the sound environment isn’t exactly a sound chamber conducive to clear sounds – so, I was looking less for performance/power and specs, and more for features/conveniences. I thought the replaced speakers were more than adequate, so the target goal was to replace the head unit. I found that thanks to a very well done Blaupunkt installation, all the cables were clearly labeled, so this was a relatively quick and easy job.

Radio, as delivered.

First stop, was an Enon 686. It had some really neat features beyond AM/FM/CD, it had DVD, and touch screen LCD screen, Bluetooth phone access, and automatic rear view camera input. Those last two features were my favorite, you’d throw the car in reverse, and the rear camera (a separate, easy install) would display on the screen. Sounds silly, but I got pretty use to it. The Bluetooth feature was interesting, you could place and receive cell calls through a microphone from the radio, and you could hear the conversation through the speakers – great when you are driving stick. Ultimately though it got old having to synch my phone every time I got in, because I don’t leave the Bluetooth feature of my phone on all the time. I found and purchased the radio from Hong Kong, with a full 3 month warranty (yes, this was an sign). And it was all fine until my alternator went, which caused wide power fluctuations, which the radio could not handle and just stopped working, just 5 months after purchase. So much for that; fun while it lasted.

The short lived Enon install.

After having that radio it really made me appreciate what I used, did not use, and what I could use in terms of features. So the radio I am running today is the Roadmaster VRVD640G or VR3 for short. Beyond the standard features if has a slightly larger touch screen LCD screen, DVD, and get this: full GPS capability. GPS is one of those things that you can live without, until you start using it and see how useful it can be. Additionally, probably because of the GPS, the screen’s resolution is much higher and the user interface is very modern (was ugly, low res, and unintuitive on the Enon). Additionally even though the rated power is about the same, this unit cranks out tunes with much more power – and I have 1 year warranty. I did lose the Bluetooth, but I don’t miss it at all, what I do miss, which would make this unit perfect, is the automatic reverse screen, using the previous installation it can display the reverse camera video, but it is not automatic, you have to press a few buttons. Also, I believe that style-wise, the symmetry of the Enon unit matched the style of the center instruments better. I do however like how only the center section drops down between the A/C knobs.  The installation was completed on 02/16/08, and here’s hoping this unit lasts longer than the warranty.

The VR3 showing the GPS and radio touch screens.

*** Update: 03/07/2008: I forgot to mention an interesting feature of this radio. Since it is a full GPS navigation system, it also displays a GPS driven digital speedometer. The numeric display is small (blank in picture below, car not moving), but it is there in case you want to calibrate against your existing speedometer. Similarly if your angle drive and/or speedometer is broken, this display would give you a speedometer function until repairs are made. ...oh and it also shows the time, also while in GPS mode, in case your car doesn't have a clock (later model DeLoreans), or your clock isn’t working.

GPS Display in perspective mode, also has conventional map mode.

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Anonymous said...


Great install buddy!


Mike Bozzzy

Roman T. Cat said...

Thanks for posting the pictures. I've been eyeing this same unit at walmart thinking it would look good in my Delorean. I was unsure if everything would fit properly thou...Now I know. Looks good.