A brief write-up on combining my Retrosound head unit with my Miata roadster, using various time-honored methods ranging from heartfelt prayer and vigorous cursing, to potara earings and the fusion dance. Bonus adorable kittens within.

*”the best stereo system in the world” is shorthand for “the best stereo system in a race-prepped Miata with an x-Brace rollbar, Xida suspension, Fujitsubo Exhaust and cherry blossom gauge faces that in addition to previously alluded to races also see no less than five offroad adventures per year, of which at least 20% (but not limited to) are in fact of the snow-covered subcategory defined as adventures where frozen precipitation (H2O phase change) of an as-yet undetermined amount is visible upon the grounds which said Miata travels over while participating in an “adventure” which for these intents and purposes is classified as a planned or unplanned journey of varying length involving no less than 7 of the oncoming 30 characteristics generally found to be an important function of any trip (“trip” being a four letter word with Dutch roots, covering a large array of definitions which we’ll go over in full starting with pronunciation, /trip/ 1. catch one’s foot on something and stumble or fall. “he tripped over his cat”. The second definition found in the most common of dictionaries still in use and accredited by the world language society is also a verb, unlike the final 17 word usag—

“AHHHH STOP STOP STOP JUST TELL ME ABOUT THE DAMN RADIO!!! OR I’M LEAVING. FOREVER. ”

“well why didn’t you say so sooner? Is... Is everything okay? How’s the misses?”

I TRIED. YOU JUST KEPT. TALKING. AND TALKING. AND TALKING. SHE’S FINE. THANK YOU FOR ASKING”

Advertisement

“hmm. If you say so. Okay, here’s the stereo stuff”

My Datsun/Triumph radio faceplate (quick, find me another product with both of those brands on it!) required quite a bit of cutting and massaging to fit properly into the Miata tombstone (center console).

Advertisement

For that reason... I picked up a Dremel tool kit, which worked like a charm. Used a metal cutting wheel because for the life of me I could not figure out how to attach the other cutting wheels. II wouldn’t put it past Dremel to include attachments that require additional purchases to use. Can you imagine? Anyways... The little rotary tool has a buttload of power and made quick work of the plastic. As always, measure once (eyeball it) and cut a thousand times until you fuck it up and have to resort to a backup plan. (note to self: come up with backup plan).

Advertisement

You ever notice how the more tools you buy, the more tools you need? Something’s not right there, but it is what it is. I don’t have any clamps, but I DO have a bag of very large, super high clamping force binder clips! Good enough for government work (shop motto. Misspelled, discolored lettering). After one cut, I had a painful reminder of how disgusting burning plastic smells, so I took the panel out to my deck and proceeded to cut, test fit, cut, test fit, until I had the makings of a decent pressure fit in my hands. Then with the help of a sanding attachment I smoothed everything out for that PERFECT master craftsman fit and finish (my girlfriend said it’s a 5/10 at best, to which I responded “you too” which I’ve been ever-so-sweetly told wasn’t the best choice of words. In completely unrelated news I’m free for the night if anyone wants to go grab a bite..?).

Advertisement

Advertisement

And there you have it! Look at that analog goodness. Two GNURLED METAL KNOBS (I know you guys like that stuff) that ROTATE (with fantastically tactile detents, it’s like using a quality socket wrench) and also CLICK. That’s right, the knobs are also buttons. Boom. You jealous? Hell, I’m jealous and it’s my radio. Behind each knob is a dial, that goes up or down, than forcefully returns to the center position (imagine you’re wacking your gear knob from side to side in neutral). So, 2 rotating knobs, 2 clicky push buttons, 2 swivel switch things, and in the middle, 5 additional buttons with all sorts of uses.

“like what”

“what do you mean?”

“you said all sorts of uses. Like what? What are they used for?”

“....”

And there you have it! I finally got the faceplate figured out. Unfortunately it’s just a faceplate and doesn’t provide any real support for the radio, so I still have to figure out how to get the radio attached to my car. But this is a good step! With any luck (and for the love of God, a few hours without rain) I’ll have a quality sound system in the Miata by the end of the week!

Advertisement

I lied about the kittens.