by Richard Atwell
What size of radio fits the opening in the dash? It's the now obsolete DIN standard from the 60's and 70's which is smaller than the modern radios you can buy today. This means either a) finding an "old-timer" radio to fit into your dash or b) cutting the opening for the necessary clearance.
The stock opening is the same size as the profile on the back of the block off plate:
Even the stock radio is a tight fit. Fitting a modern DIN radio requires:
Note: some radios may not have a large enough faceplate to hide the metal frame behind it. I suppose you could cut up the block-off plate but cutting plastic neatly is difficult at best.
This is a photo of the Motorola Radio from my 71 Super Beetle (2VW1116 aka Sapphire XV) that I kept after I sold it (all I have left now except memories). The faceplate however, is from a 60's model (inset vs. flanged). Sapphire is a brand name of Bendix and Motorola.
Models were offered as AM, AM/FM mono or AM/FM stereo. Some even had 8-track cassettes!
The Volkswagen label is faded and so is the silver ring around the edge but otherwise works great and completes the dashboard.
Just because a radio fits doesn't mean it's electrically compatible.
Some manufacturers provided a simple means for popping off the covers and switching the radio from 6V->12V or Pos->Neg ground but most don't. If you plug a 6V radio into a 12V system or one designed for the opposite grounding system you'll smoke the radio and be unhappy.
If you are not sure what type of radio it is because there are no labels and the PO couldn't prove where the radio came from don't plug it in even if it's fused. Ask an old-timer radio repair expert to help you identify the particular model you have.
Generally, old-timer radios that can be had for a song, don't work and those in perfect working order have been restored and cost $150-up. The junkyard is usually a good source of old radios and of course many are for sale at The Samba's classifieds.
06/11/07 - Created
09/08/11 - Fixed broken photos, added translate button, updated footer