Homebrew High-Tech: Handbuilt Stereo System

This ’79 El Camino Gets a Handbuilt Stereo in the Driveway

Joe Greeves
Dec 1, 2012
Contributors: Patrick McCarthy
Photographers: Joe Greeves
Photo 2/22   |   1979 Chevy El Camino interior
The best custom stereos start with a blank canvas. One look at a system that's been professionally designed from the ground up will convince viewers that the factory played no role in its creation. However, because of limited funds, most of us can't replace everything at once, so we upgrade a few components at a time—an approach that can still produce a topnotch sound system. Nevertheless, when you have an opportunity to start from scratch, the results can be dramatic. And, if you do it right, it doesn't have to break the bank.
Photo 3/22   |   1. Did we mention the importance of a blank canvas? While the gutted interior might look like the aftermath of a bomb blast, it is in fact a distinct advantage, allowing unobstructed access. Before removing the seats, careful measurements were taken to ensure the new panels would have sufficient clearance.
Mike Ohren from Orange Park, Florida, has been designing unique, award-winning systems for the last three decades. His creations produce concert hall sounds, capture Best Stereo trophies on a regular basis, and always add a new dimension to the interior. The 1979 El Camino featured in this article is owned by Scott Dean of Jacksonville, Florida, and already had several mods including custom candy orange paint, 22-inch rims, and a ZZ4 crate motor. However, it arrived at Mike's shop needing considerable work inside. After discussing the details with the owner, Mike gutted the interior and began taking measurements, choosing an appropriate mix of modern electronics to get the job done. Using simple cardboard templates, MDF, and fiberglass, he created new custom door panels, a unique center console that flows into the rear sub enclosure, and an amp rack behind the bucket seats. Follow along as we take you step by step through this comprehensive build process.
Photo 22/22   |   20. In front of the wheel, a full set of Dakota Digital gauges replaces the originals, while an Autopage C3-RS730 security system was installed to protect this owner's investment. Topping off this insane El Camino interior, some orange StreetGlow neon lighting adds extra flash when the sun sets. Although this makeover was performed in the driveway, the sophisticated interior shows that with some basic handtools and plenty of patience, world-class interiors are possible.


Pioneer Electronics
Long Beach, CA 90810



Subscribe Today and Save up to 83%!

Subscribe Truck Trend Magazine

Subscribe to:

Truck Trend

Subscribe Diesel Power Magazine

Subscribe to:

Diesel Power

Subscribe Truckin Magazine

Subscribe to: