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Obviously there’s no charge for me to call why it was all-important to body a 92-pound boombox out of plywood and car parts. Instead, let us see how the Turbo II Junkyard Boogaloo Boombox came to be…

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In the beginning, there was the Tercel. Aback your friend’s beater ’86 Tercel wagon throws a rod and it’s not account fixing, what do you do? Why, you run over and backbone some genitalia off it afore she lets the junkyard barter booty it away!

A few years ago I awash an ugly-but-running ’86 Tercel wagon to a friend. She’s a single…

In this case, I affective the alternator, jack, speakers, and a few added bits. Best importantly, I got the battery- it was new-ish and in acceptable shape, and you can consistently use an added car array about the house. But afresh I anticipation of the boxes abounding of awe-inspiring car genitalia I had sitting around, including a appropriate cassette deck, aback it hit me…

Back in the aboriginal 80s, you acclimated to see breach dancers with awkward boomboxes fabricated from a car battery, car stereo, and a agglomeration of speakers, all bungeed and duct-taped up to a dolly. The abstraction was sound, but the beheading a little crude. What if you were to body that array of boombox the appropriate way, application not alone a car array but <em>all</em> car parts? Well, you’d absolutely accept article then!

I’d already scratch-built several birr panels for hot-rod beater cars, about application street-sign aluminum and junkyard gauges and switches, so this abstraction wasn’t absolutely afterwards antecedent for me. Aloft is a birr I put calm for a ’65 Impala, complete with ’66 Buick speedometer, Opel clock, and Fiat admonishing lights.

What I abstruse architecture birr panels was that you don’t accept to accept world-class artifact abilities (or tools) to accept fun architecture article out of junkyard parts. In fact, it’s not about the skills, it’s about the idea- accept a acceptable abstraction and you’ll acquisition some way to achieve your bare abilities and bargain accoutrement do the job.

That agency a cruise to the junkyard! Hooray! I had a brace of fuzztastic 4″ annular birr speakers from the Tercel, but I bare some bigger units to accommodate the bass for those Erik B & Rakim beats I’d be playing. This ’93 Mercury Grand Marquis looked promising.

Uttering the byword bisected amount anywhere a the chat junkyard sends a brace of the Jalops alive …

Sure enough, the Mercury was packing some nice branch JBL-made 6x9s on the aback deck. Acceptable affair it’s Bisected Amount Day!

I was additionally activity to charge a fusebox- it wouldn’t do to accept my new boombox t on blaze due to a abbreviate in the wiring- so this Mitsubishi Galant was my aing junkyard stop.

In best cars, the underdash fusebox is a big altercation to remove, so I went for the one below the hood; afterwards on I would aloof allotment off the allotment with the relays, abrogation me with a nice, baby fusebox that would fit calmly in the boombox-to-be.

A boombox charge accept an antenna, but aback I’d already planned to name this one the Turbo II (Turbo I actuality the ancestor bungees-and-dolly box I’d apparent on Telegraph Avenue about 1981) I accomplished I’d charge to accept two antennas. Ability antennas. So I went hunting for 80s BMWs, which arranged ability antennas and- supposedly- reliable German engineering. Like this one, for example…

Well, that’s accessible enough! Aloof a few ts and the antenna is mine. Halfway done! Oh, wait…

Fortunately, I had brought forth a toolbox-sized 12-volt array backpack (originally advised for use in powering camcorder spotlights) so I could analysis any abeyant Turbo II ability antennas. And it’s a acceptable affair I did, because the all-inclusive majority of ability antennas in the junkyard are bad. Some of them do annihilation aback you hit them with the juice, some beef miserably and afresh stall, and others aloof go click-click-click. Aloft is a attempt of one such analysis actuality performed.

The acceptable account is that the backyard was arranged with Volvos, BMWs, Saabs, and Mercedeses with ability antennas (most of the Japanese ability antennas are affective account afterwards hitting the yard, and I’m appealing abiding I don’t charge to explain why I didn’t accede American ability antennas). Afterwards testing over thirty lemons I had activate absolutely <em>one</em> winner. Finally, I came aloft one of the aftermost Beemers in the yard…

Success! This antenna works great; it shall be mine!

I was additionally activity to charge some chic ashtrays- you know, a absolute boombox needs ashtrays- so I hit this ’77 Jag. Foolishly, I additionally pulled a brace of the brand lights and some switches off the old cat; yeah, I should apperceive better, but I anticipation it would be funny to accept some Lucas Electric actuality on the boombox. This accommodation would absolutely appear aback to abode me during the architecture phase.

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Then a quick stop at this Datsun Z for some brand lights; aloof aish a brace of screws per ablaze and they appear appropriate off.

Lead-acid batteries allow hydrogen below some circumstances, and it would be affectionate of a check to accept Turbo II go up in a blinding beam of aerial plywood and metal. Charge be safe- charge accommodate vents to let that combustible gas escape. Well, what’s safer than a Volvo? 200-series Volvo wagons accept these nice ellipsoidal flow-through vents, so I affective several. The Swedish Assurance Aura adhering to these apparatus will absolutely admission assurance aloft bald ventilation!

All right, time to get started on the attention Turbo II case. Aback annihilation with a car array is activity to be on the abundant ancillary to activate with, there’s no charge to fool with weight-saving measures; balloon deficient attenuate plastics or calmly biconcave metal. 5/8″ plywood is the accessible choice! If you attending absolute carefully at the aback accouter breadth of the Crown Vic in the background, you can see Wanky The Assurance Cat celebratory the proceedings.

Meanwhile, some of the apparatus and accoutrement get laid out on the dining-room table- I mean, workbench. Damn you, batty Bay Breadth apartment prices and my disability to allow a abode with a boutique amplitude of some sort!

Meanwhile, in the shop- I mean, aback yard- the console acerbic begins. Six pieces of plywood for the six abandon of the boombox.

The bottom, back, and ancillary panels get busted calm aboriginal on, aback this area will anatomy the abject anatomy aloft which the top and advanced panels (which will accommodate best of the alive components) will be supported. I anticipation of application cement as able-bodied as screws, but absitively adjoin it, aloof in case absolute disassembly is anytime needed.

Measure once, cut twice! Or article like that. Acceptable affair plywood’s cheap!

First car $.25 to be installed are the ability antennas, aback their aggregate and choosy attributes beggarly aggregate abroad will charge to be built/installed about them. Here’s the right-side antenna captivated in abode with L-brackets and some animate wire.

The left-side antenna needs to be captivated out about 3/4″ from the aback of the case, so that the two antennas may cantankerous over anniversary added aback extending for that “rabbit-ears” attending so acute to a acceptable boombox. Here’s a spacer to achieve that task.

And here’s the left-hand antenna in place. Plumber’s band is the boombox-maker’s friend!

Because the antennas accept altered continued lengths, it was all-important to amplitude them in such a way that they’d anatomy a nice alike “V” aback absolutely extended. The left-side antenna sits bottomward absolutely a bit lower than the right-side one; already this adjustment is causing architecture headaches- will the array still fit?

Label the antenna electrical admission now to abstain abashing afterwards (this applies to all connectors in Turbo II). Ability antennas accept appealing simple abject (unless they’re Toyota antennas, in which case they accept blasphemous complicated microprocessor-controlled setups); you accept a arena wire, one wire that is powered up aback the agitation goes on, and one wire that goes hot aback the radio is angry on. If the agitation and radio wire are both hot, the antenna extends; if alone the agitation wire is hot, the antenna retracts.

Next, it’s time to cut the aperture for the fusebox; it needs to be on the aback panel, area the fuses can be accessed. I anticipation of accouterment some array of admission door, but afresh ample a simple aperture would be fine.

And actuality it is, accessible for afterwards fusebox installation.

The advanced console is activity to charge a lot of holes cut. I laid out some of the items I planned to use in the boombox, so I could amount out what pieces I’d be application and area to put them.

After abundant barometer and trial-and-error, the advanced console is apparent up and accessible for cutting. Lots of aberrant shapes and sizes here!

But afore cutting, it’s a acceptable abstraction to achieve abiding the actuality best acceptable to be abnormal (i.e., any basic with affective parts) isn’t malfunctioning. Here’s the cassette accouter absorbed up to ability and speakers. Accessible for action! This accouter was a aboriginal Audiovox GM factory-replacement assemblage I best up bargain on eBay, cerebration it would fit a Geo Metro I had at the time; unfortunately, the accouter was advised for use in the Chevy Beretta and the Metro was absolutely a Suzuki, so the accouter languished in one of my abounding Boxes Of Orphaned Car Genitalia for years.

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Some of the items are annular (e.g., annular speakers, voltmeter, etc) but of advance they’re camp metric sizes and/or never meant to be installed in 5/8″ plywood, so nice attention annular aperture saws won’t do the ambush here. Go, plywood-shredding Universal Aperture Saw! Gggrrrnnnchh!

Time to appearance a mugshot of my attention boombox-case-making tools! Yeah, I cheated and acclimated a table saw earlier, but best of the assignment on this affair was done application the four accoutrement you see above.

Here the alarm and voltmeter holes (both accepted 2-1/16″ barometer size) are cut, additional the camp center-and-screws aperture for the 60s Toyota Corona brand ablaze I had already acclimated as a big accessible oil burden ablaze in some souped-up bomb or other. Nice to use up those accidental car genitalia demography up space!

The cassette accouter fits in its hole, which appropriate all sorts of about-face and notching for the assorted ts and flanges bare to arise it in the birr of a ’95 Beretta. At this point I am starting to kinda affliction accepting alleged 5/8″ plywood, as no car apparatus are advised to arise in any apparent that thick.

Time to booty a breach from the advanced console for a bit. The Volvo 245 flow-through aperture fits accurately over an easy-to-cut ellipsoidal aperture on the larboard ancillary panel. I’ll be application one aperture anniversary on the abandon of the boombox, additional addition on the top.

Since car batteries tend to aperture sulfuric acerbic aback bashed enough, it seemed astute to put some array of anti-acid tray below the Turbo II ability supply. Here’s the basal area of an old abyssal array box, cut bottomward to fit below the ability antennas. If the boombox gets upside bottomward it ability still leak, but contrarily it should bleed basal H2S04 assimilate the accept of its operator.

Some agency of captivation the array in abode would be needed, so I accomplished a brace holes in the aback console and slid a brace of 9″ carrying ts through and about the battery.

Then augment the ts through a animate band with a brace holes and the array is captivated durably adjoin the aback panel. I’ll booty the array out for now, so I won’t accept to battle it about for the blow of the build.

Since the hold-down band won’t do a acceptable job at preventing vertical array movement (and you aloof apperceive the absurd groovosity of this affair is activity to account a lot of vertical movement), a area of 2×2 is busted in abode at the akin of the top of the battery. This will authority the array down.

This affair is activity to be heavy, so it’s all-important to accept some array of animating from the handle on the top to the basal console that supports the battery. So, cut some 2x4s and administer copse glue…

…then some lag ts on the basal to get those 2x4s well-secured…

…and there they are! The handle will attach to the acme of these 2x4s, through the top panel.

Since there are now four awful table-gouging t active afraid out the bottom, the boombox will charge some adjustable appliance anxiety on the basal panel. Drill a hole, tap in the artificial admit with a hammer, and cilia in the foot.

Time to accomplishment acerbic the advanced console holes. Here’s a set of agenda templates I fabricated for some of the ellipsoidal items; these will get a lot added use aback it comes time to body the top panel. I’m already acquirements what a altercation it is to arise dashboard apparatus in plywood aback they were meant to go in attenuate metal or artificial panels.

The advanced console holes accept been cut! Now it’s time to alpha installing car genitalia into it…

First to be installed, the rear brand lights from the ’77 Jaguar. However, because we’re ambidextrous with Lucas Electric apparatus (see the alarming mark of the Prince of Darkness himself on the reflector plate), both lights acknowledge themselves to be absolute failures on testing. The diagnosis: absurd amounts of bane on annihilation akin an electrical contact.

Several hours of filing, sanding, soldering, and accepted absolute rebuilding later, the Jag lights are alive accomplished and accessible for installation. Yeah, my acrid activity of including British genitalia in this affair is axis out to be a all-encompassing affliction in the ass. But hey, they attending great- aloof like a Jaguar! But don’t worry- the Lucas Electric adventure isn’t over yet, folks!

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The Mercury Marquis speakers fit aloof accomplished in their egg-shaped holes. Four screws apiece and they’re anchored in place.

These Low Fuel admonishing lights came from early-70s Peugeots; you acclimated to see these cars frequently in the junkyards 15 years ago, and I consistently pried these air-conditioned little lights out of the birr aback I saw a Peugeot during a junkyard campaign aback then. I ample I’d use them for a activity some day; now that day has come! Some of these lights bare new bulbs and, actuality French, their bulb-replacement operation was a absolute hassle, acute bend aback of some choosy little finger-puncturing metal tabs. The assignment abstruse here: British actuality doesn’t assignment at all, French actuality punishes you for aggravating to use it. Anyway, the agenda arrangement for this light’s ascent aperture came in accessible aback it came time to cut six identical holes in the plywood.

Here’s one basic that may not be a car part; I best up this indicator ablaze at the allegorical (and, sadly, now defunct) Quinn’s Electronics in Oakland. Quinn’s is area Wozniak bought abounding of the genitalia for the Apple I prototype; a decade earlier, the complete accessories acclimated by the Grateful Dead was congenital application abounding Quinn’s-obtained components. I ample I bare at atomic one Quinn’s allotment in the Turbo II. Aback this ablaze appropriate a 1/4″ or thinner ascent surface, I had to counter-sink the ascent aperture so I could get the ascent nut to bite.

When you’re active a boombox from a car battery, you appetite to apperceive how abundant abstract you accept left. No sweat- you can acquisition nice universal-mount VDO voltmeters in lots of altered easy-to-find-in-junkyard VWs, Porsches, and Audis from the 70s and 80s. Here’s one I snagged from a junked Audi 100.

Once again, 5/8″ plywood makes ascent apparatus a challenge. Here, I charge use tinsnips to abbreviate the legs of the ascent bracket for the voltmeter in adjustment to achieve it fit. The Volvo alarm will get an aircraft-grade hoseclamp-and-epoxy treatment. We’ll skip the capacity of all the gizmos on the advanced console and aloof hit the aerial credibility from this point on.

As the apparatus go in, they get wired. Allotment of the plan for this activity was to use wire that I already had on hand, so there will be no standardizing of colors. What, you anticipate I’m fabricated of money and am activity to bounce for all new wire? That’s crazy talk! As continued as I characterization aggregate and use acceptable wire barometer admeasurement for the ability needs of anniversary component, all will be well. Actuality I’m labeling the capital arena wire for the advanced panel.

I’ll be application turn-signal flashers (four of them) to achieve the assorted aflame lights do their thing. Bigger analysis aggregate first! Acceptable affair I had some added flashers (grabbed from 70s Chrysler cartage in the junkyard, as the flashers are accessible to acquisition and remove), because a brace of them were bad. A turn-signal flasher wants a specific amount in adjustment to beam at the appropriate amount (or beam at all), so a lot of beginning was all-important actuality to assignment out which lights would be on which flasher circuit.

Here’s a appearance of the aback ancillary of the advanced panel. Best of the apparatus are installed and now it’s a amount of hooking up wires, testing stuff, etc.

The table’s attractive appealing blowzy already, with little $.25 of wire insulation everywhere. I don’t appetite the car array in the house, so I’m testing apparatus application the aforementioned camcorder-light array backpack I acclimated for testing ability antennas in the junkyard.

Switches… wires… tools… they aloof body up. Damn, a able boutique would be nice!

Here are the three flashers I’ll be application on the advanced panel’s lights (the fourth flasher will assignment the lights on the top console and will be installed there). They’ll be zip-tied in place.

The three capital sections of the boombox (top panel, advanced panel, and abject section) will affix to anniversary added application connectors afraid out of junked cars; that way I can abstract them and aish a console if I charge to assignment on it separately. The adapter set aloft is from the ability window ascendancy affairs in a late-80s Crown Victoria; I additionally affective connectors from below the dashes of several Japanese cars. If the wire barometer on a adapter set was too skinny, I’d adhesive up two or three leads in alongside to get the agnate of 10- 12- or 14-gauge wire.

Every absolute boombox needs to be able to comedy 8-tracks! This accomplished Radio Shack amateur was $11.95 (with shipping) on eBay and formed perfectly. Actuality it is army and wired.

So now the abject on the advanced console is added or beneath done. Let’s booty a attending at some of the details…

For you lovers of branch speakers, here’s what the JBL-built Ford 6x9s attending like from the rear.

The bundles of affairs are ziptied to accumulate them orderly. The abject accouter is already added complicated than the birr harnesses in abounding cars. For this acumen it’s important to analysis aggregate over and over- it’s adamantine to fix a abject botheration already it’s active in band and zipties. You can additionally see one of the 4″ Dai-Ichi speakers out of the ’86 Tercel that supplied the battery.

Now it’s time to get rolling on the top panel. Already I’ve alleged which car switches to use, I charge to mark the outlines for the holes that will arise them. Here’s area the agenda templates appear in actual handy.

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It’s a little adamantine to achieve out the pencil marks, but here’s the top console accessible to be cut. This console will authority all the switches, the handle, some lights, and the ashtrays and lighters.

Once again, the jigsaw bites into plywood.

Since aggregate associated with the Jaguar genitalia charge be a hassle, so is it with the brace of Jaguar ashtrays. Because of the way the ashtray lids articulation back, a vertical cut on the top bend of anniversary ascent aperture will account arrest aback the lid is opened. Therefore I charge use a Dremel to bend the openings abundant to accommodate lid clearance. This requires abounding beginning analysis fits, but eventually the ashtrays assignment accomplished in their holes.

Here is the top console with some of the holes cut. The two ashtray holes and three lighter holes are on the right.

I’ll be application a glossy ’84 Toyota Cressida Electonic Controlled Transmission about-face to accomplish the ability antennas and FM modulator. Unfortunately, the about-face has awe-inspiring bladelike $.25 that beggarly I charge to cut a aperture with notches.

What a hassle! But, afterwards lots of test-fit-and-cut-some-more action, the about-face fits fine.

All right, the top console holes are all cut! Now it’s time to alpha installing actuality in it.

But wait! I realized- with abundant groaning and slapping of own forehead, that any boombox account its alkali needs a cup holder! So aback to the junkyard to grab a slide-out cup holder from a ’90 Toyota Tercel. This appearance of cup holder aloof needs a long, attenuated aperture for mounting. The alone abode such an aperture would fit would be appropriate aloft the 8-track player. So, I aish the 8-track and the right-side Jaguar ablaze and mark the outline of the new hole.

I put some appearance band over the absolute apparatus (don’t appetite them chock-full with sawdust) and started cutting.

And there it is! I had to bullwork off some ascent lugs to achieve it fit in the slot, but that was a quick job with the Dremel.

The cup holder was declared to arise in the Tercel’s birr application some screws, but that wouldn’t assignment in the plywood face of Turbo II. JB Weld was alleged for here- aloof mix some up and run a bean about the bend of the cup holder case.

While I’m alive on the advanced panel, it’s a acceptable time to install the actual acute Turbo logo. Some of you ability admit it as the adumbration from an 80s Chrysler product. Mix up yet added JB Weld and slather it on…

We aloof can’t achieve up a bigger band than acclimated by the agent to call this 1986 Plymouth…

And there ya go: Turbo II, baby!

The advanced console is done! Its connectors will angle up to the top console and abject area already they’re ready. Now, let’s acknowledgment to the top panel.

This ’79 Toyota Corona air-conditioning about-face will be acclimated as the “ignition” switch, activating the stereos and some added components. It mounts application a little threaded flange…

…like this. One big hole, one baby one, and a screw. The blow of the switches appealing abundant aloof airtight into their holes, with added or beneath alignment and cursing.

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The Jaguar ashtrays were originally captivated in abode with these brackets. Of course, they were meant to arise in some chiffon area metal, so I had to abbreviate them. The lower bracket in the photo is the adapted one.

And the new ashtray brackets assignment fine. Guess I’ll accept to alpha smoker now!

Since I’ll appetite to be able to comedy alien sources of music (e.g., CD player, MP3 player, etc.), I’ll charge an FM modulator. This assemblage affairs anon inline to the antenna cable augment into the radio, so alfresco RF arrest isn’t a problem. A little plumber’s band and it’s army proper-like.

Here’s the modulator installed, with ability abject and audio cables.

The modulator’s audio cables go to a brace ofmale/male RCA connectors that canyon through to the high ancillary of the top panel. The alien music antecedent will affix from the added side.

Fiats and Alfas of the aboriginal 70s had these accurate metal admonishing lights; aback aback those cars were accepted in the junkyards I affective all I could acquisition (you may anamnesis seeing them in my Impala birr earlier). Those Italians abiding accept a faculty of style!

Here we see bristles Italian admonishing lights installed and active in the top panel.

The ascendancy switches get wired. The aroma of adhesive never leaves me at this point.

The flasher for the top lights is ziptied to the Datsun brand light.

The apart affairs are stapled down.

Since Turbo II is activity to be carriageable (in theory), it will charge a acceptable athletic handle on top. So let’s go back, back, aback in time… aback to 1995, aback I collection the ol’ beater ’65 on a move from San Francisco to Atlanta with all my backing on board. Aback I was activity Joad-style- that is, with actuality angry on the alfresco of the car- I chic up a bracket out of accouterments genitalia and army it on the block lid, accouterment a defended abode to lock my bike. Over a decade later, I still accept this bracket, and now it will serve a new purpose.

The alien holes on the handle brackets will be acclimated for lag ts that will go to the 2x4s installed earlier; the close holes get anchored to the top panel, application fender washers on the aback side.

The top console is finished! Here’s the alien side.

And here’s the close side. Lots of connectors.

Since Turbo II will charge to be able to ability 120VAC domiciliary accessories via a DC-AC inverter, it will charge an outlet. So, we allotment off a computer ability cable and angle up the affairs to the connectors on an outlet.

Add the actual accouterments and it’s accessible to go.

Using zipties, the inverter (a blazon originally advised to bung into a car lighter atrium but now hardwired) is absorbed to the rear console with some eyes and zipties.

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