Tag Archives: Accessories

8 Track Car Stereo

My car radio has arrived! My CitiCar does not have a radio. It was an option listed that people could pay extra for. Growing up, we had a large stereo in the dining room that could play 8-Track tapes and records. My dad also installed an 8-Track into his Gremlin. I figured I could go for a bit of nostalgia and hook one up to my car.

I started looking at a few websites and found a listing:

8-TRACK AM Vintage car audio RADIO original

BrandKatone Corporation
Manufacturer Part NumberCSI-22
8-TRACK AM Vintage car audio RADIO original. Item is used and has not been tested for functionality. Please see photos for details and item condition. Please feel free to contact me with questions. Thanks for looking.

There were a few photos that showed the controls, input plugs, and that it generally had some wear. I figured I could give it a shot. I went ahead and put in an order, and also put in an order for a car antenna as well. Although the car radio was advertised with AM, it could also play FM stereo.

Katone Corporation 8-Track CSI-22
Car audio plug

Since I have sort of a miniature electronics workshop, I decided to wire it up to my bench power supply and try it out. It’s got a bit of an odd plug on the end of it. I started doing a bit of research, and found something similar called a 5 pin din plug connector. I couldn’t find an exact match on the pattern though.

I posted a photo to an electronics group, and I got the following responses when I asked what kind of DIN connector it was:

  • Kodak slide projector
  • M12 5 pin
  • Not a DIN specs connector
  • Commodore 64

Commodore 64 uses an 8 pin video socket, so that wouldn’t work out. The M12 5 pin has a cross-hair pattern, and wouldn’t fit. Someone recognized it was an old car audio connector and described what the pins were for. He had both a Kodak extension cable and the original plugs and took a photo of the two mating perfectly.

I found a listing for Remote Control Cable 5 Pin Male (Round/Kodak) Cutoff 5 Wires 22 Gauge 12 ft.for $5.99. These cables are used to control forward, reverse, and focus of Kodak and compatible projectors. So, I now have a Kodak slide projector cable on order for my car… yea.

AM/FM 8-Track Car Radio
Frequency Selection

On with the show. I started playing around with 12 volts. I quickly got it up and running. First, the box has a label that stating the covering was ground. Alligator clip to the frame… check. I found where the red wire was coming into the radio and tapped on it with the 12 volt positive. A light came on. Progress!

Car radio antenna

I grabbed my car antenna and plugged it into the antenna socket. I then stuck a few wires into the end of the radio plug and connected them to a speaker with alligator clips. I started up my little experiment again. First a buzzing sound. I started fiddling with some knobs and started to pick up an AM radio station talking about the president and his wife. Bingo! I’ve got me a working radio.

Unfortunately I don’t have any 8-Tracks to test the main feature of the little radio. The drive belt looks fine. I’ll have to wait a few days.

I grew up listening to records and 8-Tracks. Since the CitiCar was made in the 70’s and didn’t have a radio installed, I figured it was about time I learn about the adventures that my dad experienced hooking up a car radio in his Gremlin.

Radio Badge

On my way out to walk Teddy, I happened to walk past a box setting by the back door.

Car Radio Antenna

Car Antenna

Along with my little old car radio that I had purchased, I realized that I needed an antenna and the wiring to plug into the back of the radio. I didn’t know much about them, so I searched for things like “Classic Car Antenna”, “Antique Car Antenna”, and “Vintage Car Antenna”. I was getting mixed results. Some were overly expensive, compatible with specific cars, looked ugly, missing a few things, or just wasn’t for me. I was focused on how easy it appeared to be to install, and ideally one that could retract, either manually or with its own motor.

I finally settled on one that looked fairly new that was for vintage vehicles. I assume this is actually a reproduction, as the seller had already sold 210 of them and he claimed that it was “New”, so… yea.

A radio was an option that could be installed for a few extra dollars on a CitiCar. Mine didn’t come with one, but there is room just above the accessory light where it appears that the radio would go. I’ve seen a few photographs where the antenna is close to the front bumper beside the passenger headlight, and another where it’s close to the windshield.

Antenna by windshieldAntenna by bumper
Motor Trend
November 1976
Car and Driver
November 1977
My Sebring Vanguard Badge

Upon further inspection of various photographs, I noticed that one had a CitiCar badge where another had a radio. I’ve had a loose “Sebring Vanguard” plastic plate that came with the car, but I was unsure where it should go. I looked pretty close at the blank area and noticed some faint residue from the adhesive on the back of the plastic plate.

No radioWith Radio
Consumer Reports
October 1975
Motor Trend
November 1976

Once I get the radio, I’ll have the parts needed to experiment with. Hopefully I can get it operating. I don’t know anything about cars, but I do know a bit about electrical diagrams and pin outs.