GTO Radio : Hacking a Radio for Nostalgic Motorists




Introduction: GTO Radio : Hacking a Radio for Nostalgic Motorists

The GTO radio is designed to bring classic American muscle and the powerful presence of radio together in one easy to use product. Its carefully selected materials have been chosen to create an aesthetically pleasing yet user friendly radio.
With this step by step guide, you too can build a radio like the one shown here or feel free to make changes to suit you.

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Step 1: Exploded View and Materials


420mm x 297mm x 4mm MDF  x3
420mm x 297mm x 9mm MDF
Sanding sealer
Super gloss paint  x2
Wood glue
Super glue
A portable radio (Sony ICF-S22)
Button switch
Chrome guitar knob  x2
Petri dish  x2
Mount board
Metal rod  radius: 2mm  length: 600mm
Cogs  Diameter 44mm  x4
Cogs  Diameter 33mm  x2
Glossy photo paper

Step 2: Hacking the Radio

Carefully dismantle the portable radio and remove the components. In this case I am using a Sony ICF-S22.
Desolder the components that need to be relocated or extended. These are the volume control, the loudspeaker, AM/FM switch and the battery pack.
Solder them back into place using wires so that they can function without actually being fixed to the circuit board.
Cut the wire that connects the battery pack to the circuit board and solder the loose ends to the positive and negative legs on the push switch.
I replaced the AM/FM switch with a toggle switch.
I made a quick sketch model to give an idea of where the components will be.

Step 3: Making the Components Bracket

Measure and cut the 4mm MDF into the shapes shown above.
The holes measure 5mm in diameter and will house the axes for the cogs.
Assemble the bracket as shown.

Step 4: Mounting the Circuit Board

Mount the circuit board into the bracket.

Step 5: Assembling the Gears

Glue the large cogs to the metal rods 30mm from the end.
Insert the end closest to the cog into the holes of the bracket.
Glue the small cogs to the remaining metal rods 10mm from the end and glue to the volume and tuning dials.

Step 6: Cutting the Wood

Measure and cut the 9mm MDF for the radio shell using the shapes shown
Drill a hole diameter 56mm in the center of the top panel and another hole 6mm in diameter for the aerial to go through. 
If you have access to a laser cutter you can cut a speaker grille like the one I did.
Cut a hole in the corner of the base. This is so you will have access to the batteries. 

Step 7: Assembling the Shell

Glue the front and back panels onto the base
Glue the side panels on next
Finally glue on the top panel
I made another sketch model to give you an idea of the outcome (without the white face)

Step 8: Sanding the Shell

Sand the edges to get nice filleted corners and buff the surfaces using fine sand paper to make it smooth.

Step 9: Varnishing in the Shell

Coat the shell with sanding sealer and sand back using fine sand paper when dry.
Repeat another two times.

Step 10: Priming the Shell

Coat the shell in primer and leave overnight to dry

Step 11: Painting the Stripes

Mask the shell and paint on the stripes. Apply a thin even coat and leave to dry for 4 hours.
Repeat another two times.

Step 12: Painting the Body

Mask the stripes and paint on a colour of your choice. Apply a thin coat and let dry for 4 hours.
Repeat another two times.

Step 13: Making the Front Face

Measure and cut the 4mm MDF in the shape shown.
Varnish the cut to get a nice finish.
This will be the front face.

Step 14: Assembling the Radio

Glue the components bracket into the shell and glue the loudspeaker, the aerial and battery pack into there appropriate places.

Step 15: Sticking the Vynil

Cut and stick the vynil to the front face to create the control panels. These will connect the displays to their corresponding dials.

Step 16: Mounting the Front Face

Insert the push switch and toggle switch into the appropriate holes of the front panel and mount it onto the opening of the shell. Make sure the metal rods go through their corresponding holes. You can now cut them so that they extend out 5mm from the front. 
Glue the chrome guitar knobs onto the bottom two rods.

Step 17: Assembling the Displays

Drill a hole, 4mm in diameter, through the center of each petri dish and another hole 41mm from the center.
Insert the volume meter and the frequency indicator into the petri dishes. These can be made on photoshop and printed on glossy photo paper.
Place the petri dishes into their corresponding holes in the front panel ensuring the metal rods go through the holes.
Cut out needles from mount board and stick them to the ends of the rods at the centre of the displays.
Finally cover the petri dishes by gluing on their lids.

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    5 Discussions

    Izzy Panzer
    Izzy Panzer

    8 years ago on Introduction

    Very nice, it just gave me an idea what to do with some old car radio and speed dial from Fiat 128. I also plan to make it possible to connect it with mp3 player.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    could this be used as speakers for a computer instead,like just the kind you set up on you desk because Imine now are bulky and boring


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Yeah I'm sure thats perfectly feasible :)

    Robot Lover
    Robot Lover

    8 years ago on Introduction

    This is really neat! I like how you used the carbon fiber look to make it more car-ish. Anyway, is this for a school project because I have seen many of these instructables about radio hacking.


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks! Always nice to hear your work is appreciated!
    It's actually a 2nd year project at the University of Dundee. I study BSc Product Design and as a class we were encouraged to post our work up here on Instructables. The brief we were given challenged us to take an existing radio and add value to it. Here's a link to the group... you should find all my classmates work here. I hope you like them!