Find answers to Frequently Asked Questions for First Generation Firebirds that have been asked and answered on FGF. Special thanks needs to be given to all the FGF members who took the time to respond to other member's questions.
Interior - Radios and Components
Q: Factory Radio Identification
I am going to a swap meet this weekend but am not exactly sure how to identify a factory correct radio. Anyone have some codes?
A: Here are the numbers:
AM/FM (mono) Radios; (Model Number):
1967 Firebird AM/FM
1968 Firebird AM
1968 Firebird AM/FM
1967-1968 F AM Die-Cast Face Plate
1967-1968 F AM/FM Die-Cast Face Plate
1969 Firebird AM/FM
Content last modified: January 26, 2014 at 3:45 pm
Q: Radio Question
I’m about to buy an in-dash Kenwood AM/FM/Cass (KRC3006) and install a 6 CD changer in the glove box of my 1968 Firebird (with AC).
Any suggestions, comments, warnings before I buy the stuff and begin the install?
A: Before you lay your money down, I would be very careful and check into how the radio mounts into the dash. As you are probably aware by now, the 1967 and 1968 FIrebird radios differed greatly on the way they were mounted in the dash from most radios/cars of that era.
Most radios back then were mounted into the car by three mount points, the volume and tuner “styles” supported the front of the radio, and there was usually a bracket that supported the rear of the radio. In the 1967 and 1968 Firebirds, the radio actually has two tabs on the front of the radio, (one on each side), which are used to bolt the radio to the dash in the front. The volume and tuner “styles” do not in any way play a part in holding the radio in the dash.
Also be aware that the dashboards on these cars slope “back” which requires an “angled” face plate on the radio to “clean”
If the radio you wish to install is a generic radio, you probably will not be happy with home the radio fits in the dash.
Content last modified: January 24, 2014 at 10:52 pm
Q: Radio AM to AM/FM Conversion
Does anyone know how to install an am/fm factory radio into a 1968 firebird that originally had an am radio?
A: I don’t have any experience with the 1968 Firebird’s but if they are like the 1967’s, then the swap should be very easy. The mechanical mountings are the same between the AM and AM/FM radio. The electrical connections are also the same. It should be a drop in replacement.
Content last modified: January 24, 2014 at 10:54 pm
Q: AM/FM Stereo Adapter
Was there an option for an adapter to be plugged into an AM/FM Pontiac Stereo? If so, what did it do?
A: I just took my 1968 AM/FM radio to a local guy here in PA that is listed in Hemmings. He is an old radio “guru”, talked to him for almost 2 hours one day….he then pulled out I beleive the auxilliary plug for the stereo amp hook up and looked at the number of prong holes in there, he was able to confirm from this that the radio was indeed a Pontiac radio and a 1968.
A: The guy is correct in the description of the “plug” in the Firebird radio. The factory supplied an am/fm radio with this shorting plug, which was removed at the dealer when the FM multiplex adapter was installed. This plug has a pin set up thats the same as an old vacuum tube,and has the controls for volume ,balance,and tone running thru it. When the multiplex adapter is installed by plugging into the socket where the plug was , it disables these functions in the radio and moves them to the adapter. The adapter adds the other side of the stereo signal to the 4 speaker system. This was the dealer installed setup for 1967 and 1968 on the Firebirds,however all other models could get a similar system as factory equiptment. I am looking for anyone that has or had the 1967 and 1968 stereo adapter.
Content last modified: January 24, 2014 at 10:54 pm
Q: Radio Part Numbers for 1968-1969
I am after a 1969 AM/FM and want to be sure I get the right one. I will likely have to get it mailed to me and I want to verify it by part numbers. My 1968 radios have only a part number but in 1969 there is a part number and a model number, can anyone give me either of these for the 1969 Firebird. Any chance this radio was shared with any other cars, i.e. Tempest??
The Firebird part numbers I do know are :
7307322 Model #92AFB1
???? Model # ???
Content last modified: January 26, 2014 at 3:43 pm
Q: Radio Part Numbers
I’d like to put an original radio in my bird. Does anyone have the part numbers from the AM and the AM/FM radios that were in the 1967 birds? Were the 1967, 1968, and 1969 units interchangable? Any other GM car have use the same radios?
A: AM/FM (mono) Radios; (Model Number)
1967 Firebird AM/FM 986824
1968 Firebird AM 7305572
1968 Firebird AM/FM 7305582
1967-1968 F AM Die-Cast Face Plate 7298249
1967-1968 F AM/FM Die-Cast Face Plate 7298474
1969 Firebird AM/FM 92FFP1
1967 had a Black Face w/White Numbers
1968 had a Steel Blue Face w/Green Numbers
1969 had a Black Face w/White Numbers
1967/1968 will physically interchange; 1969 is unique
Firebird and Camaro radios were physically the same with minor cosmetic differences.
1969 AM/FM Stereo had a ‘Red Dot’ (light) in the face
Most obvious distinguishing feature is the angled face plate
Content last modified: January 24, 2014 at 10:59 pm
Q: Alternatives to Cutting Holes for Sound System Upgrades
What are my options for adding an aftermarket stereo system to my first generatin Firebird?
A: One way to add to your first gen sound system without doing ANY drilling, screwing, cutting, etc. WHATSOEVER to the interior or anywhere on the car for that matter:
Find a vintage Audiovox AM-FM converter. My car had AM radio only from the factory. I found that the Audiovox unit fits perfectly inside the ashtray. The wires out the back run directly up to the back of the factory AM unit. To change from AM to FM or to change FM channels, just open the ashtray, and voila!
I know, I know, you audiophiles scoff at the lousy sound out of the single 32 year old dash speaker. But I already have a killer auto sound system in my daily driver. With the top down and the oldies FM station on, I’m turning back the clock 30 years! And, more importantly, I haven’t made a single new hole that wasn’t there the day it came out of the factory. For us sticklers for originality that’s important. And the Audiovox units are cheap, easy to find, and even correct for the era.
A: I used to install car stereos when I was in college and have done many custom jobs. I wanted to install a system in my 1968 that could be removed without a trace and minimize space taken but still have a good sounding system. I achieved about 80% of my goal and I’m quite pleased with the results.
I installed a Sony system (most tolerant to engine and alternator noise). The dash has the receiver/tape deck. Below the dash behind and above the console clock I installed and EQ which is actually bracketed to the ash tray brackets. Below the EQ are 3 mini gauges which are bracketed to the EQ. The whole setup is very attractive (lights look great at night) and can be removed without a trace. The console clock does block viewing the center gauge a bit. Need to change my angle of view and I can see it.
I installed a pair of 5 1/4″ flush mount speakers in the location where the dash mono speaker is located. These are the type that don’t have an extruded ring that allow a speaker grill to be snapped on, they must be screwed on. I tried the after market speaker kit but found that the bracketing doesn’t support the speakers well and the 4″ speakers are too small to run with an amp (got it from Classic and wasn’t worth it). I bolted the speakers side by side using some sheet steel and found a location under the dash to slip the speaker sheet steel between the firewall and the dash. The whole thing is held in place using another brace that bolts from the speakers to spot behind the location where a factory installed center air conditioning port would be located if it were installed (no a/c in my car). 1/3 of each speaker is blocked by the opening of the mono speaker opening but it still sounds pretty good. I need to add a baffle to get more bass response.
In the trunk, I mounted 2 6×9 speaker enclosures I bought from Wall Mart for $13 each. There’re suspended from the stationary part of the trunk deck using metal brackets and angled somewhat upward to push sound over the rear seat. They are spaced apart from each other with enough room to mount CD changer between them (which I’ll add later). The boot muffles the sound a bit and it really gets muffled when the top is down. The way the speakers are mounted, I could cut an opening into the boot and mount the speaker grill over it giving it a nice finished look and exposing the speaker grill. This is a far better approach then installing those “factory” speaker brackets because there is an enclosed baffle for bass response to develop. The way the speaker enclosures are mounted, they don’t interfere with the trunk spring bar and allow access to removal of the spare tire. They also maximize trunk space.
Lastly, I have two Sony amps in the trunk. One 100 W amp for the front speakers mounted on the floor next to the passenger side cocktail shaker, and one 200 W amp for the rear speakers mounted on the vertical brace holding the passenger side cocktail shaker. Together, there is enough power to get good bass response with the top up or down, and there is almost no modification to the car (other than drilling some holes for mounting screws).
I might add that in this system I didn’t need any noise suppression adapters. Why? Because good quality systems have them built in.
Content last modified: January 24, 2014 at 11:00 pm
Q: After Market Radios
I would like to put a stock looking radio in my 1969 firebird with a CD player located somewhere else , like trunk or CD player in dash would be good .They list them for 1968 Firebird but not 1969 .Anybody have any neat trick they have done , I want it to look stock . My dash is already hacked .
A: You can get cd changers that play through the fm radio in your dash. you mount the changer in the trunk and then tune your radio to a certain frequency (89.1 on mine) and you hear the cd player instead of the radio. you control the changer with a remote that you mount somewhere. this way you can put a stock looking radio in the dash.
Content last modified: January 24, 2014 at 11:01 pm
Q: AM/FM Connections 1967
I bought an AM/FM radio that is supposed to be for the 1967. The dash speaker is missing and so is the original radio connector. The connector on the radio has 3 connections. I would imagine they are ground, +12 and speaker out (common ground). My question is, does anyone know the sequence of the connections (the plug is close to one side of the radio)? I don’t want to hook it up wrong and cook the radio.
A: My wiring diagram shows three “tabs” in the connector on the back of the
radio. Reading from left to right, they are speaker, speaker, +12V.
Here is a lame attempt at an ASCII drawing.
+------------+ | -- -- -- | +------------+ ^ ^ ^ | | +----- +12V | | | +------- Speaker +----------- Speaker
Now I realize that the connector on the back of the radio actually faces toward the floor, so this diagram is looking into the connector if you would have rotated the radio such that the faceplate was facing you and you are looking down into the connector on the back of the radio.
Content last modified: January 24, 2014 at 11:02 pm
Q: AM-FM Stereo Installation Questions 1969
Can anyone shed some light on this question ? Do the AM FM Stereo Radios for the 1969 F bodies need to have the amplifier unit installed or were they made to stand alone also. Also, when using the factory 8-track player, do you need to have the amp unit installed ? Any insight you may have on these radio installs will be greatly appreciated. Have you converted your bird to factory AM-FM ? If so, drop me a note, I have some questions.
A: The 1968 radio had a removable plug to add the multiplexer, but in 1969 they went to a separate radio for stereo. You need to have both units, and they are supposed to be a matched set. The label on the side of the radio will identify it, but here’s a couple clues. The 69 Firebird radios, all 3 of them, had longer pushbuttons than other Pontiacs to reach through the angled dash. The AM and AM/FM had black pushbuttons, while the stereo radio had chrome PB’s. On both the AM/FM and the stereo units, the left-most button had AM molded into it, and the right-most button had FM molded in. The AM and AM/FM radios worked by themselves, meaning no external components except power and a speaker. The AM/FM Stereo requires the external multiplex unit to function, it mounts above the glovebox, and has a cable with a connector that has 9 pins, and the cable is on the radio, plugs into the MPX. (That is opposite the 1968 design, the MPX had the cable attached to it.)
Since you could buy a Firebird with AM/8-Track only, I assume the 8-Track is also self-contained. The 8-Track used kick panel speakers like the AM/FM stereo system did, but with the AM/8-Track combo, I believe the AM played through a dash speaker, and the tape played through the kick panel speakers. There are special harnesses for each application, and they are available repro from many Pontiac parts vendors. I don’t own a 1969 Delco Radio manual, but I know a couple folks who do, and might be able to get more info as you need it.
I have a couple 1969 AM/FM Stereo systems that are currently on the shelf, but both systems came from cars that did not have the tape player, so I bought a harness to connect them. I have not tried to make the system work yet. If you have a Stereo radio that is missing the MPX, I have at least 1 unit spare, maybe 2, but a radio restorer would probably have to calibrate them to your radio.
A: I had a 1968 400 coupe that had a factory 8 track and an AM radio it used the 4 speakers for the 8 track (kick panels and dual rears) and a single speaker in the top of dash( same as all Other single front speaker radios) It didnt have any switch to cange from one system to the other so you could play both at the same time.
Content last modified: January 24, 2014 at 11:03 pm
Q: Radio Fit
I have a 1968 Firebird. Will a 1969 radio fit the dash? I know there were several changes from those two years and not sure if the radio would be one of them.
A: Unfortunately no. The 1967/1968’s have a different dash than the 1969’s and the radios are different in every way. The 1967/1968 radios are virtually identical except for the color of the face (one is black and one is blue and as I recall the blue was the 1968).
Content last modified: January 24, 2014 at 11:04 pm
Q: Radio Noise after Upgrade
A: During my college years after GM, I installed over 100 car stereos working at a shop and on my own and noise was all too common. I warned anyone thinking about installing an “amped” system that this would be a problem, and it usually was. The secret to eliminating noise is to eliminate resistance in power and ground and in signal distribution. Resistance points act as an antenna for noise. Isolate the power and ground from other systems in the car. Circuits sharing the “ground buss” tend to emanate crap onto the ground (chassis) and power lines. Even the best filtering won’t get rid of it. Garbage in, garbage out!
1. You get what you pay for! Cheap amps like the ones they sell at Radio Shack will whine and pop. Use quality products. Sony has some of the best filtering in their power supply inputs.
2. For amps and accessories such as a CD player mounted in the trunk. Use heavy gauge stranded wire from the battery (protected by a circuit breaker at the battery), twisted with a battery return line, and surrounded in braided shielding grounded at both ends. Avoid grounding the amp to the chassis.
3. Your in-dash unit and equalizer should be on a dedicated power circuit as well. Bring in a shielded power and ground from the battery as well after the circuit breaker. Switch the power on/off using a separate 12V relay operated by the original radio power source.
Once you clean up the power delivery problems, move on to the signal distribution.
4. Too much hype off of gold plated RCA connectors. It’s true, gold is the best conductor. However, in my tests with a spectrum analyzer I’ve found that a good quality connector, one that provides good contact between the shield of the jack and plug, makes no difference. It’s a signal with very low current and therefore very little chance of voltage drop due to current. Use very good braided shielded wire between the dash and the amp. I make my own custom RCA cables using teflon covered RG178 coaxial cable (not TV antenna wire – it’s too big but will work if you can’t get the small RG178).
5. Speakers located near the amp need not have shielded wire. It’s a good practice to shield speaker wires servicing doors, kick panels, or anywhere near the firewall.
6. As far as fidelity in a convertible goes, make sure the speakers are in an enclosed chamber like a speaker box, such that sound that travels backward in the speaker is reflected forward. The highs are going to get lost unless you mount tweeters next to your ears.
Content last modified: January 24, 2014 at 11:05 pm
Q: Factory Kick Panel Speakers
What did the factory kick panel speakers look like?
A: Photos for the factory A/C kick panels and factory kick panel speakers:
Left kick panel:
Right kick panel:
Both kick panels:
Speaker opening (w/tape measure for reference):
Content last modified: January 24, 2014 at 11:09 pm
Q: Kick Panel Speaker Replacement
I am looking for advice on what after market speakers I can fit into the space behind the kick panels yet still use the stock grill covers. The idea is to put the best possible speaker into the existing opening. Please include manufacturer and model number in your reply.
A: If you are referring to the stock grilles as being the factory 4 speaker system with kick panel speakers, then theres really not much you can do to upgrade in the factory location.
Trouble is the brace for cowl gets in the way of any magnet larger than stock. Since no one else makes a magnet like Delco did then its too tight for after market ones. I got a good set of Jensens 4×6 at Walmart for around $40 and used a BFH (Big Fat Hammer) to reshape the cowl brace to fit.The other option is to fabricate a spacer to fill the gap between grille and kickpanel and install a larger speaker with brace intact. Happy hammering
Content last modified: January 24, 2014 at 11:11 pm
Q: Rear Speaker Placement
I see that Year one sell boxes for rear speakers for Convertibles. I’ve seen a picture of a rear convertible seat with a speaker mounted in the center top of it but were dual speakers factory mounted in the rear of the car ? and if so where and were “grills” used ?…under/in the well liner ? All the catalogues refer to a “rear parcel shelf” but this would only be for the coupe?
A: All 1967, 1968, and 1969 Firebirds with a rear speaker option had them mounted on the right side, whether coupe or convertible. Cars with the Stereo options had 4 speakers – 2 in the kick panels, and 2 in the rear. There were no center mounted rear speakers. The convertible needed a housing, and it was the same cardboard material used for the glovebox. It hung by 2 screws from the support that the rear seatback support was connected to, and went under the top storage well. There was a hole cut through the well, and the speaker grille clamped the well liner between it and the speaker housing.
Most every option a Firebird could have that required something screwed to the car had indentations stamped in the location the optional components mounted to, so you might find exactly where the speaker housing screws go. I believe the Service Manual has some diagrams for installation, as some were dealer installed as accessory kits.
Content last modified: January 24, 2014 at 11:12 pm
Q: Rear Speaker Installation
I have a 1968 Firebird and according to PHS my car was equipped with an AM radio. But my car actually has an AM/FM radio which appears to be correct for the year. My guess is that the first owner of the car had the AM/FM installed by the dealer after the car had been built and delivered to the dealer.
Anyway, the radio has a “fader bezel” on the right hand side so I decided I would install a rear speaker to make use of the radio’s full (?) potential. I purchased an accurate cardboard speaker housing, speaker and grille as well as supporting hardware to attach the speaker behind the rear seat. I’m just not sure whether I should attach the speaker on the right or left side.
The diagrams in the 1968 Pontiac Shop manual seem to imply that if you had just one speaker in the car it was placed in the right rear. I have not seen a 1968 convertible with one rear speaker at any shows so I’m asking you all. Does anyone know for sure which side of the car a single rear speaker goes? Or does it go in the center.
Another question. I am assuming that the well cover goes over the speaker and that I have to cut a hole at least as large as the speaker opening in the speaker housing in the well cover and then attach the grille over that area of the well cover. Is that correct? Again, the shop manual’s diagram leaves a lot to be desired and to the imagination.
A: You are correct in the installation or the rear speaker, and it goes on the RIGHT SIDE. The assembly goes under the top well, and the speaker grille goes on top, so you can see it when you look in the rear window.
Content last modified: January 24, 2014 at 11:13 pm
Q: Speaker Locations 1969
When a 1969 convertible was ordered with an AM/FM radio, did the speakers get located in the kick panel or behind the back seat? Was the back seat location an extra cost option? My car originally was ordered with an AM/FM but when I bought it the dash and kick panels were butchered for aftermarket equipment.
A: You’ll need to specify if you mean the AM/FM monaural radio, or the AM/FM Stereo Multiplex radio. AM and AM/FM came standard with one (1) speaker, mounted in the front center dash. You could order a single rear seat speaker option with those two radios as well. In convertibles, the rear speaker was on the right side. It hung on the rear seatback support in a cardboard housing facing the window, with the speaker grill in the topwell and the speaker and housing hidden behind the topwell.
AM/FM Stereo or 8-track stereo cars had the 4-speaker system, with the kick panel mounted fronts. If AM or AM/FM monaural radios were installed with the 8-track, the radios played through the dash speaker, and the other 4 speakers played the tapes. The rear speakers in convertibles had 2 through the topwell, on the left and right.
This was different than the stereo systems installed in A-bodies. Surprisingly, the 1969 LeMans, Tempest and GTO stereo only had one front and one rear speaker, with the stereo signal cut that way. I think even the Grand Prix was the same.
Content last modified: January 24, 2014 at 11:13 pm
Q: Rear Speaker Grille Color
Does anyone know the original color of the rear speaker grilles in the 1968 coupe? I need to repaint and want to get it correct.
A: Same color as the rear package tray (i.e. black would be black,parchment(white) would be black red would be red) and make sure to use FLAT not semi gloss.
Content last modified: January 24, 2014 at 11:14 pm
Q: Rear Speaker Package Tray
I found out about the package tray. As I now understand it, the coupes had a mesh package tray and no grills if they had rear speakers. Is this correct? Thanks again in advance.
A: This is another example of vendors dictating to the consumer what is correct. Ive never seen any factory rear speakers installed with a mesh package tray for 67-9 I have seen this on the 70 and up models only. Cut the orginal cardboard out in the shape of speakers from under neath. Use GM speaker grills to cover the speakers. I wouldnt try and “save” your old package tray, as its most likely sun faded and brittle. Easy way to route wiring to rear is remove the scuff plates at rocker or use a stiff wire or fish tape to fish wiring under the carpet. You dont say if you have a console but thats another easy way to get wiring from front to back. Stereo can be acomplished with one pair of wires(ground speakers at rear shelf.) but for better sound quality use a pair for each with shielded wire. I remember installing a new gadget in my bird in 1970. It was a “cassette” deck and I put it in the glove box. Car still looked orginal and no one ripped off my tape deck. Good Luck
Content last modified: January 24, 2014 at 11:15 pm
Content last modified: March 16, 2017 at 9:08 am