June '19

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30 THE SHOP JUNE 2019 fter talking to dozens of serious hot rodders at the Milwaukee World of Wheels, bouncing the topic around the H.A.M.B. bulletin board and talking to installers and the inventor of a new car sound innovation, THE SHOP found that "small or none at all" is what rodders want as far as audio equipment goes today. We n i c k n a m e d Wa y n e " Ba r n e y" Boettcher Captain Audio after talking to him about the installs he does in hot rods, kustom cars and resto-mods. Like TV's Captain Video of the '50s sci-fi classic Cap- tain Video and his Video Rangers, Boettcher guides enthusiasts through the universe of Space Age automotive sound. His shop, Performance Upholstery in Appleton, Wisconsin (perfuph@new., does audio installs as part of building hot rod interiors. Boettcher has worked rigging corporate jets. He also enjoys building interiors for modified cars, which includes stereo system installs. Here are some of his thoughts on what hot rod owners are looking for in audio systems and the shops that install them. THE SHOP: What's the car audio market like these days? Boettcher: A good friend who works at a local retailer called Sound World tells me the market has shifted dramatically away from heavy-duty stuff like amplifiers and big speakers to iPods, iPhones and small, hidden technology. He predicts that all car stereos will be bought online in five years. He thinks no one will sell them at retail. The only customers will be old-timers and a few street rodders who want a stereo to actually touch. I agree, because if you go to Sound World or Best Buy or Walmart, they have very few stereos compared to five years ago. TS: We heard hot rodders say "I only want to hear the engine" and that small music players are the way to go. Is this what you're hearing? Boettcher: Yes. Secret Audio builds a radio you can hide. It's really cool. They basically took the radio apart. You can hide the box in the seat, trunk or door panel. You tune the radio with a square little touch pad—a kind of remote control you can hide in the glovebox. A problem we run into with some audio equipment is lack of manufacturer support. For a big yellow truck we recently built, the owner wanted the stereo under the seat. It turned out to be junk and we were out of luck. Now the owner never runs the radio. He's disappointed with it and wishes he'd put in a conventional CD player. There's been a change in attitude. A man who owns an orange 1947 Chevy pickup we worked on wanted an inexpensive system. I bought a nice, entry-level stereo for $130 and a nice pair of speakers. He was happy. So, the industry has changed a lot. The owner of a '57 Chevy resto-mod wants it set up for an iPod. I bought an iPod docking station to hide in the center console. TS: Do '57 Chevy owners want an orig- inal-looking radio? Boettcher: It's a matter of preference. I had a customer with a '35 Ford Tudor who went to a local auto parts store and bought a complete car stereo/speaker kit and didn't care what it looked like. A lot of guys—like Jim with the big yellow truck I mentioned—never run the radio. They just want to hear their big motor. I asked the '57 Chevy owner if he wanted multiple speakers. He had one 5x7 speaker in the dash. He said, "Nope, I can do without lots of speakers." So, his high-end car is not going to have a high-end stereo. He said, "I listen to talk radio and one speaker is enough," but he also wanted an iPod docking station in the console. Wayne "Barney" Boettcher poses with an immaculate, fuel-injected 1957 Chevy Bel Air convertible that he was building an interior and sound system for. By John Gunnell NOW HEAR THIS Reviewing hot rod hi-fi with Capt. Audio & Space Ranger.

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