Classic car owners may love the experience of driving a vintage machine, but they may also miss some modern conveniences like Bluetooth connectivity when behind the wheel.
Enthusiasts should be delighted to learn that car audio company Blaupunkt is bringing back a fan-favorite solution, only this time, it's gotten with the times. The company revealed the SQR 46, a modern reincarnation of a beloved aftermarket radio from the 1980s. Since it's been more than 30 years since the original's introduction, it comes with a lot of today's technology baked into a retro package. Bluetooth connectivity hides beneath the plastic cover to pair smartphones and other devices, and the cassette tape area actually stores a USB port (the radio has a second port as well), an auxiliary input jack, and a slot for an SD card.
With Bluetooth, drivers of classic cars can make phone calls via their smartphones' connection, and take advantage of conveniences like phonebook downloads and navigation audio mixing. The Bluetooth microphone is external, but that comes with the radio.
The radio will play MP3 and WMA music files via SD card and USB inputs. It will not play Bluetooth music, however. It also has the AM and FM bands, but not satellite radio. The radio can also be programmed to respond to steering wheel controls in cars that offer that capability.
Owners can pick from a few different pre-loaded display colors, use a provided remote control to change things on the fly, and enjoy digital audio broadcasting.
Blaupunkt isn't the only company with a retro-modern radio for classic cars. Porsche owners can purchase a Porsche-specific head unit that even offers an optional navigation screen. Jaguar-Land Rover started selling classic radio conversions with modern technology last year as well.
Right now, it appears the radio is only for sale in Europe with a price of about $500, including a value-added tax, at current exchange rates. We're sure some of the units will make their way into hands and dashboard of North American classic car owners.