With the news this week that Dynaudio's Excite Sound System would be included in the latest version of the VW Golf, it got us thinking about the history of in-car audio; from the very first radio to the innovations that transformed our driving experience.
We're seeing more and more collaborations between audio and car manufacturers, but there was a time when having sound in your car was quite the novel experience. In-car audio came from humble beginnings but now flourishes as tech improves.
So, join us as we head back in time to find out some of the milestones that defined how we listen to music on the move...
1922 – The first car radio?
In 1922, George Frost – the 18-year-old president of Chicago's Lane High School Radio Club – fitted a radio to the passenger door of a Ford Model T (like the one above). It's since been credited as the first ever "car radio".
1927 – Purpose-built
1930 – Radio Ga-Ga?
Galvin Manufacturing Company was behind the first mass produced car radio, with the 5T71 costing $110-130. It proved popular, so the firm took the "motor" and "Victrola" to form a new company name in recognition – Motorola.
1952 – FM: For The Motor
FM may have been first patented in 1933, but it was AM radio that ruled the airwaves. It wasn't until 1952 when German firm Blaupunkt introduced the first AM/FM head unit for in-car use that the tide started to turn in FM's favour.
1953 – Seek and ye shall find
A year after FM made its way into the car, Becker – another German firm – unveiled the Mexico. According to some, it was the first premium in-car radio – with much owed to its pioneering automatic station search capability.
1965 – Eight is great
A problem with the in-car record player was the likelihood of scratching and jumping as you drove along. But we still wanted to listen to our own music, so a solution was found in the shape of the eight-track player – introduced by Ford in 1965.
More after the break
1968 – Not only, but also...
Becker had already claimed one in-car audio first and grabbed a second in 1968 with the Europa – the first car stereo. Front and rear speakers had one channel each, until the left and right format appeared soon after.
1970 – Tape Gear
With its smaller size compared to the eight-track, the cassette always seemed destined to prove popular as an in-car option. Add to that an "auto-reverse" function that let you concentrate on the driving and you've got a winner...
2014 – Abbey Road on wheels?
At CES this year we saw Panasonic and Mini Cooper attempt to recreate the sound of Abbey Road inside a car. It's only at the concept stage but the car is another example of audio experts getting excited by in-car audio.
With the likes of Bang & Olufsen, Bowers and Wilkins, Dynaudio and Naim working alongside some of the most illustrious names in motoring, we're sure there will be plenty more in-car audio milestones to come...