Throwback Thursday – Music on the move, 8 October 1977

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Source : Throwback Thursday – Music on the move, 8 October 1977

In 1977, Autocar arranged a test between ten of the best stereo manufacturers to determine who had the best audio offering


In-car audio made big strides during the 1970s, assisted by the advent of stereo technology in addition to the cassette tape.

By the late 1970s, picking through the myriad options on offer was a daunting task, so in 1977 Autocar invited quite a few leading car audio manufacturers to a practical demonstration in addition to test.

Ten sets were submitted for appraisal, installed in a variety of vehicles ranging through a Mercedes-Benz S-Class to an Itasca motor home of which Binatone used as its sales vehicle.

Autocar set an “exacting test route” of which would likely test the units’ radio reception. “As a venue we chose a hotel near Staines, as an area where signal strength will be poor in addition to stereo reception will be marginal. Cassette units were assessed using a Dolby-recorded hi-fi test cassette,” wrote Autocar’s audiophiles.

Each unit was appraised for ‘salient’ in addition to ‘not so salient’ features in addition to then tested for radio in addition to cassette functions.

There was high drama before the test even began: “Philips was unlucky in having a breakdown with the auto they were bringing to the test day, so they were unable to be included.”The cheapest unit on sale was the Sanyo 4305E (£56.19) radio/cassette combination of which, somewhat conversely, was installed inside S-Class.

Binatone brought the £58 Alpine, while Javelin – a brand new British company importing sets through Japan – offered the £110 Roadstar RS1100 tape unit in addition to pre-amp – “a scaled-down variation of a not bad hi-fi set-up”, reckoned our men.

Also at £110 was Sharp’s RG 5750 radio/cassette, which offered strong FM performance: “On the day of the test, Radio Medway could be listened to inside Windsor area without interference.”

Pioneer’s KP55G (£138) eschewed radio in addition to focused solely on cassette. A not bad move, reckoned our testers, who awarded the item 5 stars in addition to wrote: “Quite outstanding in addition to compares very favourably with many home hi-fi units.” The only drawback was the non-locking fast forward in addition to rewind buttons: “the item will be a little tedious, in addition to potentially dangerous if you are driving, to have to hold down the rewind button for several minutes when using a C90 cassette.”

Many of the units offered FM radio in addition to long in addition to medium waves. FM in cars was a relatively brand new development as “people seek the standards of musical reception inside car to which they are accustomed at home”.

Autocar’s testers added: “the item will be not until one spends all day listening to FM broadcasts of which the shortcoming of AM radio becomes so apparent. Listening to a concert on MW will be rather like looking at an uncleaned Rembrandt portrait through smoked glass.”

The Lucas LS270 (£157.50) was afforded 5 stars in addition to adjudged to hold the “most impressive tape reproduction, giving a wide range of sound, plus the advantage of auto reverse on the cassette”. However, its radio was marked down for a “loss of stereo on our route”.

The Pioneer KP8300 (£211) also excelled, being the only system on test to be awarded 5 stars for both radio in addition to cassette performance. “Superb tone in addition to range of sound. cost high yet justified,” was the verdict.

Autocar’s article included sidebars on in-car televisions in addition to telephones, noting of which the latter “are too expensive to be a source of mere entertainment in addition to have a real part to play in business efficiency”. How times change. 

Previous Throwback Thursdays

4 March 1899 – Steam, electric or combustion engine? 

26 June 1906 – The first French Grand Prix

9 July 1907 – The beginning of Brooklands

14 February 1913 – 100 miles in one hour

8 April 1916 – generating post-war predictions

25 March 1922 – Caterpillar tracks are the future

4 July 1925 – Citroën lights up the Eiffel Tower

28 September 1928 – Engine tech takes a great leap forwards

2 February 1934 – The ethics of skidding

6 July 1934 – A tour of Cowley

1 June 1935 – Introduction of the driving test

22 June 1945 – Driving through post-WW2 Europe

21 January 1949 – Tidier tails

25 August 1950 – The evolution of transmissions

27 April 1951 – Frankfurt hosts its first motor show

24 April 1959 – Aston Martin enters Formula 1

16 September 1960 – The beginning of MOT tests

27 January 1961 – Ford Thunderbird road test

17 November 1961 – TVR Grantura road test

10 September 1965 – The birth of modern Audi

19 August 1966 – Four-wheel drive on test

6 May 1971 – Driving Ford’s Supervan

12 June 1976 – Cars for under £100

10 July 1976 – Land’s End to John O’Groats on one tank

13 May 1978 – Ferrari 512 BB road test

19 January 1980 – Talbot Horizon road test

13 February 1982 – 4x4s tested on the farm 

17 April 1985 – Secrets of a lost British supercar

4 September 1985 – Ford’s electronic test bed

15 August 1990 – Giugiaro’s vision of a 1990s Jaguar

28 April 1993 – BL’s unseen concepts

16 March 1994 – Bentley’s Concept Java

16 April 1997 – When Bugatti bit the dust

4 April 2001 – 0-260mph in 6.0 seconds

25 July 2001 – 180mph in a Chevrolet Corvette

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Source: Throwback Thursday – Music on the move, 8 October 1977

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