That '60s Sound
By Jerry Cole, Technical Advisor
When my 1967 W110 230 was being inspected for its Silver Star Preservation Certification, I was asked if the radio worked. I said yes, because it is true. It worked. Fortunately, I was not asked if it sounded like the person on the radio had a mouthful of gumballs, because I would have had to answer yes, because it did. Going through the inspection process showed me where my Mercedes could be improved and radio sound quality was certainly one of those places. The dash speaker in a Mercedes of the 1960s is 3.5”x 8.25”. Not a speaker you can get just anyplace.
I contacted Becker Autosound and about $125 later, I had the correct sized speaker delivered to my home. I know, $125 sounds like a lot for a single speaker, but it fits and cutting or modifying the car is out of the question.
The original dash speaker can be removed by removing the trim underneath the windshield, on top of the dash. It is held in place from behind, by a series of blue 10mm plastic nuts. I removed these by holding a 10mm deep socket in my hand, without a wrench. The nuts aren’t tight and avoiding use of a wrench solves clearance issues.
Once the trim is removed, all that holds the speaker grille in place is two tapered pins at the corners furthest from the windshield. Carefully pry the grille up and away from the dash top. This will reveal a perforated metal cover. This cover keeps things like Smarties and small boulders from dropping into your speaker. There are four screws at the corners that once removed, allow you to lift out the cover and the speaker. Reach around the back of the radio and unplug the speaker from the radio, making note of where it plugged in.
You will notice that your old speaker has a wiring harness and four rubber and metal mounts, one at each corner and your new speaker does not. Since you are going to be trashing the old speaker, doing a bit of damage to it in order to move parts to your new speaker is no big deal. I stuck a pin punch through the center of the mounts and rocked them back and forth until they break free. They can be transferred and swaged into the new speaker by using a hammer and a small socket as shown.
Using a soldering iron, remove the wiring harness from the old speaker and transfer it to the new speaker. A cable tie is useful to dress the cable in such a way that it doesn’t rattle.
Reinstallation is the reverse of removal and you will find that the speaker now fits perfectly, as it did back in the ‘60s.
The final step is to turn the radio on and be amazed at how much you’ve been missing and how good that ‘60s sound really was.