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Mustang Kick panel Speaker Project
Mobile Audio has came along way since the mid-sixties. In 67 you had AM, AM-FM and AM-8 Track and I think that was about it for options. AM/FM stereo wasn't common yet, and speakers were not that great either. Our '67 convertible came with an AM radio with only a center speaker in the dash. Options to bring the Vintage Mustangs into the twentieth century are somewhat limited and especially on convertibles. One common add-on today is to replace the standard kick panels with reproduction kick panels with speakers. Unfortunately the speakers included in those aren't that great in today's standards, and the reproduction panels themselves are too shallow to put much better ones into. The only other real option is to make your own custom kick panels. I did this for my driver coupe and installed some nice Alpine speakers in kick panels I fabricated out of Masonite and fiberglass. I mounted those speakers on an angle to direct each speaker to the other front seat passenger's ears. I then covered the custom kick panel with the same material I made my seat covers and door cards out of that looked like leather. But I want to keep the convertible more stock appearing and with it being a convertible space is pretty limited due to the inner rocker panel and this car has A/C as well. So I wanted to look at other options.
Starting in 1967 Ford changed the sheet metal on sides of the cowl area. I believe this sheet metal was also used on it's new cousin the Mercury Cougar. It appears that Ford made this new sides with speakers in mind. I understand a very few Cougars where available with AM/FM stereos with an option for speakers in the kick panel. I've heard that from a few different people, but information on these seems very hard to come by.
I also understand it was fairly common for kids to cut the sides of the cowl out on their Mustangs to install speakers when stereo sound become common in the '70's. The problem with cutting the sides of the cowl was that nothing was protecting the backside of the speakers and moisture and dirt would get kicked up and destroy the speakers in behind the front fenders.
I was already at work making some metal patches to repair the rusty and damaged areas of the cowl sides. I decided to buy a pair of Alpine 6-1/2" Type RD speakers since I liked them in my coupe just to have for actual dimensions needed for their installation. I decided I would attempt to fabricate metal speaker enclosures that I will weld and use seam sealer to seal them up. I thought this would be a better alternative to the plastic or foam baffles.
Before making any cuts I took some measurements to make sure I should have enough room for speaker enclosure behind the fender. There is plenty of depth room, but there is a brace on the fender that might be an issue.
Like I mentioned already the '67-68 sheet metal already had a nice spot formed for a speaker to be located there. I simply cut out the side hole needed for my speakers and made little notches to hold the mounting clips that came with my new speakers.
You can see in the last photograph that there is not a lot of room around the large speaker magnet and the fender bracing. I will need to alter one side of the enclosure I was planning to make.
(Please ignore some of my welds and realize that I still have some metal work to do in this area, these are pictures of the project in progress, later I will update with some finished pictures).
This is the design I came up with. No guarantees with this design, if you want to copy it, make sure you have your speakers and do some measuring before you tear into this project! But you are welcome to use this as a starting point for yours. You can click on the drawing to download a larger image to print.
I still have a little prep work to my cowls before I weld these into to place. I just used some duct tape to hold them in place while I did a little trial fit of the fender. It appears that I will have 1/2" of clearance at the tight areas where the notch is. It also appears that I have decent clearances for the speaker as well.
As you can see it will be a long time before we will be listening to any tunes and cruising in this car. But when we do, we should be able to listen to some nice music with our little speaker updates! My plan is to take standard kick panels and mount very conservative speaker grilles in them to make them look natural.
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