Bluetooth 8-Track Adapter: Modern Tech in a Classic Shell

by Jim
Hidden Bluetooth Adapter

How I built a bluetooth 8-track adapter to incorporate modern radio technology into the original stereo in my 1980 Corvette without any mods.

In the world of classic cars, originality is often times king. Especially in the world of classic Corvettes. That was the main impetus for this project. I wanted to have the ability to stream music and gps nav through the stereo in my 1980 Corvette. I could have replaced the original 8-track deck with a Bluetooth capable modern radio, but I have never liked the looks of modern aftermarket radios, and aftermarket ‘classic’ looking radios are expensive.

To accomplish this I hit the internet and youtube to see if I could build an 8-track tape that was capable of receiving Bluetooth signal from my phone. During my research, I found out that an 8-track is functionally similar to it’s smaller cousin, the cassette tape.

Materials Used:

Cassette and 8-Track

Materials Needed: 8-Track and Bluetooth Cassette

  • Bluetooth Cassette Adapter
  • 8-track tape.

A quick ebay search yielded a bluetooth cassette and an old Boston 8-Track for less than $30 total.  I’m sure that some Boston fans are screaming in agony over the thought of gutting an original Boston tape, but they are one of my favorite bands, and an old tape completes the look I was going for.

Step 1: Gut the 8-track

Inside an 8-track

Inside of an 8-Track tape

8-track tapes are usually held closed with plastic clips.  A small flat screwdriver (think glasses repair size) made quick work of opening the clips.  Next the tape and spool need to be removed to make room for the Bluetooth electronics.

Step 2: Add the Bluetooth Circuitry

Bluetooth Internals in 8-track body

Bluetooth electronics in 8-Track body

Next transfer the circuit board, battery and magnetic head from the bluetooth cassette into the 8-track body.  I secured everything with hot glue to keep it in place and minimize rattling.

Step 3: Cut access holes for charging and switch

I used a small file to cut slots in the plastic for the charging port and the power switch, then snapped the case closed once everything was secured.

Switch and Charging Port

Switch and Charging Port

Here is a pic of how it looks all closed up.

Finished

Bluetooth 8-Track Finished

And with the tape inserted into the original stereo, I can now stream ‘More Than A Feeling’ directly to my 40 year old radio.

Hidden Bluetooth Adapter

Bluetooth Adapter hidden in plain sight

Inspiration for this project came from a few places.

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