1930: First Commercial In-Car Radio
The Galvin brothers’ expensive $130 unit (a Model A Deluxe coupe cost $540) was the first commercially successful car radio, and the first product to wear the Motorola name.
1952: First Radio With FM
AM was the undisputed king of the airwaves in 1952, but that didn’t stop Blaupunkt from introducing the first in-car FM radio.
1953: Becker Mexico Introduced
Becker’s iconic Mexico radio launched this year, arguably the first premium in-car radio. It had AM/FM and the first fully automatic station-search button.
1955: First “Music On Demand”
Starting in 1955, Chrysler offered a small turntable in its high-end cars, playing proprietary seven-inch records with about 45 minutes of music. It was a bust.
1963: First All-Transistor Radio
A number of manufacturers introduced transistors to their aftermarket car radios in the early 1960s, but Becker’s Monte Carlo was the first to be fully “solid state”—no vacuum tubes.
1965: First Eight-Track Tape Player
Predecessor to the cassette, the eight-track was a loser from the start and was dead by the early ’80s. Ford and Motorola jointly introduced in-car eight-track players this year.
1969: First Stereo
Becker’s Europa was the first in-car stereo setup, with the tuner amplifying two channels instead of one.
1970–1977: Cassette-Tape Players
The rollout of cassettes allowed for one of mankind’s greatest achievements: the mix tape. This development also heralded the creation of branded aftermarket cassette-tape players from Alpine and Pioneer, among others.
1982: Bose Becomes First Premium Stereo System
Bose and GM’s Delco teamed up to offer the first “designer” stereo system. Bose sank money into car-specific development; rather than just producing an expensive head unit, it was marketing the entire system to Oldsmobile, Buick, and Cadillac shoppers.
1985: First Factory-Installed In-Dash CD Player
While Sony had introduced an in-dash player the previous year, Becker’s Mexico Compact Disc was the first to be factory installed (in Benzes, of course).