Porsche offers to put modern tech in the dash of your classic 911 | Engadget
From the horse’s mouth
Those of you who are keeping that legendary Porsche 911 alive may want to have a multimedia system that has the best of both worlds – something that doesn’t look out of place in your sport’s car’s dashboard yet is able to work smoothly with your smartphone.
This is rather than maintaining the Becker, Blaupunkt or Eurovox radio that came with the car and coupling your smartphone to a cassette adaptor or, worse still, an FM transmitter to have it work with the radio; using a Parrot multimedia smartphone adaptor installed between the existing radio and the speakers; or running a third-party head unit that may be considered by some to be out-of-place in the sports machine’s dashboard.
This radio is manufactured for Porsche Classic which is a division within Porsche that focuses on supporting the fleet of classic Porsche sports cars still on the road in that “stylish yet cool” manner. Activities include supplying original spare parts, technical literature and specially-refined motor oil for Porsches over 10 years old, and they even engage in restoration work to make these cars be young again.
The new radio that Porsche offers maintains the traditional car-radio look with two knobs flanking a control-panel “nose-piece” in the centre that typically had the dial and push-buttons for a radio and a tape slot and applicable transport controls radios that had a tape player. This layout was common for equipment installed in cars of the 70s and before with cars issued since the early 1980s having radios with controls that were located across the unit’s face. But there are six short-cut buttons on the outside and a colour touchscreen on the inside.
It has an FM RDS radio optimised to work with OEM whip aerial along with integrated sat-nav function with the data stored on a MicroSD card. As we; the radio can be connected to a USB memory stick or iPod full of music; as well as serving as a Bluetooth handsfree unit for a mobile phone. There was scant mention of whether it can do Bluetooth A2DP-compliant multimedia playback.
At the moment, the price for this radio is EUR€1184 VAT inclusive with the premium being for integration to the Porsche legacy. I also see this as a way to allow older drivers who spent most of their driving career through the 1960s to the 1980s or people who grew up with these drivers maintain the “comfort zone” associated with the traditional car-radio layout.
Porsche’s effort with this radio could be the start of a big question on how car-audio manufacturers and vehicle builders can court the classic-car scene with today’s technology and will come to the fore while people like retired mechanics see the idea of fixing up and driving classic cars including members of the 1960s-1980s fleet as a viable hobby. Here, this could be about maintaining that look that complements the classic car’s dashboard. Similarly, it is also about vehicle builders who want to keep in touch with their moving legacy.