mustang replacement radio

Replacing the radio in your 65 or 66 mustang

If you’re looking for a guide on how to choose and install a replacement radio in your 1965 or 1966 Mustang, you’ve come to the right place. In this post, we’ll go into some options for radios and explain how to install one correctly.

1965 and 1966 mustang radio replacement

Setting the scene…

65 and 66 Mustangs originally came with one of two audio options: just AM radio or an AM radio/8-track combo. The dash cut-out is very specific, so not just any replacement model will fit. My original radio required only 6v ‘always on’ power, and had no memory function. For a modern replacement radio with memory functions, you will need both 12v ‘always on’ power and 12v switched power.

Choosing a replacement radio

Nowadays, we have quite a few more options at our disposal. Reproduction radios are available with Bluetooth, aux, satellite, USB, and other options. I’m a bit of a purist, so I like to stay as low-tech as possible. On the other hand, I’m not a masochist, so I decided to go for a simple AM/FM radio with one small concession: an AUX headphone jack (hidden and accessible in the ashtray) so I can plug in an MP3 player or phone. I opted for the USA-230 model from Custom Autosound, which set me back about 170 dollars. The following installation instructions are based on that specific model, although I imagine it will apply to most other models as well.

The installation

Installing a replacement radio in your 65 or 66 Mustang is not that hard. Just follow this procedure:

  1. Preparing your workspace: to have access to all components it’s best to open your instrument panel, remove the ashtray and remove the glove compartment door and liner.
  2. Replacing the radio: be careful to label all wires when disconnecting the old radio. Remove the old radio carefully via the glove compartment and insert the new radio the same way
  3. Main power wire: (RED wire) connect to a 12V power source that turns on/off with the ignition. I hooked this one up to the wire behind the ignition key.
  4. Memory back-up wire: (ORANGE wire) connect to a 12V power source that is always on, like the cigarette lighter.
  5. Antenna wire: (YELLOW wire) connect to the positive connection of the antenna.
  6. Ground wire: (BLACK wire) connect to any paint-free area of the car chassis.
  7. Speaker wire: this one kinda speaks for itself.
  8. AUX jack: I connected the R/L jacks for the aux at the rear, and lead the wire through the back of the ashtray. As I don’t smoke in the car, the ashtray now neatly hides my aux jack.

For completeness’ sake, here’s a direct link to the (installation) manual of the radio I bought: https://customautosoundmfg.com/uploads/UG_radio-230.pdf

Did this post help you? Do you have experience with this subject? Share your thoughts or ask a question in the comments section!

6 thoughts on “Replacing the radio in your 65 or 66 mustang”

  1. Hi – Thanks for the site!
    I am curious about your statement of the original options. My 65 convertible has an AM only radio. No FM and no 8-track. I have no way of knowing what came in it from the factory…

    Reply
    • Hi Kevin! Thanks for your question, it got me wondering. I dit some fact-checking and turns out I was indeed wrong: there was no FM option at the time. The only two options available were: 1) AM only radio or 2) AM only radio and 8-track. Thanks for the catch, I will be updating the article accordingly!

      Reply
  2. Thanks a lot, this guide really helped me. I made the installation with one small change: i hooked both power wires to my cigarette lighter. The reason for this is that the ‘wire behind the ignition key’ was actually a clump of wiring and it was very difficult to splice one off or even to know which one to use. Everything works fine though and I’m not to worried by battery drain as I always disconnect my battery when the car is parked.

    Reply

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