Saturday Morning Workshop by Johnny Woods

De Tomaso Mangusta Becker Mexico Modifications For Ipod

Recently I have been doing quite a lot of work on Jonathan Root's apple green 'Goose - 8MA1216. This car has never had any kind of radio in it from new and came with the lovely Ghia radio blanking plate mounted in the binnacle.

Jonathan Root found an early 70's (non-working) Becker Mexico 'cassette' on eBay and asked me to install it in the binnacle and make it light up with the dash lights. Jonathan Root doesn't listen to the radio but does like to be able to play his Ipod.

The brief was simple, “I want to look at the Becker but use the Ipod to play my music and I do not want to have speakers in the doors”.

There are a few ways of doing this, the cheapest way is to use an FM Ipod transmitter. This however is not very good sound quality and the Becker is broken anyway. The other way is to buy one of Becker's brand new retro 'Mexico' stereos that has Ipod connectivity but looks like the original 'Mexico' from the 70's. This we quickly dismissed because I have seen one in a Dino and it did not look old.

Jonathan Root found a very small Chinese amp on eBay that had Ipod connectivity. He also bought some Alpine speakers with tweeters and an 'under-the-seat' type of Kenwood subwoofer.

I now had to install all of this in the car and make it disappear, or nearly. Here's how I did it.

1 2. I was very impressed with the build quality of this Becker as I cut it up with my band saw! It even had a beautifully made brass clockwork auto channel seeker. 3. I found I was able to fit the Chinese amp inside the case of the Becker. I then found it was possible to use the original knobs on the Becker to control the volume and on/off of the amp. The on/off was easy because the original volume knob has an on/off switch built into it. I wired the amp and lights through this. I then had to figure out how to connect the other original Becker knob to the volume switch in the amp. I considered miniature universal joints like you see in R/C toys but I did not have any to hand so I used a short piece of Bowden cable instead. This worked very well. I had to solder a piece of brake pipe onto the back of the shaft that attached to the knob and then turn down a brass piece to push over the plastic volume knob on the amp. 4. My pre-war lathe. I have made a lot of stuff on this little F***er! 5. Plastic knob of amp presses into brass piece so that I can connect the cable to it. 6. I added an extra bulb and painted them green of course! 7 8 9. The speakers came with no grills so I pressed some out of ally. 10. Domed a little on sandbag. 11. I made unique aluminium pods to hold the speakers under the dash. They don't need to produce bass because the Kenwood does that. 12. Notice the white Ipod lead. We have since found a black one. 13. Bowden cable attaches Becker volume knob to amp volume knob. I am very pleased with this bit! 14. Speaker pod behind glove box. 15. Speaker behind ignition switch. 16. This Kenwood subwoofer has a built in 150W amp and is very impressive for its size. I mounted it almost out of sight behind the driver's seat so that the driver feels the bass through the seat. 17. Kenwood behind seat. Silly green seat belts. 18. The tweeters are very hard to see in the dark corners of the roof. I am very impressed with the sound quality considering the Chinese amp only cost about £20. The Kenwood provides amazing amounts of bass for its size. I have had tweeters in this location on my Pantera for years and recommend it. 19. Becker Mexico - Made in Germany, destroyed in England, but plays Chinese made Ipod like a Swiss watch!