Oldest Car Amps in Operation? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 29 Old 01-20-2009, 02:49 PM - Thread Starter
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I've got a pair of Kenwood car amplifiers that I bought very early in the 1980's. Model numbers KAC-8200 and KAC-7020. They are currently installed in my 1998 Mazda Protege, but were originally installed in my brand new 1981 Chevy Citation. They have outlasted several vehicles and their combined age is over 50 years old.

I am inclined to believe that these may very well be the oldest car amplifiers in operation. See pics.

Am I wrong? Do you have, or know of anybody using amplifiers as old as the ones I have?

Enjoy.
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post #2 of 29 Old 03-09-2009, 10:34 PM
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Got me beat. I am putting a new Clarion cx609 in my '06 GTO and I will be using 200w per channel Sony amp that I bought new in '88 (for the subs) and a 40w per channel Realistic (radio shack) amp that I got in '89. Vintage stuff- gotta love it!
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post #3 of 29 Old 04-01-2009, 11:17 AM
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I'm running some Hi-Fonics amps In my Mustang from about 1990 - Man, thats 19 years ago! I'm getting old. - Jim
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post #4 of 29 Old 04-01-2009, 01:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Toorad4u View Post

I'm running some Hi-Fonics amps In my Mustang from about 1990 - Man, thats 19 years ago! I'm getting old. - Jim

Same here. Well actually I sold my Odin & Pluto to a buddy but he is still running them hard to this day. Those old skool Hi-Fonics amps were the BEST! I got mine back in '88.

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post #5 of 29 Old 04-05-2009, 01:23 PM
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got a couple of older Rockford Fosgate PUNCH 75 amps from the late 80's, not installed in anything anymore though..........
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post #6 of 29 Old 04-08-2009, 04:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by timtimes View Post

I've got a pair of Kenwood car amplifiers that I bought very early in the 1980's. Model numbers KAC-8200 and KAC-7020. They are currently installed in my 1998 Mazda Protege, but were originally installed in my brand new 1981 Chevy Citation. They have outlasted several vehicles and their combined age is over 50 years old.

I am inclined to believe that these may very well be the oldest car amplifiers in operation. See pics.

Am I wrong? Do you have, or know of anybody using amplifiers as old as the ones I have?

Enjoy.

You have me beat my PPI amps are from 94.

JohnG
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post #7 of 29 Old 04-09-2009, 01:46 PM
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HAHA this thread rules

we seriously need more pictures

2.0 > 7.1
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post #8 of 29 Old 04-20-2009, 10:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnGZ28 View Post

You have me beat my PPI amps are from 94.

Are those the old ART series amps by chance? Still the best amps IME ever...

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post #9 of 29 Old 05-18-2009, 01:06 PM
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I'm trying to find manuals for my old Hafler MA-1 and MA-4 amplifiers as I read this. These are pre-Rockford Fosgate models.
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post #10 of 29 Old 05-20-2009, 12:25 PM
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I have a Pioneer GM H-100 still in active use in Mustang. This isn't a pic of mine specifically, but is an identical model.



I've had to tear the thing apart several times and re-wire it as it overheated and died. It started out in my 1981 Toyota carolla station wagon. Big pimpin'. Bought it new in 1991, it's been through three different cars. Still bridged mono driving a SVS sub that I pulled from my 16-46i when I upgraded it. For 160W, it does a good job.

My Theater Build Thread Loganed 11/27/08
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post #11 of 29 Old 05-25-2009, 03:52 PM - Thread Starter
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I was selling those the year you bought yours!! I remember them well. That GM-H100 was the big dog of the group if I recall. I remember selling a whole boatload of the smaller variety GM-40's. Pioneer was very boastful of their power ratings. If I remember, the GM-40's were actually rated something like 17 watts/channel at 5% distortion!

Thanks for the feedback and the memories, but both my Kenwood Amps are about a decade older than yours. They are so old that they didn't even have RCA inputs on them!! Instead, there were specialty DIN cables that connected up with proprietary Kenwood head units of the era. I had to buy DIN to RCA converters for them way back when. Sure glad I did because I doubt they even make them anymore.

Pioneer, at the time I got my Kenwood stuff in the early 80's, also sold a line of amplifiers with a very weird proprietary connector. I was unable to find info in the vast internets, and my memory of the model numbers fail me. What I do remember is that the connector was a couple inches in diameter and once seated with a matching head unit was secured by screwing the two connectors together.

Adapters to convert these amplifiers to RCA input were made in later years (and they were expensive!!). We used to get a chuckle, even back in the early 90's (when I was still in retail audio) when somebody would come in with one of these troglodyte Pioneer amplifiers they bought at a pawn shop or garage sale for $20 looking for the adapters. When they were still available they were ridiculously expensive and people wanting to purchase them had no idea whether the amp they bought even worked or not! Few wanted to invest in such a gamble.

I'm still looking for somebody to top my ancient Kenwoods? Until then I'm King of the Antique Car Amps (OF THE WORLD!....bitches.)

Enjoy.

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post #12 of 29 Old 05-25-2009, 07:10 PM
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Pic of mine installed, still chugging away:


My Theater Build Thread Loganed 11/27/08
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post #13 of 29 Old 05-26-2009, 11:52 AM
 
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When we competed back in the 80's, we bought several ORION amplifiers and speakers.

We still have several sets of 225 HCCA -
250 HCCA -
2150 HCCA-

Several sets of the XTR 2150 and 2250 SX

The weak link was the transistors, it had ones that were made by GE, back in the 70's - 80's.

We replaced them with a newer / heavier version of that transistor and added several cooling fans and the problems went away. Most times we ran them at 3/4 ohm or less.

So you are talking 10 amplifiers with a average age of 21 years old that still works as good as the day they were new.

I quit using them when I lost my hearing.

I also have several sets of lifetime guaranteed 12 inch DVC subs that are as much as 21 years old. We ran as much as 1000 watts through them for hours at a time for 15 years and never blew out out.

Most times the only problem you had was punching a hole in the cone.

Orion ate punch for lunch. Rockford Fosgate was their closest competition at that time.

When the MTX crap came out - Blue Thunder series - we got out of stereo competition, because all the class had left the sport.
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post #14 of 29 Old 05-28-2009, 02:39 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TornadoTJ View Post

I'm trying to find manuals for my old Hafler MA-1 and MA-4 amplifiers as I read this. These are pre-Rockford Fosgate models.

Best I can tell, Hafler is not quite old enough to beat my Kenwood's. FWIW, the Hafler website is still up and has manuals for a lot of stuff. Sadly, I did not see the model numbers you list or I would have provided you a direct link. There is an email address and some support info at the following. Not sure if it will help?

http://www.hafler.com/home/

Enjoy.

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post #15 of 29 Old 06-11-2009, 07:28 AM
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The oldest one I have seen is an old Zapco 150L with an Energy Storage Module and a Phantom power Supply.
I installed it for a friend in his 64 El Camino.
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post #16 of 29 Old 06-11-2009, 10:14 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hotwaterwizard View Post

The oldest one I have seen is an old Zapco 150L with an Energy Storage Module and a Phantom power Supply.
I installed it for a friend in his 64 El Camino.

Looks like the Zapco model you note is a possible contender for world's oldest operational car amp, as it fits within the time-frame of the early eighties when I got my Kenwood amps. However, I am still claiming title to that crown, since you are not making the claim for yourself, and there is no information on exactly when you last saw these in actual operation. The rules are extremely clear on this (I make them up as I go along ).

To qualify for the title of owning the world's oldest car amps requires the actual USER of said amps to come out of the internet ether. I am not disrespecting your personal story, just noting that for purposes of actual debate, owner of said amp must make the claim. You may be able to contact him and let his know of this thread?

Research as to the exact date of manufacture of any contending amplifier must be offered and noted. Purchase receipts on original amps not necessary (but would be super cool) nor is the owner of any contending amp required to be the original purchaser (although in my case I am.)

I retain the right to settle any and all disputes or claims among participants since I made this whole thing up in the first place. Vested interest aside, I will be a humble and honest ruler....err....judge.

Enjoy.

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post #17 of 29 Old 06-11-2009, 07:33 PM
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Since we make the rules up as we go . Here is a rule of claim. You must be the one to own the thing before you can claim the faim.
Myself I run a 1980s Pyramid PB300 Amplifier. 75 watts Per Channel.
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post #18 of 29 Old 06-13-2009, 08:27 AM - Thread Starter
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You must be owner. How to determine exact date on your Pyramid amp? I got my Kenwood amps late 1980 (Christmas actually).

Enjoy.

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post #19 of 29 Old 06-14-2009, 10:31 PM
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An old Soundstream D100 II, that I used to power a single sub ( 10" and 12") in at least 3 cars I owned. The darn amp is older than some of the employees that work for me! Still runs like a champ!

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post #20 of 29 Old 06-15-2009, 12:13 PM - Thread Starter
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Definitely old school, but not a contender for oldest. Amp reviewed in 1988:
Quote:
May 1988
Yamaha CDV-1000 CD/video disc player
Kenwood KRC-858 car receiver/cassette deck
NEC A-910 integrated amplifier
Ohm Sound Cylinder speaker
Soundstream D-100 car power amplifier

http://www.roger-russell.com/magrevhf2.htm

Enjoy.

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post #21 of 29 Old 06-16-2009, 07:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Orange Skullz View Post

got a couple of older Rockford Fosgate PUNCH 75 amps from the late 80's, not installed in anything anymore though..........

woo-hoo!

I'm about to put an old school Punch 150 in my 2008 Mustang. Gonna run a sub off of it.
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post #22 of 29 Old 09-12-2011, 12:20 AM - Thread Starter
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Just a note to update this old thread. Those Kenwood amps were removed from my Mazda before I left the US. They are now with me in Europe. I have plans to build a custom moped/bicycle cargo trailer to hold the amps, a big ass battery and speakers. Might be early next year before I get to redeploy them, but they were still working flawlessly when I snatched them out of my Mazda, and since they obviously cannot be killed, I'm sure they are still fine.

Enjoy.

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post #23 of 29 Old 09-15-2011, 04:55 PM
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It's amazing how much cleaner the old car amplifiers are compared to the crap that they sell today. There's a soundsteam amp, in (if I remember correctly) pink that is probably one of the most beautiful amps I've ever seen. Oh... the memories.
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post #24 of 29 Old 09-15-2011, 11:47 PM - Thread Starter
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The old stuff used a lot more discrete (non integrated circuit) technology and I think it makes for a better sound. For the record, I think the first amplifier I bought for any vehicle I owned was in about 1977. At that point in history, the only amps available were 'booster' type amps that you added to the speaker leads to re-amplify the already distorted cheap amp output from the radio's amp. I believe I paid about thirty bucks for an audiovox(?) branded booster amp that I installed in my Fiat 850 Spyder convertible just so I could HEAR the radio with the top down. I do not remember the claimed wattage rating, but whatever was listed as top output power must have been rated at 20 percent distortion levels. The unit was physically no bigger than several packs of playing cards and mounted under the dash.

Enjoy.

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post #25 of 29 Old 09-20-2011, 11:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blindbug View Post

It's amazing how much cleaner the old car amplifiers are compared to the crap that they sell today.

Very true - no chrome, no blue flashing lights, no fans, no odd shaped heatsinks, no silly knobs... just clean blocks of metal.

Other then looks the other thing I miss is regulated power supplies, my old HiFonics amps generated the same power between 11.5 to 14.5 volts. However todays amps are unregulated so their power varies, this can be advantage but only if you've got the juice. I guess the flip side is we now have Class D and they are more efficient. Also today amps are so much easier to connect up with large gauge wire and built in speaker connections.

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post #26 of 29 Old 10-20-2011, 03:18 PM
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I have a pretty good collection of amps. I pretty much stayed with anything made by Steve Mantz. He built autotek, orion, hifonics,...all the big names. Personally, I prefer autotek, but I have fond memories of my hifonics thor series VII. It's pretty depressing to see what cheap knockoffs some of these companies have become. I personally believe my 1990 autotek 44 could destroy a 2011 autotek 1000. They underrated the amps so much back in the day.
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post #27 of 29 Old 08-26-2012, 01:23 AM
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I am back as The Tim Channel (aka timtimes). Just wanted to update this post to let everyone know that both of those amplifiers are still going strong, having been ripped out of my car and taken to Europe with me several years ago. They are now redeployed into a portable stereo system powered by a 12 v car battery. I am in the process of making it mobile (for my moped) by adding wheels and a tow bar. I keep it down at the barn to jam out with my horse since it is impractical to run a high wattage sound system in the neighborhood I live. Pix later. Right now I am at the house and it is raining outside. No time at the barn (or on the moped) today unless things improve a bit.

I doubt that anybody has any older amps in operation, since nobody could beat me several years ago. As time goes on, my crown just keeps getting more shine on it.






Enjoy.
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post #28 of 29 Old 04-16-2013, 09:33 AM
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I am running a KAC-8200 in my boat right now.
But I am begining to think it is time to replace it. Because at high volume it starts cutting off and on.
I have a newer Kenwood running my Sub and it never cuts off. But the 8200 has had a full life, out lasted a '73 cutlass then a '70 442 olds the a '92 chevy truck and a '95 blazer then a '02 chevy truck and now a boat. Think its time to move on.
It will be missed.
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post #29 of 29 Old 04-16-2013, 11:18 AM
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hifonics odin, and soundstream d100II for me... cleaned up.jpg 117k .jpg file odin VII.jpg 101k .jpg file

Tim
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