RetroSound Daytona M2 installed in 1970-1981 Firebird Trans Am

Earlier this year I ordered a new RetroSound Daytona M2 radio for my Trans Am to go with the recently acquired 77 dashboard. For those who are not aware, the 70-77 dashboards and the 78-81 dashboards are identical except for the size of the radio opening. In 1978 GM changed the radio size to be narrower, about the height of the newer 1 DIN standard we have today. With the 77 dash I got, the radio opening is slightly higher and since this dash I got was not cut, I didn’t want to cut the better dash up to transfer the CD player over, instead I acquired a more period correct looking radio, the RetroSound Dayton M2 to be specific.

First, take a look at the Aiwa receiver I had in the Trans Am. I believe I purchased this radio in 2003-2004 for my car at the time because it had a high output amp (over 50W x 4), an aux input jack, and it could play mp3’s from CDs essentially expanding the songs I can have on a disc from 12-18 to 120-180. It’s still a great radio but today we have features like Bluetooth and USB ports with a limit of 100,000 songs.

Aiwa CD mp3 player with aux input jack in 1981 Trans Am

The 1977 dash I acquired is red and will soon to be changed to Laudau Black to match the rest of the interior. Other than a couple spots where there are little dents, the dash is in great shape compared to my current 81 dash with the sink hole found under the carpet cover I have on it.

I purchased a new 70-77 stereo bezel and test fit the new RetroSound Daytona M2 radio, it installed like a glove! The RetroSound kit includes a thick strap similar to a pipe strap which I used to attach the back of the stereo inline with the center screw used to hold the ashtray to the dash frame. It works perfectly, the radio is very stiff mounted with just that strap and the 2 radio knob threaded shaft points with the low profile nuts. The knobs cover the nuts and the threads without issue, just like the older radios did in the 60’s and 70’s.

I believe I ordered the kit with the chrome radio knobs, I then ordered a 2nd set of black knobs (4 pieces total) and used the chrome knobs for the back knobs and the black knobs for the front. It gives the radio a clean period correct look. The knobs are heavy steel, which at first felt too heavy but once installed they give you a very positive quality feel to them where-as the cheap plastic knobs commonly found during this time period feel cheap.

Over the winter I plan on installing the newer dash when I install a Vintage Air air conditioning kit. Until then, I decided to pickup a 78-81 radio bezel and for now I installed the RetroSound Daytona radio in my 81 dash. It looks great and only required moving the knobs outward about 1/4″ on each side.

1981 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am dashboard with RetroSound Daytona M2 radio installed

The RetroSound Daytona radio includes 2 aux input jacks as well as 1 USB jack that you can run to your glovebox or let them slide out under your dash. To provide a cleaner look, I purchased an USB and AUX flush mount dash extension panel at the rear of the center console. I picked the rear of the center console because it is not hard to find that back plastic panel found on the back of the 70-81 center consoles, and it is a location no one will notice the jack unless they are literally in the backseat and looking for it.

1970-1981 Center Console back panel with USB/Aux input jack installed for RetroSound Daytona radio

My interior lighting is white. It only took a few taps of the dial and I converted the radio to match the same white color.

1981 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am dashboard with RetroSound Daytona M2 radio with white backlit gauges

Even though the Daytona model is intended for 70-77 dashboards, I would not hesitate to recommend this model also for 78-81 Firebirds and Trans Ams as well.

The RetroSound’s sound quality is excellent. Even though the radio is slightly less powerful than the Awia (45W x 4) it replaced, the volume powers the speakers perfectly and now I have the perks of handsfree calling, Bluetooth, USB drive full of mp3’s, an Aux jack, and now the radio looks period correct too! Great job RetroSound!