Comvette - BOSE Replacement Project for 1984 - 1989 Corvettes
Project Overview

BOSE Head Unit Replacement Project

The BOSE Head Unit Replacement Project is for owners of early 4th generation (1984 - 1989) Corvettes equipped with BOSE head units part number 16021351 (1984) and 16041551 (1985-89).

When the 4th generation Corvette was being developed, GM worked with BOSE to create a sound system for the new Corvette. The BOSE sound system was a wildly popular option. Of the 206,218 Corvettes built between 1984 and 1989, 89% were equipped with the BOSE sound system.

Unfortunately a number of factors have conspired to make the BOSE system less attractive and more difficult to service today:

  1. Form factor: General Motors chose to use a 1.5 DIN size head unit. The 1.5 DIN size head units have fallen out of use and have been largely replaced by Single DIN and Double DIN size head units. There are very few aftermarket head units available that will fit in the early C4 dashboard without using filler plates (for Single DIN) or cutting the dashboard (for Double DIN).
  2. Audio interface: The BOSE head unit has only a built-in pre-amp and requires external power amplifiers. The BOSE speakers each have their own built-in power amplifiers. To install a modern head (which has built-in power amplifiers) requires that the new head unit's outputs be attenuated in order to interface with the BOSE speaker units. This has led to many perfectly good BOSE speaker units being removed and replaced with regular speakers.
  3. Aging components: As the BOSE head units are now quite old, many of the parts are difficult to find or unavailable. If you can find service parts, you still have a system that is very out of date.
  4. Advances in technology: The BOSE head unit offered AM/FM Stereo with a cassette deck. Hardly state of the art by todays standards. Most new head units offer AM and FM Stereo tuners, CD players, DVD players, backup cameras, GPS navigation and auxillary inputs.

All of these factors have convinced me that there is a sizable group of C4 owners who could benefit from a drop-in replacement for the BOSE head unit. One that addresses the above issues and is also upgradable as new features are required.

My foremost priority is to build a unit that blends with the "F-14A Tomcat" design asthetic of the early C4's but has today's technology inside. And no dashboard hacks!

Here's a list of items that I want to incorporate into this project over time:

  • FM stereo radio.
  • MP3 audio player.
  • MP4 video player.
  • GPS flight recorder.
  • OBD1 diagnostics display and data logging.
  • Sport seat recliner and bolster control.
  • WiFi for loading MP3/MP4 media from the home network.
  • Cellular connectivity for internet access on the road.
  • Dash-Cam recorder.
  • Backup camera.
  • Smart-Phone and/or Keyfob door and hatch lock/unlock.

It's an ambitious project but if broken down into achievable steps I believe it can be done. The core of the system is a Raspberry Pi micro-computer running Linux. The benefit of having a Linux based computer at its core is that it can customized in ways not yet imagined.

So what do you think?


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