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Days of Our Car Audio
Dear Diary

Spring/Summer 1998

I hear an ad on the radio for a new company called Daewoo that is planning on entering the US market. Part of their pitch was a trip to Korea, and then promoting the cars on college campuses around the US. Being that I subscribe to like 10 car related magazines (Racer, Car and Driver, Road and Track, Automobile, AutoWeek, Sport Car Compact, Max Speed, and more), I figured this might be my chance to get in on the ground floor of an automobile company. I recieve confirmation that I had been selected for this program. I am excited.

Get married, go on honeymoon, come back and within the week I am on a plane to South Korea. I hadn't realized what a long flight that this would be. Sat in couch, still not over the jetlag from my honeymoon (went to Europe) and now I'm going to the other side of the world.

Spend a week in Korea on a whirlwind tour, visiting Daewoo's Automotive, TV/VCR, Armored Personel carrier and other manufacturing plants. I got a chance to see one of the most modern automotive factories in the world (Ford has a plant that is almost as old as the Model T itself.). 90%+ automated, with the ability to assemble three different types of Nubiras (4 door, 5 door and wagons) all at the same time. I was impressed. Also got to ride in an Armored Personel Carrier on the training track they used at the factory.

On the last day in Korea, I did some shopping. I started to realize that alot of the people who signed up for this program were extending there stays and visiting family. I wanted to do the same, but there was no flights out. I was kinda bummed. The only real free time I spent in Korea was a few hours in Itaewon shopping district. I was hanging out with three other guys from Southern California, and we all headed back to the airport to catch our flight back. We get on the plane, and the stewardess tells us she is sorry, but we can't all sit together. That is when three of us get sent up to business class. We got a choice of dinner, movies, and a really nice comfortable seat. The 4th guy got stuck near the lavatory, and every time someone was waiting for the bathroom, they blocked his view of the movie.

I get back and then I wait. I had just been to what I considered Daewoo boot camp, and I was ready to go out and start doing what we were trained to do. School was starting, but nothing was happening.

Fall/Winter 1998

Part of the promotion was for college students to have a free test drive for 90 days, to promote the car and to get them on the road. I had a '92 Nissan Sentra SE-R at that point that unfortunately I had abused to the point that it was time for a new car. Since the cars were going to be used after the 90 day drive, Daewoo offered a discount if you purchased the car, with the discount getting smaller the longer you kept the car.

It seemed that Daewoo was having some issues with insuring that many people, driving that many cars that technically didn't belong to the driver, and to top it off most of the people driving were young.

At some point in September or October, Daewoo decided that it was going to have to increase the amount of the cars on the road to build a critical mass. To do this, they offered a 50% discount off of the price of the car to any of the Daewoo Campus Advisors (our official title). When I heard about this, I knew I would be getting one.

After looking at the price points, the best value was the Daewoo Leganza SE with a 5 speed. Next best was any of the Nubira models. I go down to my local dealership, and am informed that the pickings are somewhat slim as far as 5 speeds (I HAD to have a 5 speed, especially in a car like this which doesn't have a ton of torque). I wasn't sure what to do. I figured I would drive a Leganza Automatic, and if I liked it I would get it. I didn't like the automatic at all. So I drove a Nubira 5 speed. I liked the way it drove with the 5 speed, and it was relatively powerful for such a small car.

For shits and giggles, I call up the nearest 3 Daewoo dealers to see what they had in stock. The manager at the Huntington Beach store tells me that they have a big inventory and that he will spend the time to look in the computer to see what models he was getting and call me if a Leganza 5 speed showed up. If not, he would set aside a Nubira 4 door in Silver or Blue with a 5 speed. I was getting the car I wanted, or so I thought. I showed up on the fateful day to pick up my car (I went with a nice blue color). Then I look around in the lot and I can't find my car. All the Nubiras were black, but not a blue one in sight. Turns out the car was a DARK blue (so dark it was hard to tell in the shade on a sunny day). I was bummed. I had been told the Leganza 5 speeds were still having issues with emissions, so there were none to be had. I had been asking for weeks, so I figured one more time wouldn't hurt. Saleswoman tells me that they just got the first one in, and it was in white. I took it for a drive, and then I decided that it was the car for me.

Why did I pick this car? It was big (its about the size of a Accord or Camry), it was cheap ($8300 out the door) and it had alot of room for stereo equipment.

Spring/Summer/Winter/Fall 1999

Well, I get the car, put a ton of miles on it and nothing really happens to the car. The stereo pretty much stays stock (a high powered tape deck, with 6" x 9" coaxials in the back, 6.5" coaxials in the front doors, and a .5" mylar tweeter in the dash). I leave the car pretty much unmolested this entire time, both out of the fear that I wouldn't be able to get parts, and because I was waiting to put something nice in when I had a garage and more money. I still accumulate some stereo equipment to put into this ride, but nothing that I want to put in until I do it right.

Was selling stuff on ebay for a local shop, mostly old stock, trade ins, stuff never picked up from repair, etc. At the end of the summer I start working at the shop full time, thinking of all the money I could save by buying equipment at cost.

I buy a Zapco AG650 amp for the car, as well as a Rockford 8140 and matching changer. Figured I would be going balanced from the deck to the trunk. Between the head unit/changer and the amp I'm out about $800 (which isn't bad for what I got). Decide that I might get an AG1000 later.

Change my mind. Sell the Rockford setup. Sell the amp back to the shop for what I paid for it. Put money in bank for the rainy day when I buy the Sony stuff at 75% off.

Spring 2000

Decide I'm going to get the ball rolling. Friend at Esoteric Audio sends me a couple cans of noisekiller to try out. Decide I was going to sound deaden the rear driver's side door as well as the trunk, and rear deck. Put a couple layers of the noisekiller on the floor of the trunk, on the trunk lid, and on the passenger side door. Put two layers of Hot Mat on the rear deck and rear C pillars. Take out rear 6" x 9".

2 months later (at least) I install a Alpine CTA-1502 Tuner/Changer Controller and a Alpine CHA-624 changer. Run into stock speakers up front. Bought it cheap. Keep it in the car for a while, then sell it on Ebay.

Car goes a few weeks with no stereo. Wife starts getting pissed (she was driving it while I was messing with her car).

Summer 2000

Decide I'm quitting my job at the local stereo shop. Figure out I only have three more semesters in School if I bust my ass.

Sony has a great deal for employees, so I order about $4000 bucks worth of stuff for a little over $1200. Get a DVD player for my home, and a bunch of car audio.

New plan "A" for system.
DEI three ways up front
4 10" DEI competition woofers in the trunk
Sony CDX-c90 with XDP-4000
2 Sony XM-7557 5 channel amps in the trunk
Lots of sound deadener and Tiff wiring.

Fall 2000

I take the minidisc player out of my wife's sentra and put it in the Daewoo. Bought this as a back up for my stereo in case it breaks. Wife is driving Daewoo more than I am, since I tinkered with suspension on her car. I put the CDX-c90 in the Sentra.

I like the Minidisc format alot. Can carry lots of music in a little space. Decide that next system is going to have to have a minidisc player and or changer in it.

Winter/Spring 2001


Go to the electronics show. Notice that Sony has a MDLP (Mindisic Long Play) in-dash deck but no changer that will allow up to 5 hours on one minidisc. Decide I will be getting one of the MDLP decks, if not one of the changers.

Not much on the car front. I had bought some used Arc Audio amps (a pair of 4050 CXLs and a 2500CXL). They finally arrived after a long delay at the post office. They got banged up on the way here. I'm somewhat bummed. Tempted to get them powdercoated in white to match the car.

Febuary 12

Car had been making a funny noise at startup. Sounded like starter wasn't engaging completely, or disengaging completely. I took it in for service. This is the first time they had ever had to replace a starter at the dealer. Takes three days. While I'm down there, I find out a manufacturer called rimmer makes a supercharger kit for the car. $3000 installed, and it can put out up to 200 horsepower. I was interested.

Send payment in for a Coustic 8" bass pump. Always wanted to try one of these. Thinking that it will work well firing through the 6 x 9 inch hole in the rear deck. For those who haven't seen it, its a freeair system that takes a pair of 8" woofers, mounts them on a vent that fires through a small hole usually mounted in the rear deck.

Also recieve a Aura 6 x 50 amp. Still not sure what direction the car is going. Do I want to go full SQ type, with all the added weight and junk like that, or do I want to save up and get a supercharger? I'm not sure anymore.
So far, plan "A" is as follow:

1 Coustic 8" Bass Pump in the rear deck, either through the stock 6" x 9" holes in the trunk or in the middle of the rear deck.
1 Pair of DEI 6.5" studio 3065 in the front doors, mounted coaxially.
All powered by an Aura 6 x 50 amp mounted in the trunk, up against one side of the folding back seat (so I can fold down both seats, but only pass stuff through the 60% open side.
And a new Sony Minidisc player and Changer in the trunk or under on of the seats.

Plan "B" is a little bit more involved.
4 10" DEI Competition 10" woofers in a big sealed box, probably in the spare tire well
3 way seperates up front in the doors and kickpanels
Sony XES or Clarion ADCS-1 in the dash
2 Arc Audio 4 x 50 4050cxl amps
1 Arc Audio 1000 x 1 2500cxl amp running the subs
Lots of sound deadener and Tiff wiring.

Have to wait to see how job interviews go. Maybe I can get the performance and a nice stereo. I'll still have to see.


Well, not much work on the car audio front. I'm still in the air as far as what I'm doing with both cars. I'm busy as hell, and just pulled out the C90 out of my Sentra and put it away. The other car hasn't changed much, but the front speakers seem to be failing, so I'm going to be changing those soon.