Yes, AM/FM/cassette/CB radios were a thing in 1981!

, Can a Malaise Era Factory Cadillac CB Radio Be Revived?
Murilee Martin

I’ve been crawling around in car graveyards since I got my first car in 1980, and in all that time I never spotted one of the legendary, elusive factory CB radios (generally, but not always, part of all-in-one head units that included AM/FM and maybe even 8-track or cassette) that went into some American cars during the middle 1970s through early 1980s. They were far more expensive and less versatile than aftermarket CBs back then, and so few purchased them as factory options. Then, it happened:

, Can a Malaise Era Factory Cadillac CB Radio Be Revived?
Murilee Martin

I found this loaded (and I mean completely loaded) 1981 Cadillac Sedan de Ville d’Elegance in a Denver-area yard, equipped with the trouble-prone V8-6-4 engine, and as soon as I saw the CB switch on the radio face and a GM-branded microphone dangling under the dash, I knew.

, Can a Malaise Era Factory Cadillac CB Radio Be Revived?
Cadillac Division, General Motors

In 1981, buyers of new Cadillacs got an AM/FM stereo radio as standard equipment. Most buyers moved up to the AM/FM/cassette version (8-track was considered quite obsolete by the early 1980s), which cost an extra 290 bucks (about $987 in inflation-adjusted 2022 dollars). If you wanted to start squawking out ten-codes to the truckers, you had to shell out $495 for the AM/FM/8-track/CB or a high-roller $560 for the AM/FM/cassette CB ($1685 and $1906 in today’s dollars).

, Can a Malaise Era Factory Cadillac CB Radio Be Revived?
Murilee Martin

I found the original Monroney window sticker still in the glovebox, which is how I know that the original purchaser of this car (at Lou Thompson Cadillac in Lakewood, Colorado) didn’t hold back on the options. Interestingly, this car started life with just the $290 AM/FM/cassette deck, which means the CB-equipped version went in at some later time. Don’t worry, you’ll get the full story on this car in a future Junkyard Treasure post.

, Can a Malaise Era Factory Cadillac CB Radio Be Revived?
Murilee Martin

Such classy (fake) wood radio knobs! I knew this radio and all associated hardware would soon be mine.

, Can a Malaise Era Factory Cadillac CB Radio Be Revived?
Murilee Martin

Since I always have my all-purpose lightweight junkyard toolbox (plus an old film camera or three) with me on such trips, I got to work on extracting what I needed. The CB itself lives in a separate box deep in the guts of the dash area, connected via cables to the radio head unit and antenna splitter.

, Can a Malaise Era Factory Cadillac CB Radio Be Revived?
Murilee Martin

Because I have plans to build a junkyard-parts boombox around this radio, I had to grab everything (except the power antenna, which is a real pain to extract and had a snapped-off mast anyway). Here we see the head unit, CB box, microphone, antenna switcher, and cables.

, Can a Malaise Era Factory Cadillac CB Radio Be Revived?
Murilee Martin

Because the radio bezel would be needed for a good-looking boombox, I grabbed that as well. Total cost for everything: a few cents under 50 bucks. Colorado Auto & Parts has excellent prices.

, Can a Malaise Era Factory Cadillac CB Radio Be Revived?
Murilee Martin

I set it up on my workbench and prepared to hook it up to power and a CB antenna.

What happened? You’ll need to watch the video to find out.

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