Most cars started to get Bluetooth built in about 2009 or 2010. That means we’re into about 13 years of cars with built-in Bluetooth, but it also means that there were about, oh, a hundred years of cars without Bluetooth. Among them are some very sought-after gems (like the ’67 Eldorado I wrote about a while back.) It’s not hard to refit a modern radio to an older car, but you just might not want to do it if you’re trying to keep your car stock. I can’t blame you.
But, having a sweet old ride doesn’t mean you can’t listen to the newest tunes. While most of us connect our phones and cars up using Bluetooth, there is another way.
This is the other way
This is C. Crane’s Full Spectrum Digital FM Transmitter. With it, you can connect anything with a headphone jack and broadcast it to anything with an FM tuner. (And yes, I know not every old car has one. But you have to draw the line somewhere.)
This technology isn’t new, but C. Crane does it right. Unlike older models, you can choose the broadcast frequency so that it doesn’t interfere with local radio stations. More importantly, this is a serious piece of gear. This isn’t like those “sparkomatic” adapters you might have seen in the past. This is a well-built piece of equipment that pumps out enough signal to be heard for 45 feet. That’s the maximum legal limit, by the way. I’ve seen some transmitters that claim to go up to a quarter mile but there’s no way they are legal.
Instant party, just add signal
With something like this C. Crane device, the tunes can be pumping out of your car radio or any other source you have. It’s rugged enough to take with you on a trip and it can be operated outdoors in good weather. You can power it with AA batteries, too, meaning fewer wires and fewer problems. It does come with an AC adapter if you choose to go that way, though.
Not for everyone but…
Yes, this is a sort of special purpose solution. It’s not going to appeal to everyone. If you’re in a late model ride with Bluetooth, CarPlay, Android Auto, and all the extras, you’ll probably just use that. But that’s not everyone. Plenty of folks have cars without Bluetooth. Even folks with older Bluetooth systems may still benefit here, because Bluetooth technology has changed a lot since it first came out. That 2010 Prius just may not pair up with your new phone the way it should. That’s just the way technology marches… calling it like it is.