Panasonic CQ-VX550

I just bought something I do NOT need for my Montero, and I love it

I already have a radio that works in my 1991 Mitsubishi Montero. It’s a Clarion M508 marine unit that looks simple enough, connects to my phone, and plays music. Basically, it does what you expect of a solid radio. And I’m about to ditch it for something way more interesting; a Panasonic CQ-VX5500.

This is a ridiculous-looking thing. It has a MiniDisc slot, a CD slot, and actual working VU meters. When lit up, it glows orange, which means it matches the interior of my Montero. And it all works. The only thing it’s missing is the remote control. Well, that and the ability to tune to US FM frequencies. Oh, and it doesn’t fit in the current radio opening slot.

But I’m about to solve all that. I’ve had my friend 3D print a double-din opening for my Montero. Next, I’ve ordered a JDM to US radio tuner adapter. Finally, I’ve also ordered an RCA to Bluetooth connection. No, I don’t own one single MiniDisc. Hell, I don’t even have any CDs anymore. And the cost of used minidiscs is… staggering. But I’m stoked to put this into my truck and find a way to make it all work. This is just another adventure in my quest to have the most expensive shitbox out there, and I think I’m doing a damn fine job at it so far.

Once everything is wired up and working, I will post a video showing those beautiful needles doing their dance to my tunes.

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8 responses to “I just bought something I do NOT need for my Montero, and I love it”

  1. PaulE Avatar

    Panasonic also made a version in this series with a *vacuum tube* power amplifier. Not sure about the performance specs, but with tube filaments glowing, that’d be a pretty cool look.

    1. Sjalasonic Avatar

      Wow, what an oddling of a head unit. It’s amazing to see “MP3” printed next to a vacuum tube. Everyone I know who has a stereo with vacuum tubed, barfs at the mention of this acronym.

    2. crank_case Avatar

      Given how delicate and expensive valves tend to be, I’m not sure I’d want one in a car. They’re a big enough pain in hi-fis or guitar amps.

  2. mdharrell Avatar

    “No, I don’t own one single MiniDisc.”

    I don’t have one for the player in my Maestro, either, but I’ve learned to accept that.

    1. crank_case Avatar

      A man who can accept owning a Maestro can accept a lot of things.

  3. Batshitbox Avatar


    “Once everything is wired up and working…”

    Let me introduce you to my Sansui QR6500, and my Dynaco FM-3, and my Heathkit HW-9, and my galena crystal cat whisker tuner that doesn’t even have any wires but I still have never heard make a peep.

    I bought a Sony CDX-M10 marine audio unit in 2003 and I still haven’t owned a car with a sound system in it since 1992; the Sony’s in the box just over there. The closest I got was mounting a 100 watt Ham Radio transmitter and two antennae to my motorcycle.

  4. outback_ute Avatar

    I don’t imagine anyone made a Laser Disc car audio system? Or perhaps add a pop-out screen…

  5. BobWellington Avatar

    That’s awesome! It’s such a shame there were so few classy looking aftermarket headunits.

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