C5 Corvette Double Din Upgrade (Post SEMA 2021)

I love writing about something that I have a strong opinion on. I used to be totally against aftermarket components to upgrade a classic car. This was especially true with my fully restored C5 Corvette. However, I drive my C5, not as my main transportation, but I like to go out to clubs, casinos, and social events and enjoy arriving in my C5 and the attention I get.

However, after my three day coverage of SEMA 2021 (First since SEMA 2019 due to COVID-19) I came to the conclusion that I needed to upgrade the sound system. I wanted to do the minimal upgrade to so that I could have (1) the safety of Blue Tooth handsfree, (2) The enjoyment of XM Sirius Radio (sports, and music) and (3) GPS Navigation. As a bonus I saw a demonstration during my coverage of SEMA in 2019 of Apple Car play and since I only use Apple devices this was a “must have” for me. The DVD player is a cool option, but I don’t much are to sit in my car and watch a movie while parked. It would be a great feature for an RV.

The big problem is that all these features come in a large package and my single din setup did not have the space to accommodate the Pioneer DVD player I wanted. I did not want to change the speakers as the C5 Corvette comes with a custom tuned BOSE speaker system with individual factory amps. It sounds so good that I did not want to mess with perfection. I also wanted anything I did to be fully reversible so that my modifications were just temporary should I want to go back to fully factory original.

After scouring the floor at SEMA I chose the Metra DP-3021B (MSRP: $180.00) as it had the texture and color that best matched the OEM version. It did not have a cover for the drink holder or the ashtray/cig lighter area. I had the OEM cig lighter replaced with a plug and play dual USB port so that I could charge a USB device as well as connect directly to the Pioneer head unit to integrate Apply Car Play. I am a minimalist and I did not want any major changes. The results are soft and subtle and only a true Corvette enthusiast would notice the difference.

I had the work done by Best Buy Geek Squad in Henderson Nevada. They were awesome and took great care during the 5 hour “operation”. They have done work on a dozen plus cars for my family and we have never had a problem.

Before C5 Double Din Mod

The results are fantastic. The Apple Car play as I noted in my SEMA 2019 review is a game changer. I basically have my radio head display/mirror my iPhone but it does more than that. My touch screen controls my phone and I can set volume, answer the phone without distraction. The DVD player only works when parked for drivers safety.

All in all I am very pleased with this modification and the fact that I can return it in a few hours to factory original. There was zero cutting and the wiring was done by a plug and play adapter. I also installed a 12 VDC plugin USB adapter in my console aux port so I can charge my portable USB Battery Bank when I am driving.

My car looks virtually unspoiled just as the designers at Corvette envisioned. I am sure they would approve.

See photo BELOW of me next to my C5 near the Pacific Ocean in Northern California near Bodega Bay. My good friend Barbara Yoder took this photo just after the famous Summer Home Park car rally in the Russian River wine country in July.

By, April Fischer – Automotive Technology Specialist