Price is always a factor when making any type of purchase. Seeing the words "SALE" often times sends us into a world of credit card hell as we swipe the plastic faster than we should. For this story, we'll show you how $1,000 can go pretty darn far when you buy the right products. The recipient was an '08 Chevy HHR panel, which we thought would be the perfect cave, we mean compact SUV, to turn into an audiophile's dream setup.

Several factors were involved in this build. First of all, we only had $1,000 to spend. Second, we needed the cargo area to still be useable and lastly, we wanted everything to sound and look good. To pull off this task, we contacted Al & Ed's Autosound, in Costa Mesa, California, for a full complement of MTX audio. Sam Habib, one of the senior technicians, handled the install for us and he had us in and out in two days. Included in our shoot was a MTX X Thunder 504X amp powering a total of four TDX6502 MTX 6-1/2-inch co-axial speakers for each door and a MTX 300XD amp powering a new MTX TS5510-22 10-inch square subwoofer. Our 10-inch sub was housed in a custom-built suede-covered box by installer Sam and allowed us to still use the cargo area as intended. The system was wired by a 4-gauge four-channel amp kit from Streetwires and a Pioneer Avic-D2 provided the input. An auxiliary input was also installed in the glovebox to play any MP3 device we choose. Check out the photos as we turned an empty HHR into an audio arsenal.

From The Driver Seat
Our little HHR sounded great and the new square sub from MTX provided plenty of bass for the cabin. We were surprised with the output of the 6 1/2-inch MTX co-axials as the mids and highs were ample for the Chevy. Utility was important and with our custom yet functional subwoofer box, we can lay the cargo cover over the top and still throw stuff in the back. Meeting our budget was a key concern and we achieved what we were going for. There are two catches. The HHR owner had a Pioneer D-2 head unit installed in his diesel truck, and after selling off the huge beast, he kept the Pioneer unit and wanted it installed in the HHR. This helped us meet our budget and without it, we would have probably spent closer to $2,000. Also, the price doesn't include the custom sub box. Each store varies with custom pricing. Call the one closest to you to get an estimate. All in all, the install was a huge upgrade and now all we have to do is choose the playlist thanks to our aux input.


Time Spent Working: 9 Hours
Degree Of Difficulty: Intermediate

Table saw, wire crimpers, wire cutters, wire connectors

MTX Thunder Dome-axials TDX6502 6-1/2-inch speakers - $99.99 (x2)
MTX X Thunder 504X four-channel amp - $229.99
MTX X Thunder 300XD subwoofer amp - $199.99
MTX Thunder TS5510-22 square subwoofer - $249.99
StreetWires four-channel 4-gauge amp wiring kit PSK04RM - $99.99
Pioneer Avic D-2 head unit (used)
(prices from

TOTAL: $979.94 (does not include sales tax, labor, used Pioneer head unit or custom sub box price)

Al & Ed's Autosound
880 North Rochester Rd.
CA  91764
MTX Audio
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