The way we listen to music in cars today looks nothing like it did when we were kids. As a child of the late 1980s, my formative experiences listening to music in my mom’s wood-paneled minivan were shaped mostly by CDs, with the errant, dusty cassette tape thrown into the mix on occasion, along with regular blasts from the oldies FM station.
By the time I got my driver’s license, I relied almost exclusively on burned CDs, obsessively compiled on my dad’s desktop computer from MP3 downloads. Today, most of these modes feel quaint relative to advancements in digital music player technology.
To honor the audio technologies of our past, we’ve traced the evolution of playing music in your car, from hissy AM radio to 8-track players to the digital music revolution and beyond—and we didn’t forget that questionable dashboard turntable, either. (Hey, it seemed like a good idea at the time.)