Despite the growing versatility of in-car radio options by the 1950s, your soundtrack was still left up to the mercy of the airwaves. The monophonic system was tweaked and expanded upon in the coming years. AM was the dominant radio mode at the time, but in 1952, German company Blaupunkt released the first FM car radio. In 1953, Becker’s Mexico radio broadened the in-car radio’s versatility, with both AM and FM capabilities and the ability to search through stations.
Chrysler attempted to change this just four years later in 1956 with a brand-new automotive listening option: an in-car phonograph called the Highway Hi-Fi, mounted on the bottom of the dash and wired directly into the car radio of certain high-end Chrysler models. At the flip of a switch, a miniature turntable slid out, upon which proprietary, Chrysler-made 7-inches (exclusively featuring artists under contract with Columbia Records) with about 45 minutes of music could be played. Now, the Highway Hi-Fi seems totally misguided: With the bumps associated with driving, the records skipped like crazy, and the system was phased out within a few years, keeping the AM/FM system as the dominant in-car playing mode.