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Steve Tochi

Vintage American Car Radios

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Well my latest revelation is the JDM car thing is for real and I am just an old timer.  I picked out a 57' Chevy Bel Air radio, put it on Ebay with minimum bid of $25, thinking this is going to go fast. After a week, ended up with two watchers and no bids. 

But I had what I called the "junk pile" of Japanese made radios that were thrown in a box. I had ignored them but finally decided to take a look by model #.  One was a Fujitsu radio for a Toyota Corolla without knobs or faceplate.  A buyer paid $15 for it, but the most dumbfounding thing was his grateful PM to me said "I'm restoring a 79 Corolla".  

Also within the "pile", were these 6 Hitachi AM/FM radios, they look like aftermarket junk. Two look complete and 4 are without faceplates or glass bezel.  Turns out, they are for 70-71 240Zs, with limited production. If you think prices of Blaupunkts are exuberant, asking price on ebay for a restored one is $2495, working one is $1800 and several untested sold upwards of $1000.  I decided to put the worst one pictured on ebay, no knobs, glass, or faceplate, and the bid is currently at $212 with 2 days to go and 11 watchers.  Just good old Adam Smith economics at work. We shall see.

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I don't get it but the above pictured radio sold today for $455, and it was the worst of the 6 of these models I have.   I see the paint job in the future for my Tii becoming reality. 

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That’s a nice score there and a great thing that the guy didn’t just toss those radios when replacing them in people’s cars back in the day.  

 

Back in the late 90’s and early 2000’s I was going to junkyards and grabbing every Becker, Blaupunkt, Audiovox, Kenwood, Alpine, and OEM radios, etc I could find in Mercedes, Audi’s, vw’s, bmw’s.  These old school radios were worthless then because everyone wanted CD players so I don’t think I paid much more than $10 for any one of them.  Today the Becker’s are selling for $400 or more on eBay and the blaupunkts are starting to fetch north of $200 for some models.  Even the OEM radios are going up...BMW E30 stock radios are a good example.  I still have some of these radios and will probably let them go at some point soon. 

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As I delve into these vintage radios and learn more about them, I'm finding the names of their features quite amusing.  Here are a few examples of features the marketing geniuses came up with  from a by gone era, perhaps a product of the space race. 

Sonomatic, Autotune, Volumatic, Aeronutronic, Vibrasonic, Bodysonic, Eliminoise, Acoustinator  and the Motorola 8-track Changeabout (for your car, boat and home)

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Well I know I'm supposed to be in liquidation mode, but I did some trading and ended up with this 69' Frankfurt, the guts already refurbished with connection for I-phone. I've been enjoying learning the virtues of old AM radios and I've sold, traded or donated about 70 radios so far. I was happy to donate a 66' Galaxie radio to a east coast sheriff dept who is restoring their old squad car on a tight budget. 

So I really haven't been on FAQ that much, and I still consider myself a newbie going on almost two years. But seems like something has changed with the tone of posts and what appears to be a glut of new members. Even the classifieds I used to scour seem more global and commercialized.  Just doesn't seem like the tight knit community focused on only 02 cars/owners as when I joined. Or perhaps it's just me approaching middle age.   

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I suppose it just has to do with the increase in value of the cars.  When something isn't worth much, only the enthusiast cares; when it's worth a lot, people trying to make money care...  Kinda' why I like my car being ugly right now...

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23 hours ago, irdave said:

I suppose it just has to do with the increase in value of the cars.  When something isn't worth much, only the enthusiast cares; when it's worth a lot, people trying to make money care...  Kinda' why I like my car being ugly right now...

you're probably right and just naturally bound to happen with the popularity of the cars. Heck I dropped by kids off at high school last week, and this 74Tii rolled in the parking lot. After we dropped out kids off, I flagged the driver down. Turns out its an old friend of mine, and my former chiropractor, and our kids grew up together.  He inherited the car from his father and I asked him if he was on FAQ, response was "huh"???

 

 

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If any of you want to follow me on Ebay, here's one of my listings where you can link to sellers other items. I could use some more followers and watchers.  Its a one year only 67' Ford pickup AM radio, so will be interesting to see where it sells.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-1967-Ford-Pickup-AM-radio-model-7TBTL/392306184420?epid=8025999142&hash=item5b574550e4:g:KboAAOSwcapc8f-7

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Of course he's not on the FAQ. No FAQ member would run E30 bottlecaps anymore 😁

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3 hours ago, ray_ said:

Of course he's not on the FAQ. No FAQ member would run E30 bottlecaps anymore 😁

The car was really clean and looked "done" and all original except for the wheels. Perhaps the father who passed away was an active member.  He said it just sat in his father's garage, and probably doesn't know what he has, and what a KF or MFI is.  

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