Now what? You must be thinking reading the title of this blog post. Vintage dashboard jewelry is how I prefer to think of vintage auto-radios from the late 1950s, 1960s and early 1970s. Superbly engineered old-school electronic technology fronted with beautifully shaped chrome ‘facings’ and finely detailed knobs and radio scales. My classic motor-cars do not feel complete without a vintage radio looking at me from the dashboard. Now I have to admit that I scarcely listen to radio programmes driving my cars, usually one does not travel alone in a classic car, petrol talk galore with friends and discussing the scenery when on the road with my better half. When driving alone I prefer to enjoy the sound of the sports engines; four-, six- or eight-cylinder soundtracks cannot be bettered by anything! So every now and then I try to pick up the hourly news broadcast, and driving at night I just turn on some background music… This for one reason only: To have the lights of the dial light-up with the rest of the gauges on the dashboard. Only in classic cars with an indifferent (boring) engine-sound I will crank up the volume to enjoy some good music!
“My classic motor-cars do not feel complete without a vintage radio looking at me from the dashboard.”
A classic car just needs a fabulous looking radio in the dashboard in my opinion, only race-bred sports-cars must do without for the sake of weight saving and because you will not be able to hear any music at all… Choosing a vintage radio for your car can be a difficult process. First you have to find one in excellent and working condition! Then the radio has to be from the right period to match your classic ride. Usually you can take the year of build from your car, let’s say 1969, then a radio from the period between 1967 and 1973 will look ‘period-correct’ in the dashboard. Then you find that 99% of the 1960s and early 1970s radios are MONO units, STEREO models were just introduced and extremely rare. I do not mind playing the radio via the standard dashboard speaker only, a second speaker can be easily added and placed on or in the parcel shelf.
“The Blaupunkt radios, being universal units, could (and can) be modified at the front by different face-plates, dial surrounds and knobs, this changing the entire look of the radio.”
Most vintage radios of the 1950s – 1970s were standard models for any car. The German brand of Blaupunkt however, manufactured radio-units which could be ‘adapted’ to ‘blend-in’ / to stand-out and to fit in any car or model perfectly because of their modular structure. The Blaupunkt radios, being universal units, could (and can) be modified at the front by different face-plates, dial surrounds and knobs, this changing the entire look of the radio. The Blaupunkt Frankfurt model you see pictured above in my 1969 Alfa Romeo GT 1300 Junior is such a modular unit. The radio is a 1970 Frankfurt with a 1965-1969 chrome face-plate and 1970 type black rubber buttons. I could add more chrome by adding earlier buttons but that would be too much for my taste. If I fancy I can always exchange the faceplate for a somewhat slimmer chrome model, also with black inserts under the knobs. This playing around with vintage radios made me a fan of Blaupunkt. It is a great pastime to find the best front / knob combinations, and now I am doing that here, for you, in the Classentials web-shop. In the Vintage Radios chapter you will find a fine selection of refurbished Blaupunkt radios and other fine classic brands. All the Blaupunkt models, exept the basic Solingen model, feature a special DIN socket at the rear through which in the past cassette players were connected. Today in the ‘digital era’ this DIN connection makes possible to connect your smartphone, Ipod or any other ‘playback’ device (featuring a 3,5 mm jack socket) to the vintage radios. This to listen to your own music files or to stream music or play digital radio channels from a phone app.
…You might instead choose to install a modern ‘plastic chrome’, ‘retro’ radio with LED-display in your classic ride… Do you also give your lady-love a chromed plastic ring to celebrate your love for her?
You will find a great selection of refurbished authentic Vintage Radios and accessories at Classentials. In case you have any questions, or special radio wishes: Just ask we are here to help!
Very truly yours,