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Old(late 60s/early 70s) AM/FM Transistor Radio-general questions #5408252 04/19/20 10:08 PM
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bunnspecial Offline OP
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I recently picked up a really, really inexpensive British Leyland branded radio with the intention of installing it in my MG. I can't nail down an exact date, but it's close enough to what would have been a dealer option(none were installed at the factory) when new for me to be happy with it. I have no idea who made it-Motorola made some of these, and there are a few Motorola components in it, but I don't known enough to say for sure.

I did some general clean up and after hitting the volume pot, AM-FM selector, and a few other spots with Deoxit, it grudgingly came to life and is actually working well now. At the moment, I have it connected to a nice bench PSU, and it's showing a draw of 100mA(which seems low, but I'm getting good sound out of it). It still needs a bit more cleanup, and the presets are sometimes a bit sluggish.

I'm not familiar with anything really of this vintage, and can seem to find little to no documentation on it. I think I've MOSTLY figured it out, especially after playing with it, but I'm still wondering about a few things.

For one, the hot wire coming out is wire nutted to a wire with a bullet connector(to plug right into the wiring harness) and also a lead with what appears to be a large capacitor. Most installations I've seen seem to put this on the ground lug on the back-does this sound correct?

Second, I'm not sure just how much I can drive in terms of speakers. I've been testing it with a speaker box that's marked 6Ω, and it's working fine. My car has two speakers installed in it, and I think they're 8Ω each. Both connected in parallel would be 4Ω. I'm wondering if I'd be pushing things to hook both up, or if I should stick to one.

Finally, is there a good way to figure out who actually made this in the absence of any clear markings on it?


2010 Lincoln MKZ-Mobil 1 5W-30
1970 MG MGB Roadster-Valvoline VR-1 20W-50
1974 Austin Marina GT VR-1 20W-50
Re: Old(late 60s/early 70s) AM/FM Transistor Radio-general questions [Re: bunnspecial] #5408322 04/20/20 01:31 AM
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Uphill_Both_Ways Offline
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A pic would help. I found this Bendix, along with a pic by searching for "british leyland" radio
https://www.radiomuseum.org/r/bendix_british_leyland_blm_007.html

There's also a pic of an Audiovox on ebay here:
https://www.ebay.ca/b/Vintage-Car-Truck-Radio-Speaker-Systems-for-MG/80741/bn_21043586

https://www.vintage-radio.net/forum/
is a U.K. radio and repair forum. You also might find info on it at antiqueradio.com but I don't know how far you can dig into it without having to buy a membership (cheap).

If you can match the manufacturer with a pic, schematics might be available at antiqureradio.com or radiomuseum.org, for example. They go back to the '20s for even some of the most obscure manufacturer names in North America and Europe.


2008 Impala 3.5
Vanilla Mobil 1 5W30
Napa Gold 1522 or Wix 51522
Re: Old(late 60s/early 70s) AM/FM Transistor Radio-general questions [Re: bunnspecial] #5408459 04/20/20 08:40 AM
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Kestas Offline
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Antiqueradio.com has free membership. To add to Uphill's post, I suggest you post your question on the Vintage Transistor Radio subforum. Hopefully someone has a schematic for it. More likely they can find which copy you need and where to buy it. I would personally prefer a schematic for answers to your questions.

Though the radio works at the moment, it would be a good idea to replace any and all electrolytic capacitors to prevent visiting the radio again in the near future.

Re: Old(late 60s/early 70s) AM/FM Transistor Radio-general questions [Re: bunnspecial] #5408540 04/20/20 10:01 AM
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bunnspecial Offline OP
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Thanks guys-will do.

And yes, cap replacement is definitely on the agenda. I just dropped the MG off this morning for a transmission swap and some other odds and ends, so it will be a week or two before I see it. I have time, and since there are only just a few eletrolytics it shouldn't be a big job. I've tinkered with tube radios enough over the years(nothing automotive) to know that you do that out of habit(unless it's a Zenith, which in my experience usually works perfectly and why that's the only brand of tube radio I'll buy anymore smile )

If I can figure out how to do it from the schematic, I also wouldn't mind to wire in a discreet aux in(I've heard of that being done), but I'll play that one by ear.

I do have to say I was fairly impressed at how quickly it did wake up.

In the meantime, here are a few photos, but I'll register at antiqueradio.com

[Linked Image]
[Linked Image]
[Linked Image]


2010 Lincoln MKZ-Mobil 1 5W-30
1970 MG MGB Roadster-Valvoline VR-1 20W-50
1974 Austin Marina GT VR-1 20W-50
Re: Old(late 60s/early 70s) AM/FM Transistor Radio-general questions [Re: bunnspecial] #5408652 04/20/20 12:27 PM
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Kawiguy454 Offline
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I would test those electolytics before replacing them. To me they appear to be filtering the power. The device you describe on the power wire also sounds to me like a ferrite core inductor and used as a filter for the power. Old cars had Generators with dirty power and the ignition systems generated a lot of EM noise. Filtering was a must. The speakers I would be careful with the loading. 4 ohms may be too low you'd be better off hooking speakers in series if it is mono output?

Last edited by Kawiguy454; 04/20/20 12:33 PM.
Re: Old(late 60s/early 70s) AM/FM Transistor Radio-general questions [Re: bunnspecial] #5408675 04/20/20 01:01 PM
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sloinker Offline
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Yeah....I pass. They sell modern, full featured radios that will fit your car, vintage correct style with bluetooth etc. You could screen-print an appropriate logo on the face plate.


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'15 VW Golf TDI Red Line 5W30 Euro
'15 VW Golf Sportwagen TDI M1 ESP 5W30
'14 Dodge Grand Caravan 3.6 Valvoline 5W20 Semi Synthetic
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Re: Old(late 60s/early 70s) AM/FM Transistor Radio-general questions [Re: bunnspecial] #5408769 04/20/20 03:09 PM
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circuitsmith Offline
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I would first try to feed AUX in at the top of the volume control.
Blend stereo AUX with two 1K resistors to a SPDT switch to select radio vs AUX to the vol control.
Hopefully the signal level will be comparable between the two sources.


2017 Hyundai Tucson SE FWD
SuperTech synth, 5w-30, 5000mi/12mo OCI
Re: Old(late 60s/early 70s) AM/FM Transistor Radio-general questions [Re: bunnspecial] #5408790 04/20/20 04:00 PM
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wings&wheels Offline
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Nice find! Is that mono? Most of the old NA market BL radios I've seen were Bendix, but I seem to remember later ones were by someone else. Good luck w/ the rebuild. I had the 1970's Blaupunkt Frankfurt in my TR rebuilt by D&M Restorations in SC in case you decide to have it done. They did great work.

I always have period radios in my old cars when I can.


'05 Lotus Elise S/C
'85 Land Rover 90 diesel
'74 Triumph TR6
'74 BMW 2002
'72 Land Rover Series III 88"
'99 Porsche 996
'01 Porsche Boxster S (mostly Wife's...)
'19 VW Golf R (Wife's)
Piper Pa28-236


Re: Old(late 60s/early 70s) AM/FM Transistor Radio-general questions [Re: bunnspecial] #5408841 04/20/20 04:55 PM
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bunnspecial Offline OP
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Thanks everyone for the continued information and suggestions.

I think it MIGHT be a Bendix 2FBP. That is listed in one reference I found as a Bendix "Private Label" radio. I found some Bendix listed for British Leyland, but all the AM/FM ones I saw were a larger form factor.

I appreciate the suggestion above as to how to wire in Aux.

And yes, it is mono, or at least as best as I can tell(the speaker pigtail coming out is only two wires).

Also, I'm afraid I'm going to have to completely revisit my speakers. I looked again today and the two in the trunk are 4Ω. I know pre-68 MGs had the speaker right under the radio, but that went away in 68 and I'm not sure whether or not the current ones are located where a dealer would have installed them. If they are, I may use those locations to mount more appropriate speakers. When I bought the car, it had an ugly late 90s CD deck in it driving those two speakers, and I pretty quickly ditched that since the display was burnt up and it just looked out of place.

Last thing-I have looked at some of the "retro" model radios, and while they look decent I'm not wild about the appearance. Also, I have a hard time dropping ~$300 on a fancy radio mostly to catch some occasional news or a bit of music when I'm driving around town. The one above is period correct(even if a bit newer than the car, not worth splitting hairs over) and looks right in the dash, plus I'll have under $50 tied up in it including the can of Deoxit I ordered today after emptying out my last can yesterday.


2010 Lincoln MKZ-Mobil 1 5W-30
1970 MG MGB Roadster-Valvoline VR-1 20W-50
1974 Austin Marina GT VR-1 20W-50
Re: Old(late 60s/early 70s) AM/FM Transistor Radio-general questions [Re: Kawiguy454] #5408897 04/20/20 06:01 PM
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Kestas Offline
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Originally Posted by Kawiguy454
I would test those electolytics before replacing them.

Most good radio restorers don't bother testing old electrolytic capacitors. Anything over 30 years old gets tossed and replaced, even if the radio is in working condition.

I've also taken old transistorized car radios and cleaned them in a tub of water with non-abrasive detergent such as [censored]-n-span. This cleans the chassis and pots. Follow with a water rinse and dry in an oven at 140F.

Re: Old(late 60s/early 70s) AM/FM Transistor Radio-general questions [Re: bunnspecial] #5408899 04/20/20 06:02 PM
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I just looked through 'The Original MGB' and another restoration guide and while both discussed radios, neither mentioned speaker location. I'd expect that for the later cars most were placed (badly) on the doors or rear bulkhead as there isn't much room elsewhere; the console is very tight for side facing speakers and the doors are also tight unless you have a very shallow speaker and/or spacer. Both of my B's had speakers on the bulkhead and one also had them in the doors.

Is Moss still making those neat footwell pockets w/ speaker mounts? Not that the footwell is roomy, but that is a clever solution.


'05 Lotus Elise S/C
'85 Land Rover 90 diesel
'74 Triumph TR6
'74 BMW 2002
'72 Land Rover Series III 88"
'99 Porsche 996
'01 Porsche Boxster S (mostly Wife's...)
'19 VW Golf R (Wife's)
Piper Pa28-236


Re: Old(late 60s/early 70s) AM/FM Transistor Radio-general questions [Re: bunnspecial] #5408916 04/20/20 06:28 PM
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bunnspecial Offline OP
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Aggh, why did I not think to check Clausinger, but thanks for looking for me(when I should have).

I don't see footwell speakers at Moss. They do make some that can be tucked under the dash(they claim) so that might be worth a look.

I hate the bulkhead speakers, but I'm guessing that location may be my best bet since at least the holes and grilles are there.

When I got the car, the door cards were actually cut for "dummy" speakers(of all the stupid things) complete with the requisite big holes, but those cards are languishing in the corner of the garage and I'm not about to cut up my nice new ones. If I had the old ones on still, I might do speakers in the big gaping holes left in those, but that seems a less than ideal solution to me.

I had thought about tucking one behind the console, but like you said it is snug back there and I didn't think that would work overly well. Fortunately, I did ditch the top-fill transmission(will soon have a blue label side fill overdrive) so if I could squeeze some there I wouldn't necessarily have to worry about access to that.


2010 Lincoln MKZ-Mobil 1 5W-30
1970 MG MGB Roadster-Valvoline VR-1 20W-50
1974 Austin Marina GT VR-1 20W-50
Re: Old(late 60s/early 70s) AM/FM Transistor Radio-general questions [Re: bunnspecial] #5408961 04/20/20 07:01 PM
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On a rather tedious concall so I'm researching MGB speakers while waiting for my turn to speak. Found this on the web, seems like a relatively easy project to fab a cover for the back of the speaker. Apparently this company, Clark & Clark, did make pockets w/ speaker mounts, but don't list them any more. They do make an apparently upgraded pocket though that could be converted. May be worth asking if they can still make a set.

Clark & Clark MGB Parts

[Linked Image]





'05 Lotus Elise S/C
'85 Land Rover 90 diesel
'74 Triumph TR6
'74 BMW 2002
'72 Land Rover Series III 88"
'99 Porsche 996
'01 Porsche Boxster S (mostly Wife's...)
'19 VW Golf R (Wife's)
Piper Pa28-236


Re: Old(late 60s/early 70s) AM/FM Transistor Radio-general questions [Re: bunnspecial] #5408978 04/20/20 07:25 PM
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bunnspecial Offline OP
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Thank you!


2010 Lincoln MKZ-Mobil 1 5W-30
1970 MG MGB Roadster-Valvoline VR-1 20W-50
1974 Austin Marina GT VR-1 20W-50
Re: Old(late 60s/early 70s) AM/FM Transistor Radio-general questions [Re: bunnspecial] #5410246 04/22/20 10:58 AM
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circuitsmith Offline
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Re the 4Ω speakers: the safe bet is to hook them in series. Won't hurt the sound if they're identical.


2017 Hyundai Tucson SE FWD
SuperTech synth, 5w-30, 5000mi/12mo OCI
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