starlightcoupe

Mounting radio in 1933?

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I have a Philco Model 817 radio, which would be correct for that supplied by Studebaker in the 1933 Rockne.

There are brackets on two opposing corners of the main unit which I assume would facilitate attaching it to the firewall under the dash.

I'm sure this model was installed in other than Studebakers.

Does anyone have a correct installation who would be able to advise on that installation and what other hardware was required?

I have located the antenna lead that was factory installed from the chicken wire in the roof, through the driver's "A" pillar and tucked behind the firewall trim panel.

 

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Hello, the Philco transatone radio was made from 1930 to 1939. Basically the box remained almost identicle, but the electronics made huge leaps of improvement every year. I like to use the later box and electronics with the earlier head, looks right and works much better than the earlier units. They were sold in many stores and garages, and were “factory” on a bunch of different makes. In 1933 that radio would have been between 60 and 75 dollars if my memory serves me, (they were 100.00 in 1931; but priced dropped fast.) so at that price, not too many working class people would have had a radio in a car that wasn’t very, very expensive. Rent on an apartment was four dollars a month in the northeast, so the radio was a BIG ticket item for a car. What was the price of your car new? Anyways, many people have modern electronics placed in the box, and use a remote to control the volume and station, works great, and gets a lot more stations. Figure on two or three local stations with the factory tubes. They take a long time to warm up also........ had the radio on our 34 Packard tuned in on Sunday, every ten miles the station would drop off..........such is the nature of the beast. Good luck with whatever path you take. Ed

 

PS- Do you know why they had a key on the radio head? Two reasons, first is so the help wouldn’t listen to it while the owner was off doing business......and two, children would lean into an open car and put the ball game on.......thus the battery would die. 

 

Do a a google search using the term.        Philco transatone car radio, lots of stuff will pop up.

Edited by edinmass (see edit history)

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Yep! Thanks, Ed.

I assumed the key slot in the head served that purpose.

The '33 Rockne 10 sedan was $565 new and the Philco 817 option was $59.50; more than 10% of the total price! :wacko:

Needless to say, you wont find many Rocknes with a factory radio. :D Actually, you're not going to find many Rocknes at all! 

The Registry has been searching for years and come across little more than 300 Rocknes in the world in ANY condition! :lol:

I've owned my '33 Rockne 10 for over three decades. It is 100% original, nothing restored and fully functional.

I've recently come upon this Philco 817 and am hoping to install it as nearly original as possible.

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Edited by starlightcoupe (see edit history)
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1 minute ago, edinmass said:

I just looked it up......the 817 came out in 1936......not a bad guess!

 

Ed, you're a darned good guesser, I've known that about you for a long time....

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The radio is from a '35 Buick (hey! who knows? Maybe a dealer retrofitted it!) ; but the knobs are reproductions the Shrock Brothers did from a '35 Studebaker President. And they fit like a glove. http://www.shrockbrothers.com/ 

When I got the radio it only had one of the original knobs.

So, while you are patting yourself on the back about when it was introduced, do you have any advice on how it was installed? Or are you intent on chasing lesser human beings from the hobby?

 

Edited by starlightcoupe (see edit history)

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3 hours ago, starlightcoupe said:

Yep! Thanks, Ed.

I assumed the key slot in the head served that purpose.

The '33 Rockne 10 sedan was $565 new and the Philco 817 option was $59.50; more than 10% of the total price! :wacko:

Needless to say, you wont find many Rocknes with a factory radio. :D Actually, you're not going to find many Rocknes at all! 

The Registry has been searching for years and come across little more than 300 Rocknes in the world in ANY condition! :lol:

I've owned my '33 Rockne 10 for over three decades. It is 100% original, nothing restored and fully functional.

I've recently come upon this Philco 817 and am hoping to install it as nearly original as possible.

P8280416.JPG

Rocknedash.jpg

P2190275.JPG

 

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Starlight, Lovely car. The 817 Philco was originally mounted to the inside  firewall with two 'T' shaped threaded bolts long enough to go through inside padding and the sheet metal . You should make a cardboard pattern of the rear of the case with specific locations of those folded brackets . Then hold it up to consider what may be on the engine side that may interfere with those bolts. That radio will require a remote speaker in a case usually mounted to the firewall on the passenger side. Originally that speaker used a electromagnet which required 6v. power supplied from the radio as well as voice coil signal. When I rebuild I replace with a modern PM speaker this will significantly reduce the power draw. Obviously that radio shown will need a complete rebuild and possible rework of the 'Philco' twist type antenna connector to the more modern Motorola push in type and a solid state vibrator replacement.. The control head usually mounts under the edge of the dash but your Rockne curved bottom may present a problem. Also consider the length of the control cables when considering mounting. Also consider physical access the key lock on the left side of the control head . This locks the 'Switch-Volume' control to keep unwanted fingers from turning it on and drain the battery. I hope this helps. If I can help further send a PM.

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Starlight, I have only seen two that were still installed when the car was new or in the era. Both used bolts drilled through the firewall with large plain washers from the engine side of the firewall, through to the inside, with smaller plain washers and nuts. (The 817 May have been different as indicated.)  The units are very large compared to the amount of room under the dash, and on the early Cadillacs I saw them on they were jammed in and took away from the area  for you feet just above toe board. I think a heater is out of the question on any car with a radio. Power was run to the back of the amp guage.  I think the biggest install issue is a flat firewall with enough room to get the box mounted squarely in place. On the Cadillacs, the V-8,12,and 16 engines made for a very tight fit of the mounting hardware  access. As far as the “chasing lesser human beings in the hobby??? Having never seen a car similar to yours, and having no clue as to the size and amount of room under the dash and firewall, I didn’t think I had much to add. RAH is correct about the control head mounting, I would pursue a earlier model, with a head that mounts on the steering column that would be much more of a correct fit when it was “as new”. The radios are not to difficult to find today compared to years ago, and they are not anywhere as expensive as the use to be. With a nice intact original car, I would hold out for an earlier head. 

Edited by edinmass (see edit history)

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I have this Philco Transitone Radio in a 31 Auburn.  It is a direct firewall mount box and a steering column head.  I do have a extra head with a key and without the Auburn script in excellent condition. It has the AM - FM conversion.   This also solves the antenna problem. 

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Interesting that Auburn had the head with the name on it. Stude and Pierce used them, but didnt have the name. The keys were marked either Stude or Pierce, but nothing else. Years ago I met an early radio expert, it was quite intresting to learn about all the changes early on. When the radios went from hetrodyne to superhetrodyne things vastly improved. I got a headache trying to understand the tuner. Rolls Royce offered a radio in 1922, but it was the entire size of the trunk mounted on the trunk rack. The speakers would detach and get placed on stands.......It looked like it would take half an hour to get the whole thing set up. Price was about 1800.00. 

Edited by edinmass (see edit history)

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28 minutes ago, edinmass said:

Rolls Royce offered a radio in 1922, but it was the entire size of the trunk mounted on the trunk rack. The speakers would detach and get placed on stands.......It looked like it would take half an hour to get the whole thing set up. Price was about 1800.00. 

What make would it have been?

 

Craig

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I would suspect Atwater-Kent? (Notice the question mark!;))

 

A lot of great information here fellas. I appreciate it. The column mount head makes a lot of sense; while the Rockne literature indicates the Model 817 was factory correct, and that is the box unit I have.

As far as the antenna connection, all Rocknes were manufactured with the antenna wire from the factory, even if they didn't have a radio. It is connected to the chicken wire in the roof, extends through the driver's "A" pillar and is tucked behind the firewall trim. I have not yet pulled it out.

 

Curti,

Was yours gutted to install AM/FM, or was something like an FMC-1 or FMC-2 added? Assuming they work as described, this seems like the way to go, retaining every bit of the vacuum tube originality. And completely reversible.  http://www.tech-retro.com/Aurora_Design/FMC.html

Edited by starlightcoupe (see edit history)

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Was yours gutted to install AM/FM, or was something like an FMC-1 or FMC-2 added? Assuming they work as described, this seems like the way to go, retaining every bit of the vacuum tube originality. And completely reversible.  http://www.tech-retro.com/Aurora_Design/FMC.html

 

Not completely.  the tuner was left intact.  Bill Newman did my conversion.  It appears to me your radio head is newer than the box.  

 

Bill Newman 301 E Wallace Kneeland Blvd Suite 224-229 Shelton WA 98584   AM - FM conversions radio billtheradioguy.com

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15 hours ago, starlightcoupe said:

I would suspect Atwater-Kent? (Notice the question mark!;))

In late thirties through the 1950's, Rolls Royce used "His Master's Voice", or 'HMV' radios, the U.K. Division of RCA.  Not too sure how much autonomy HMV had over its parent company, RCA, but in North America, OEM automotive radios were not a huge part of their focus, although Hudson used them for a time.  In the entire decade of the 1930's, RCA was directing its energies to the development of television, and not so much on looking for new markets for their radios.

 

Craig

Edited by 8E45E (see edit history)

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Hi I have a 35 Buick and bought a RCA transit radio at a car show with the remote head for it. I later gutted it and put a radio shack transistor radio in the box. It worked o.k. but changing batteries was a pain! If you decide you ever want to sell your radio let me know as someone said it was for a 35 Buick. Thanks, Greg.

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Here is a pic of the Philco in my Dad's 33 Studebaker President. It has been in the car since my Dad bought it in 63. I wish I had a better pic to show more detail. It is not something I have ever researched so I don't even know if it is the right year radio. If I turn it on  it just produces a humming sound. My dad would know more about it if i asked him.

 

Jeff

Philco radio.JPG

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5 hours ago, coachJC said:

 "If I turn it on  it just produces a humming sound."

Well then, it's getting power and the vibrator is working. Tubes and capacitors probably not.

 

 

 

 

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