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American Classic Radios for 1st Generation Rivs


Mr Jones
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The original radio in mine is lone gone, replaced probably in the 1980 by a radio/cassette player that also no ,longer works.

There is one of these for sale here in Australia and I might be interested if it fits.

It is supposed to suit mid-60s to mid-70s Buicks.

Anyone here know of these?

 

EDIT - I have been doing some research in the meantime and have also discovered the actual brand name for this 'USA 230' as well as the existence of a USA - 630 model, which looks better if it will fit.

It was listed as 'American Classic Sound Radio' which threw me initially.

 

 

IMG_6249.JPG

Edited by Mr Jones (see edit history)
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This is the Sonomatic push button AM radio used in my 1963 and possibly in 64/65. This was one of three optional radios used and possibly the most common. Other radios offered were the AM/FM and the Wonderbar unit with bar/floor operated station selector.

 

Looks are deceiving as it is now AM/FM/MP3/USB with Bluetooth courtesy of Aurora Designs, who's agent Nostalgic Wireless is in Victoria (Australia) Nick King is the owner.

 

I have paired this this with two front speakers fitted either side of the console as well as a 6x9 stereo speaker in between the rear seats. Sounds awesome.

 

This way you get 2017 technology and performance out of a 1960's original looking unit.

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Depending on what functionality you want from that radio, you may well find that the stock radio is better than the new replacement.  If you want Bluetooth, iPod compatibility, etc. you'll obviously have to go away from stock, but back when I was thinking about doing this I found that most of the companies offering new guts stuffed into old packages were using really crappy internals.  That is, what you were getting was the functional equivalent of some bargain-basement Walmart radio at a top-of-the-line price.

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21 hours ago, KongaMan said:

back when I was thinking about doing this I found that most of the companies offering new guts stuffed into old packages were using really crappy internals.  That is, what you were getting was the functional equivalent of some bargain-basement Walmart radio at a top-of-the-line price.

 

Could you tell us how a person that doesn't know modern radio internals would be able to tell the diff? By the sound (after purchase)?

 

Steve

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As a before and after sound check, my AM sounded pretty good except the lowest volume level was a bit too loud. Playing through the original speaker it was acceptable. But Tis only AM .....

 

However the Aurora Designs conversion pumps a lot more into each channel, the music is crisp and clear on both AM and FM and the streaming of my music from my I-phone through Bluetooth is amazing.

 

Sure my choice of adding two front speakers and a stereo rear speaker also helps dramatically, but as they say in the classics " ya gets what's ya pays for" and I am more than happy with my solution.

 

Much much better than a box in the glovebox or something tacked under the dashboard.

 

Deep Purple "Highway Star" and Neil Young's "Barstool Blues" are just awesome, never sounded better.

 

just my two bobs worth

Rodney ?

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Tim from Riv Central had a correct, for this car, Sonomatic that is on its way.

I have been in touch with Nick King and will think about the options while I wait for the radio to arrive.

The current setup is not much of anything, vintage 1980s or 90s,. Nor does it work.

 

 

Riviera Front Console View.jpg

Edited by Mr Jones (see edit history)
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I'm far from  purist with regards to these cars.  If I could find a reasonable, off-the-shelf model to drop in that didn't look glaringly out of place, I'd do it.  Sadly, the dual-knob radio has gone the way of the dodo bird.  So, you're left with a choice between the purpose built retro radios (most of which look cheap and plasticy) or the disemboweled stock radio. However, I did see this and this on Crutchfield.

 

  And after that, you still need to figure out what do do about speakers (and no, I ain't cutting up the package shelf).  Maybe make some new kickpanels and put a 6x9 between the rear seats?

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6x9's in the rear arm rests covered in a fabric that would allow sound to pass through or perforated the vinyl.   Turnswitch makes a replacement for a 4x10 speaker that incorporates two 4" speakers, each wired to a different channel. The 4x10 is the size of the front speaker in 64s and 65s. You 63 owners are out of luck for front speakers unless you put them in the kick panels.

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On 2 September 2017 at 7:13 AM, Mr Jones said:

Tim from Riv Central had a correct, for this car, Sonomatic that is on its way.

I have been in touch with Nick King and will think about the options while I wait for the radio to arrive.

The current setup is not much of anything, vintage 1980s or 90s,. Nor does it work.

 

 

Riviera Front Console View.jpg

 

 

Spend a few minutes on the website of Aurora Designs and watch their demonstration using a Wonderbar radio. Absolutely amazing technology into your stock radio using the original knobs and push buttons. 

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12 hours ago, rodneybeauchamp said:

Spend a few minutes on the website of Aurora Designs and watch their demonstration using a Wonderbar radio. Absolutely amazing technology into your stock radio using the original knobs and push buttons. 

 

Looks cool -- but how badly do you want these features in a part-time car? You've got the cost of the donor radio, the conversion, and almost certainly some new speakers.  Representative pricing for their conversions starts at ~$500 and goes up from there. That's a lot of squeeze for the juice.

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Thanks to everyone for your suggestions and advice with this. 

I have decided to keep as close to stock as I can tolerate, and will go the option of having the original radio restored with the addition of an input for an ipad or whatever.

All up including shipping the stock 65 original Sonomatic from the US  this will be around $500.

 

There is a local guy here in Geelong with a very good reputation who I will get to do the installation into the car when it comes back.

 

At least I know it will fit.

 

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What I did on my car was to purchase a non working am fm and send it to electro tech, where they gutted it installed modern high powered guts and bluetooth.  Now I can play songs from my i phone, put plenty of power through the stock fit but modern speakers (yes perfect fit high performance and quality speakers are available) and retain the perfect stock looking and fitting original radio.  No one can believe that my "stock" am fm B U I C K pushbutton radio sounds so good (the pushbuttons still work, the radio signal seeks as well)

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On ‎9‎/‎8‎/‎2017 at 10:56 AM, dr914 said:

What I did on my car was to purchase a non working am fm and send it to electro tech, where they gutted it installed modern high powered guts and bluetooth.  Now I can play songs from my i phone, put plenty of power through the stock fit but modern speakers (yes perfect fit high performance and quality speakers are available) and retain the perfect stock looking and fitting original radio.  No one can believe that my "stock" am fm B U I C K pushbutton radio sounds so good (the pushbuttons still work, the radio signal seeks as well)

Good morning.

 

The 1963 to 1965 Buick radios had signal seeking (Wonderbar) only on the AM units.  Just for clarification, you took the AM/FM unit and in addition to modern electronics, your radio now has signal seeking just like the AM Wonderbar radios?

If so, that is exactly what I would like to do.

 

Thank you,

 

Marty

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