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BMC model radio but US version? - anyone else seen one of these?

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CountBasey Avatar
CountBasey Thomas Basey
Brunswick, OH, USA   USA
1976 MG Midget 1500 "Opus"
I've been searching for a replacement/original BMC radio for my midget (the original one is no longer working and I wanted to keep the car fairly stock). When I stumbled upon a US/Domestic radio that is the EXACT same make and model as the BMC ones - just not "tagged" as such on the radio display (doesn't say British Motors Corporation - Pic #1). I got the radio dirt cheap on eBay and simply swapped out the BMC Motors face-plate from my original (Pic #2 shows them side by side - US radio on left and my original BMC on the right). The cool part is the new domestic radio actually has a metal bezel and metal knobs which I'm going to use along with the original Midget black face plate and chrome detail. the end result is in Pic #3 - this radio is REALLY sharp looking and unique. Can't wait till the spring around here to install it!

Anyone else ever seen these radios (non-BMC) in a US car? Just curious.



Thomas (Count) Basey
_______________________________________________________
“With each replacement of parts, my British car slowly becomes Chinese.”

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littlecars Avatar
littlecars David Bassett
Nashville, TN, USA   USA
1965 Chevrolet Corvair "Ski Team Transport SOLD!"
1965 MG Midget MkII "Buffoon"
1966 MG Midget MkII "Swiss Cheese...SCRAPPED"
1970 Triumph Spitfire MkIII "Tamara's Turd... SOLD!!!"    & more
You won't be able to receive the emergency signal on 5.5, you'll have to turn the dial one tick down to 5.4 when the air raid sirens start wailing. devil smiley

Seriously, by the time your car was built, the radios were most likely sourced from one maker and the faceplate that you swapped out might have actually been part of the SOP on the line in the UK verses the United States.

CountBasey Avatar
CountBasey Thomas Basey
Brunswick, OH, USA   USA
1976 MG Midget 1500 "Opus"
In reply to # 3888047 by littlecars You won't be able to receive the emergency signal on 5.5, you'll have to turn the dial one tick down to 5.4 when the air raid sirens start wailing. devil smiley

Ah... but it's the original radio behind the 5.5 face plate which does tune to 5.4... no bombers sneaking up on this guy!



Thomas (Count) Basey
_______________________________________________________
“With each replacement of parts, my British car slowly becomes Chinese.”

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mgbanthony Avatar
mgbanthony Platinum Member Anthony Henderson
Gananoque, ON, Canada   CAN
1962 MG MGB
1962 MG MGB
1970 MG MGB GT
1974 MG MGB
British Motor Corporation radios were made by Motorola in the US. They were a US dealer installed accessory in BMC products until about 1969-70. The similar one you found is a common install in many US cars and trucks of the mid-late 60s. My 70 Ford Bronco had a very similar one.

UK cars often had Radiomobile/Smiths Instruments radios installed,
again at the dealer.

No radios were factory installed in Midgets or MGBs, except perhaps factory demonstrators and press cars.

Looks like you found a good way to keep yours up and making music.

Chas 906 Avatar
Chas 906 Chuck Peterson
Iron Mountain, MI, USA   USA
1961 MG Midget MkI "Little Red Rider"
Someone had a after market radio or something in my car before I got it. The face plate is in place now. I prefer the noise of the car over any tunes. However, I have on occasion taken my portable CD player and ear buds along for a ride. The CD player fits nicely in the map pocket and the ear buds are discretely hidden.

dimini Avatar
dimini Don Ipock
Kansas City, MO, USA   USA
My 1978 1500 has a totally modern AM/FM dealership-installed unit. Just AM... you guys are old school. smiling smiley


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Abington, PA, USA   USA
1976 MG Midget MkIV "Rodney"
I bought my 1976 Midget new in June '77; and the dealer didn't have any radios left in inventory so they offered an 8-track or Cassette tape unit. I declined. Instead I bought an identical AM/FM push button unit from my friend who had a '74 Fiat X-1/9.that matched my dealer's car radio offerings.,. and he installed a same size stereo unit in his Fiat. Given the road engine and road noise at speed in a Midget, sound systems are a waste of money. I'd say just enjoy the drives.

Regards,

Richard

CountBasey Avatar
CountBasey Thomas Basey
Brunswick, OH, USA   USA
1976 MG Midget 1500 "Opus"
I totally agree on the last two posts about not needing the radio for music while driving... Even though the new radio will actually work, it's really for aesthetics (and period correctness) since I can't stand the 1990's amber color LCD cassette playing nightmare some prior owner had installed (and poorly at that - the radio is too deep so the knobs stick out too far - ugly!). I love the replacement radio's old-school lighted display - I'll have to get an interior picture with the radio on (at least once) before the bulb in the radio display eventually goes! grinning smiley



Thomas (Count) Basey
_______________________________________________________
“With each replacement of parts, my British car slowly becomes Chinese.”

200mph Avatar
200mph Platinum Member Mike Joy
Winston-Salem, NC, USA   USA
Glad you put together a successful solution, Tom!

As Anthony wrote, Motorolas were popular "name brand" radios with many dealers, and that's what BMC/BL supplied for dealer install. They may have also installed them at the US POE at some point, as many manufacturers do today.

However, many dealers sourced their own radios to get the same result with larger profit margins than buying from BL.

I installed many Audiovox, Sharp and Kraco units in new MG's and Fiats at the dealer I worked for part-time during college. They were cheap, but they worked.

Up until the '70's, most all were AM only. The late 60's were the dawn of college FM radio (in stereo!)... otherwise the FM band was limited to classical music and news stations. All the good stuff to listen to was still on AM !

This were the days!



MG drivers outlook:

. . . . . "Anyone going slower than you drives like a MORON, and anybody driving faster is a FREAKING IDIOT!". . . George Carlin

littlecars Avatar
littlecars David Bassett
Nashville, TN, USA   USA
1965 Chevrolet Corvair "Ski Team Transport SOLD!"
1965 MG Midget MkII "Buffoon"
1966 MG Midget MkII "Swiss Cheese...SCRAPPED"
1970 Triumph Spitfire MkIII "Tamara's Turd... SOLD!!!"    & more
Funny how that turned around 180 degrees -- by the 1990s most AM stations went to talk radio and every FM station was playing music. In 1990 I bought a car with AM stereo in dash and worked for an oldies format AM radio station who used me to confirm the "stereo" effect was working out on the town. Not long after that, they went to talk radio. Not sure how many stations "went to stereo" but nowadays I only listen to AM radio out in my barn or sometimes during bad weather to get the local news.

CountBasey Avatar
CountBasey Thomas Basey
Brunswick, OH, USA   USA
1976 MG Midget 1500 "Opus"
In reply to # 3890063 by 200mph Glad you put together a successful solution, Tom.

Mike... I still used your speaker mount, your tuner display, and your original radio face plate - hence why I was reluctant to return it even though you offered. I did get your “rebate” by the way - thank you very much, you financed more than half the cost of the replacement one. Everything worked out great.



Thomas (Count) Basey
_______________________________________________________
“With each replacement of parts, my British car slowly becomes Chinese.”

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