This blog will describe my daily, lets say monthly, restoration project of an iconic car: an Austin Healey Sprite MK3 1965. It´s a nice, cute, little car. As said in many period magazines, it’s a "little sports men car". I will restore this car to its former glory, and will share it with all of you....
Monday, 2 July 2012
Cleaning and verifying the radio
Hello all, until I get the car passing the MOT this week, I removed the radio console at the workshop, as I was willing to take a closer look, make some cleaning and see if it worked correctly.
The radio looked to be original period style. I have read on several forum posts, that spridgets never came from the factory with the radio as it was a dealers accessory. So one could buy the radio he wanted. I am unsure if this was the case for all markets.
Once removed, I noticed the top of the radio full of oil , and lower part of the radio also full. The mechanic told me that when he started the engine for the first time, he notices oil drops coming from the oil pressure indicator, and that he had to tighten up the tube nut. Flipping over the radio would reveal a nice vinyl sticker from the Smiths Radiomobile Company, with model number 970T.
A quick internet search for this model, revealed that it was a very expensive radio on those days, normally fitted to important cars.This Jensen web site has more info. Therefore I have a small treasure in my hands, and incredible that it was fitted locally at the dealer. Spain in those days was a rather closed country, and getting this kind of radio must not be an easy task. It is an original positive earth radio from 1965.
Without my wifes permition (ugggg), I used the kitchen to make al the work. I removed all the external parts of the radio, knobs, plates, plastic buttons, etc, which where all dirty and oily, so had to wash and clean them. Inside I discovered a lovely sticker with all the necessary instructions to convert it from positive earth to negative earth. This sticker was made in paper, but as it was full of oil, it had separated from the inside cover. With some great care, I could clean it, just rubbing with my fingers with some detergent. Once cleaned I dried it with kitchen paper and put some books on top, so the paper wont wrap. The outer sticker was made in vinyl so cleaning was an easy task.
All the inside of the mechanism was nice and clean, so after verifying all looked correctly, I wired up the radio to a variable power source I have, a classic car antenna, and connect it to the original speaker. The radio did work ended, but it is only LW and AM. FM was tooo modern for it. On LW I could not tune any radio, but on AM I could tune 3 or 4 different ones. At least in Spain AM is nearly extinguished.
The speaker is also an original unit made by ELCA from the UK. It looks to be in perfect condition, with no rips ot what ever, but I have the doubt if speaker material gets “old” and looses quality even if it´s not broken. I need to ask a specialist to see if I should get a new one, or should I keep it as long as it works.
The radio console is made out of a thick black cardboard. It is in very nice condition and no one has ever drilled holes to fit extra swithes or similar.
A complete clean of all the components and some polish of the metal fascia and how I have a lovely original radio in great shape. THE BIG QUESTION: should I fit a more modern unit which has FM? Or should I just try to fit an aux connector to connect the IPOD? If I fit the aux, I would reuse the original radio, will be able to play podcasts and also will be able to connect by mobile and set it´s internal fm tuning program, so can end with all what I want. I really feel I should go this way, and just try to fit the AUS. I will read some post to see if it´s something I can do my self, or I should take it to a local specialist which told me would cost about 60€