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Old 04-12-2010, 01:22 PM
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Default Car Record Players

http://www.darkroastedblend.com/2010...l-vintage.html

Before the iPod, before the Walkman, and even before 8-track existed - Car Record Players were taking your music wherever you go! And just like the iPad, they also could do only one thing at a time...


(image from RCA Annual Report 1959, via)

We'll start with a retro expose of the car record player... and highlight a few other vintage devices along the way, which still retain their novelty and coolness factor for collectors. Don't miss our previous articles on Coolest RetroTech.

Car audio equipment has changed a lot over the years, and what used to be cutting edge is now buried in the realms of yesteryear. But, somewhere along the way and unknown to a lot of people, a record player was actually starting to gain a foothold as a choice for your cruising music source. Yes, a record player.



Now, these were not your standard "lift the arm and place it on a record" type players. Instead these were specially designed units that did their best to keep playing music even when bumps in life came along. But no doubt fiddling with a record in a moving car did little to keep it pristine.

The problems of playing and maintaining the humble record soon led to alternatives for automotive based music, but we thought it would be fun to take a glimpse during that short amount of time in 1956 that the car record player almost became a staple thanks to Chrysler.


(images credit: UAW Daimler Chrysler)

The Car Record - Ultra Micro Groove

It might be good to note that the car record player did not play a standard 45 rpm record. While the 7 inch record looked like a 45, it was actually designed to spin around at 16 and two/thirds rpm, much slower than 45. They also used a new format (ultra-microgroove), which allowed for more grooves per inch.

Together the new format and slower rotation gave a playing length of almost an hour, much more practical than changing the record every song as you were trying to drive. And the records were available in a variety of musical selections, considering the year. From Tchaikovsky to Gene Autry, music lovers could find a favorite for their traveling musical taste.


(images credit: Popular Science, November 1955)

Chrysler dubbed its player the "Highway HiFi", and it was packing a lot of technology for its time.



A silicon fluid controlled tone arm pivot minimized the sudden movements while still allowing the arm to gently follow the record grooves.

A counterweight made sure that the cartridge did not add any weight to the surface of the record. In this way the player avoided skips without introducing additional wear and tear to the record itself. The fluid damping movement avoided the destructive forces that a spring loaded assembly would have introduced to the playing process.



1956 car record players were pretty well received in the media: many heralded the new technology's ability to take your music with you on the road in places where the radio might not reach. Even celebrities such as Lawrence Welk were shown enjoying their tunes in their classic cruisers.



Dodge Polara 1960 not only had rocket-like tail lights, but also the RCA Victor record player:


(image via)

However, the general public was simply not buying into the concept (even when Chrysler tried to revive the idea early in the sixties with a trunk-mounted record auto changer). Eventually consumers would find a format for their traveling music that they would indeed accept and buy in droves. That wasn't until late 1968, when the 8 track tape player made its debut.


(images via 1, 2)




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Old 07-05-2019, 04:16 AM
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I have heard of those and I can only think they were VERY HARD on records!! (If ya went over a slight bump for example)

It was a good thing I guess but not very workable I dont think.........
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Old 07-05-2019, 09:01 AM
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Default Re: Car Record Players

Too bad no one had thought of the trunk monkey yet.
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Old 07-05-2019, 09:04 AM
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Default Re: Car Record Players

12 years and 45,000 posts later, I don't even recall posting that.
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Old 07-05-2019, 10:58 AM
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Default Re: Car Record Players

I remember seeing one in my Uncle's Chrysler Imperial back in the 50's. He used to come up and stay with us every Fourth of July and he always had the coolest, neatest cars.
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