Blaupunkt Derby Transistor Radio (1960s)

  

I found this classy transistor portable during a short vacation on the Olympic peninsula of Washington state. It's the only Blaupunkt radio that I own, and it has several unusual features.

When I first caught sight of this set, I almost mistook it for an auto radio. The top of the set, with its narrow slide-rule dial atop a row of push-buttons, could have come straight from a 1960s car. On closer examination, however, I could see that the buttons are bandswitches, selecting amongst BC, FM, and two shortwave bands, rather than station presets as you'd normally find on a car radio.

The Blaupunkt name is molded in silvery plastic at the top of the louvered grille, and the Derby name appears in molded script at the lower right. The all-plastic case is a pleasing combination of light green, ivory, and silver. The green portions are molded with a leather-like texture.

This radio is in excellent condition all around. Its only noticeable defect is in the flexible handle, which was detached for these photos. The handle is formed of a thin, flexible metal strap, with slots on each end that hook onto metal buttons each side. The handle is covered with thin plastic which has split into about four sections, making it a little unsightly, although still perfectly functional.

Although it's hard to tell exactly from the small dial, the shortwave bands appear to cover approximately 1.5-5.2 Mhz (SWII) and 5.3-8.0 Mhz. Those frequencies include a number of international shortwave broadcasters.

The telescoping antenna extends sideways to the right, instead of straight up, and it does not swivel, making a somewhat awkward arrangement when it's fully extended.

On the upper left side of the radio are two jacks. One, with five pins, is for connecting to a tape deck, judging from the little tape-cassette shaped icon next to it. The other, single-pin jack has a cryptic rectangular logo next to it. An earphone jack seems the most likely answer, although I suppose a remote speaker or an external antenna would be other possibilities.

The radio takes six ordinary flashlight batteries, held in place with a slick plastic cover that is easily removed, yet secure when locked. This is a pretty large portable, approximately ten inches wide. Loaded with batteries, nobody would call this a light radio, however it's still not as serious an arm-buster as any of my TransOceanic portables. The battery carrier is located at the lower left in the following photo.

Transportable Radios for Car and Home

On the bottom of the radio is a narrow, slot-shaped jack with eight pairs of opposing pins, into which you can plug a thin connector. The underside also has some mounting slots and holes. The bottom connector and mounting hardware allowed you to use this radio in an auto, as well as other places—a practical and economical arrangement. Too bad that I can't find the auto mounting hardware and connector cable. I have always wished for a shortwave radio to use on the road.

Some time after I originally posted this article, I received the following email:

I have one too. It came as a factory-installed 
radio in my 1964 VW Squareback. Its rack, which 
had a key lock for security, allowed me to plug 
the radio into the car completely, i.e.,it used 
the car battery, the car's antenna and the car 
loudspeaker. I no longer have the car rack, but
the Derby is still in daily use. Its own speaker 
is remarkably nice to listen to.

It was used while driving and when stopped, it 
could be removed from the dash for independent 
operation (at the beach).

Jim Foster

A similar radio in my collection is the Buick Trans-Portable, an AM-only radio made in the US for Buick automobiles. Oldsmobile and Pontiac offered a lookalike set in 1958/1959.

  

I got some more information about European "transportables" from fellow collector Georg Richter in Germany:

This kind of radio was very common in Germany in the 1950s
and 1960s.

Tube car radios were very expensive and the size of the E- 
and F-series tubes did not allow packing many HF or IF stages
into the "standard" size box.

The usual car battery had 6V. If the dial light was blown and 
you forgot to switch off a tube radio overnight, you got a
surprise the next morning.

The first transistorized car radios did not perform very well
but were no less expensive.

Often exercised: A new car was fitted with the expensive 
radio of the predecessor.

Why not buy a very fine portable radio with a quick-out bracket,
mounted below or in the dashboard? Useful also at home, for
picnic, on the beach.

Some radios of this type (especially the tubed) were used 
standalone, others had only the voltage adapters for the car 
battery, or the bracket had built-in power amplifier and/or 
connection for the car speaker and car antenna.

You could order a car with various options:

1. Without anything a car radio needs.
2. Ditto, but with dejamming(correct word?) caps and coils.
3. Ready for radio installation (antenna and at least one speaker).

The AKKORD company made tubed, mixed, and solid state trans-portables.
See http://home.snafu.de/wumpus/trifels.htm.

For more details (German language) see: 
http://www.historische-radios.info/firmen/akkord/geraete01.htm

(Try to connect this site through a translation portal.)

The tubed ones used miniature tubes, so they were as good as the
home radios. Some had more tubes than Zenith TransOceanics!

Parts of the AKKORD company (and one plant) were later sold to Bosch.
Bosch later combined with Blaupunkt. In the 1980s, Blaupunkt seemed
to remember this design and produced some high-priced car radios 
with an "easy quick-out" principle. Not for the beach, but to 
deter the burglars.

Also see Schaub-Lorenz: 
http://home.snafu.de/wumpus/touring.htm.

Siemens made this kind of radio. See:
Turnier.

Always worth a visit is WUMPUS Old Radio World.

At http://home.arcor.de/wmohl/index.html you can see some 
beauties if you click on Auto Radios, then left on the company 
signs. The top item is the (OEM branded?) "Emud Voxson"
installed instead of the center driving mirror. (EMUD stands for
Ernst Maestling Ulm Donau, a German radio manufacturer

Kind Regards,
Georg

Like my other European radios, this Blaupunkt is a quality piece of work. If I keep buying radios from Germany and the Netherlands, perhaps I'll have to devote a special section just to them. The others include a Telefunken Gavotte tabletop, a Schaub-Lorenz portable, a Philips portable, and a large Philips tabletop. My Nordmende 9072 "Transita de Luxe" is a similar transistor portable.

©1995-2017 Philip I. Nelson, all rights reserved