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.
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
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).
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
This kind of radio was very common in Germany in the 1950s
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.
For more details (German language) see:
(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:
Siemens made this kind of radio. See:
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
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.