Zenith Model A600L TransOceanic Radio (1958)
This handsome leather-clad Zenith TransOceanic radio has genuine star quality. Its front panel has the name Joan Fontaine embossed in gold letters. On the inside, below the dial, is a Dymo label bearing the name Miss Joan Fontaine.
Yes, this radio really belonged to
Joan Fontaine, the actress who starred with Laurence Olivier in the classic
film Rebecca and made many other movies.
I bought the radio
from a fellow who obtained it in the part of California
where Miss Fontaine still lives.
In 2004, after I had owned the radio for a few years, someone suggested that I contact Miss Fontaine to find out if this radio really had been hers. Below is a portion of her reply, in her own handwriting.
The Zenith TransOceanic model A600 was manufactured in 1958, the next-to-last tube TransOceanic. The brown
cowhide covering was an option, raising the standard price from $139.95 to $159.95.
The letter L at the end of the model number indicates the leather case, hence
this set is model A600L.
A leather-clad TransOceanic is one of the most desired of all models, surpassed
only by the original 7G605 Clipper and the rare military R-520/URR.
To match the brown cowhide case, other parts such as the handle, WaveMagnet antenna, chart
cover, and faceplate are also colored brown. The result is what some consider the most beautiful of all TransOceanic radios.
This set is in excellent shape, with only the usual small blemishes
on the case. It plays very well. Although the electronics are unrestored, I
have to decided to leave it alone and treasure this piece of history in its original condition.
If you wish to restore the electronics on one of these radios, you should
get a schematic to guide your work and help you understand the electronics.
You can order a TransOceanic model 600 service manual from one of the sources listed in our Parts page.