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The Radio  

I believe the radio my car has in it today is the original radio - installed by VW of America -  sometime after June of 1963 when the car was built. Without going into too much detail about the history and different models, I will focus on mine. It is a Bendix Sapphire I, AM only, 6 volt.

Because I wanted to retain the (mostly) stock look of my car, keeping the original radio was essential. I used it sparingly for a few years with a voltage drop block wired in. Then, one day it just stopped working. I made the assumption that the cheapo voltage drop device failed to protect it from its converted 12 volt system and fried the internals. And, I remained under that assumption for many years.


I was searching the classifieds on The Samba one night and saw an ad for a guy (Rich) that converts some of these old radios from 6 volt to 12 volt. He could also add FM to an AM-only radio ... and add an 1/8th inch Aux-in port for iPhones and such - all while maintaining the original appearance of the radio. So, I looked a little closer, and decided to contact him about mine. I've always wanted to "repair" it. It was just sooooo low on my priority list, I never got a round to it.



Rich did a great job with the repair and conversion. He was honest, prompt, and packed the radio with care for its return trip through the mail. I recommend his services to others.

Anyway, after a couple of emails, I asked him to repair and convert mine. He quoted me a price, gave me a mailing address, and off it went. 

Click the big blue button for Rich's website.

It turns out the radio wasn't fried like I thought. Apparently the internal OFF switch was just stuck in the OFF position! 


The video below was taken just after I got it installed back in the car. I was testing out the dimmer switch for the lights, the preset buttons, and the "Tone" knob. Can you hear the fidelity of my little 4 inch speaker? Sweet! Just like back in the good old days. :)


Anyway, to cycle between AM, FM, and Aux, you simply turn the volume knob OFF and back ON again within two seconds. Hanging down underneath the dash is the white Aux cable. I had it plugged in to my iPhone at the time.

Even though the radio has FM capability now, it's still looks the same - just the AM numbers across the face. If you use a picture like the one below as a guide (from the Sapphire II with FM), you can see about where the FM stations would be.