By on August 2, 2012

On Tuesday, after I got home from photographing today’s Junkyard Find, I got to thinking about the ’68 D-100’s factory AM radio. It looked to be identical to the nonfunctional radio in my 1966 Dodge A100 project van. Maybe the one in the pickup still works, I thought, so I had to return yesterday to grab it.
The radio in my van turns out to be exactly the same type of unit. It powers up, but emits only terrible static.
Chrysler used a seriously low-budget approach to truck AM radios in the mid-to-late 1960s; the entire faceplate of the radio must be removed to get the guts out from behind the dash. This is the front of the radio, minus the faceplate. Note the high-tech source of dial illumination. Dodge owners back in the day needed to be really motivated to change this light bulb, because getting to it requires a lot of futzing with fiddly, easily-dropped small fasteners.
I also picked up the heater blower fan from the D-100, because the one I pulled from a junkyard A100 over the winter turned out to be just as busted as the one in my van.
Both the fuel gauge in my van and the one I pulled from the junked A100 in February were bad as well, so we’ll see if the low-bidder vendor that made the D-100’s fuel gauge did a better job.
While I was rooting around behind the dash, I found this nice bonus: a Lone Star Beer bottle opener.
I haven’t tested the new radio yet, but I noticed this date stamp when I added the goodies to my A100 parts stash: September 29, 1967.

I don’t remember that day, being only 18 months old at the time, but a quick search revealed that LBJ made an important Vietnam speech on the day this radio was manufactured. History!

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24 Comments on “Junkyard Shopping Adventures: D100 Parts For the A100, Now With Bonus LBJ Speech...”

  • avatar
    Joe McKinney

    I never realised the A100 had a dash shifter. Today all of the current crop of minivans have similar dash shifters. I suppose a column shifter would not have been practicle on the A100’s near verticle steering column.

    • 0 avatar

      The manual-trans A100s had three-on-the-tree (maybe four-on-the-tree in some cases) column shifters, so presumably there would have been room for an automatic shifter there. I think Chrysler went with the dash shifter for automatics because they’d already spent the money to develop long shift-linkage cables for their pushbutton automatics earlier in the decade.

      • 0 avatar

        I had occasion, once, to open up the push button mechanism on my ’63 Newport, and the back of that unit had ten nipples, two for each button, with vacuum hoses attached. I didn’t look any further, but I didn’t see any cables.

      • 0 avatar

        Thats interesting, but when I worked on a ’63 Valiant with Torqueflite, the pushbutton shifter actuated cables. Since the climate controls exactly the same appearance and layout of the shifter on many of those cars, could you have been looking at the back of that instead? I wnonder how many times someone accidentally shifted to “Drive” when they wanted to select “Defrost”.

    • 0 avatar

      A vertical steering column alone won’t discourage a car designer/engineer to put a column shifter. There are several examples of column shifters, for manual transmissions even, on a near-vertical steering column.

    • 0 avatar
      MRF 95 T-Bird

      I know. Every time I see a newer TC or Grand Voyager I think of these early van shifters.

  • avatar

    The D-series pick-ups of that era, when equipped with an automatic, also had the dash shifter. Probably cheaper than designing a whole new steering column…

  • avatar

    My first car, by luck, was a 1967 298 GT Mustang fastback, with a 4 on the floor. I pulled out the Ford AM radio and put in an aftermarket Pioneer radio. I kept the AM radio as a memento of my first car. I was wondering if this old AM radio has any value as a collector’s item or it is just junk. Can anyone tell me?

    • 0 avatar
      Firestorm 500

      It would be of value mainly to someone putting their car back into original concours condition.

      If it works, probably anywhere from $10 to $100 depending on the condition of the chrome/potmetal.

      That being said, I have the original AM radio, that works, from my ’66 convertible.

      I wouldn’t sell it for $500, because I still have the car.

      • 0 avatar

        I still have the original Becker radio to my mom’s 1972 Mercedes S-Class. I’ve been told it’s worth money, but can’t bring myself to sell it either. My mom passed away 5 years ago, and I know she was the last person to touch the knobs and buttons…

  • avatar

    I feel like we need a multi-project-car update. the van, the VIP lexus, the civic..

  • avatar

    Any markings as to who made the radio? The knobs look identical to the ones IH used in the ScoutII and their D series pickups. Their radios were made by Motorola and Panasonic. Yes 70’s era IHs used Japanese parts. I’ve also found Nipondenso horns and they weren’t aftermarket or something someone swapped in they carried IH part numbers.

  • avatar

    That radio could almost be an Apple product in it’s simplicity of design. I love it.

    • 0 avatar

      If Apple had made car radios in the 1960s (assuming Jobs and Wozniak had started the company at about age 10), they would have lacked on/off switches and they would have received only stations that had an exclusive licensing deal with Apple.

      • 0 avatar

        Too funny. I was about to add “they would have lacked a heat sink” (analogy to the early Apple IIs which did not have fans).

      • 0 avatar
        Felis Concolor

        For those souls unfortunate enough to have owned the Apple III computer, which was also a fanless design but suffered serious heat dissipation issues, the official fix to cure memory errors as the DIP chips walked free of their sockets was to unplug the computer and all peripherals, raise the system 12-18″ off a suitably rigid surface (concrete floors were considered ideal), and release the computer. This would reseat the memory chips upon impact, whereupon the user could replace the computer at its station, reconnect all peripherals and continue on with work. The computer center at college had a couple of Apple IIIs in its cobbled together network; in the years I was there I only saw them being used a handful of times, and always when the rest of the Apple ][ lab was full.

        Congratulations on your replacement radio and fan; that heat sink looks like it’s there just to support the single TO3 screwed into its face.

  • avatar

    1967; the Summer of Love.


  • avatar

    I used to have a ’51 Ford F-1 pickup. Didn’t have a radio. One day, while at the junk yard looking for some other part, I look up on the wall behind the cashier what to I see? A radio marked as for a ’52 Merc. Bought it, perfect fit, even the trim matched.

  • avatar

    I knew I recognized those knobs – they’re absolutely identical to the ones used on American-market Volkswagen Sapphire III and IV radios. I wonder if Sapphire made radios for Dodge, too?

    • 0 avatar

      The Sapphires were made by Bendix, which is the same company that appears to have supplied a good number of Chrysler’s radios from this period, so that checks out.

  • avatar

    “The D-series pick-ups of that era, when equipped with an automatic, also had the dash shifter. Probably cheaper than designing a whole new steering column…”

    My grandfather’s last vehicle was a 1971 D series pickup. It had Torqueflite automatic, with same column shifter as our Plymouth wagon. Maybe Mopar had to make a change from dash to column shifters when ignition key locks were mandated. ?

    • 0 avatar

      D series pickups with torqueflites used pushbuttons up through the end of the 64 model year, like the cars. I don’t remember any after that having a dash mounted shifter, I can only recall them with column shifters.
      In one of my Mopar Action magazines from 3-4 years ago they have a 64 D100 owned by a gentleman in his 90’s, who purchased it new. It is one of only 3 or 4 built that year with the 426 wedge and torqueflite combo. He first saw one in a magazine article in which they did a road test, and he wanted one badly, so he went to the closest dealer and inquired about buying one. The salesperson insisted that no such truck was available, so the guy went back home, got the magazine, brought it back to the dealership and showed them.
      They contacted chrysler and still had to pull a few strings, but he was able to place an order and it took 4 months for the truck to arrive. He was a construction worker, and he couldn’t get any traction with the truck with an empty bed, naturally, so he would add weight in the bed with things from the job site. He would race his co workers on Friday nights and beat them and they had to buy the beer.

  • avatar
    Athos Nobile

    My current car was purchased the same calendar day (but different year) my wife and I got married.

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