1966 original AM/FM radio

The original Bendix AM/FM radio for a 1965 Thunderbird has to be one of the worst radios ever made, in terms of what you get vs. expectations. The 1966 is better, but still nothing to write home about.
For either one, expect to pay $600-800 for a working one, then be careful -- the IF transformers usually have "Silver mica disease", which will drive you crazy. I can use a lot of bandwidth to explain it, but to you it means reception popping in and out each time you hit a bump. That radio has 7 of these. There are several other problems, and you'll find that most repair shops won't touch one of these (I'll do an FMR AM/FM Stereo Conversion on these, but not a repair). When totally tuned up and working, FM reception is lousy, and AM doesn't sound nearly as good as the AM Motorola sets.

Also, keep in mind that the 1964, 1965, and 1966 AM/FM radios are all different. The 1964 radio has pushbuttons marked AM and FM. The 1965 and 66 have buttons that flip over to select an AM or an FM station. On the 65, these get really sloppy and don't work well. The 66 design is better. You'll also find that the rear speaker fader wiring is different -- if you get the wrong one, the fader won't work properly. I find this very strange because the 1965-66 AM radios are the same model. Maybe they weren't available with faders? The 1964 had a fader version, but I can't remember seeing a 65/66 with a fader. I could be wrong, but it's hard to believe they wired the cars differently just for an AM/FM radio.

It's not hard to tell the difference between a 1965 and 66 AM/FM radio; the 1965 has a single power transistor on the right side, the 1966 has two transistors.
 
Wouldn't you know, I had a 1965 Thunderbird AM radio arrive for conversion, and it's a fader model.
The fader control on this set is the same as the 1964. I believe the 65 AM/FM is the same. The 1966 AM/FM is different, requiring a different wiring harness in the car. But what gets me, the 1965 AM radio was used in both 1965 and 66. Maybe, maybe, the 1966 AM radio only came with a front speaker, the AM/FM came with a rear speaker, and of course the Stereo 8 was totally different with speakers in the doors. If an AM fader type radio is installed in a 66, it requires a totally different wiring harness from the AM/FM.

I know it's confusing -- bottom line, don't confuse the years.
 

old timer

Active Member
Wouldn't you know, I had a 1965 Thunderbird AM radio arrive for conversion, and it's a fader model.
The fader control on this set is the same as the 1964. I believe the 65 AM/FM is the same. The 1966 AM/FM is different, requiring a different wiring harness in the car. But what gets me, the 1965 AM radio was used in both 1965 and 66. Maybe, maybe, the 1966 AM radio only came with a front speaker, the AM/FM came with a rear speaker, and of course the Stereo 8 was totally different with speakers in the doors. If an AM fader type radio is installed in a 66, it requires a totally different wiring harness from the AM/FM.

I know it's confusing -- bottom line, don't confuse the years.
Call Neal Martin for AM/FM radio. His phone is 239-571-0070
 
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