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Old 03-08-2017, 01:34 PM   #1
stoveboltgeek
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It seems that every time the thought of owning an original RHD tri-five has been permanently dismissed from my mind, http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/172566325410 pops up for sale again. (Thanks to John for bringing this to my attention.) Same car at the same price as this time last year, though the AUD to USD exchange rate is less favorable for me than last year.

Anyway, this car's reappearance raised a few questions in my mind.

At some point in its life, the car was fitted with Bel Air wheel covers and dash trim. I have a RHD parts catalog from 1957, and it lists this dash trim, but only for Bel Airs. Likewise, the Australian version of the owner's manual http://chevy.oldcarmanualproject.com...a57omindex.htm shows no dash trim or radio.

I'm inclined to think someone ordered the dash trim from the dealership's parts department early on, and installed it. Does anyone know of any original documentation that shows this trim being installed from the factory?

My main question is about radios. Obviously, the radio in this car was installed in recent decades.

My RHD catalog does not list a radio. Now, the RHD catalog only lists parts that differ from LHD cars - the "regular" US LHD catalog is used for most parts. So, either Australian tri-fives did not have a GM-supplied radio available, or they used the same radios as the American cars.

So, my question is: in the mid 1950s, did Australia have AM radio stations at the same frequencies as the North American AM radio stations - 540-1600 kHz? What other radio station bands were in common use in Australia? FM? Short wave? Other?
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Old 03-08-2017, 04:48 PM   #2
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Australia


◦The first radio broadcast in Australia took place on 23 November 1923.


◦The first car radio was fitted to an Australian car in 1924.


◦Australian radios operated on the Medium Wave band of 550-1600Kc/s.


◦Official FM services started in Australia in 1974, although experimental FM broadcasts took place from 1947 to 1961. When was the first car fitted with an FM radio?


◦The three prominent car radio producers in Australia were Astor, AWA, and Ferris.


Hope that helps
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Old 03-08-2017, 05:50 PM   #3
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All Australian CKD 210s had the BelAir dash trim.

Have never heard of US-supplied radios being fitted to CKDs would assume local dealer option.

As far as I can recall, no BelAir hubcaps were available to these cars. (Happy to be told otherwise.)

And the zinger: All these cars had leather upholstery.
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Old 03-08-2017, 08:37 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by angs1957 View Post
Australia
◦The first radio broadcast in Australia took place on 23 November 1923.

◦The first car radio was fitted to an Australian car in 1924.

◦Australian radios operated on the Medium Wave band of 550-1600Kc/s.

◦Official FM services started in Australia in 1974, although experimental FM broadcasts took place from 1947 to 1961. When was the first car fitted with an FM radio?

◦The three prominent car radio producers in Australia were Astor, AWA, and Ferris.

Hope that helps
Thanks, Angelo, That's exactly the information I was looking for. That means the American AM radios would have worked just fine in tri-fives.

Quote:
Originally Posted by johnonetrillion View Post
All Australian CKD 210s had the BelAir dash trim.

Have never heard of US-supplied radios being fitted to CKDs – would assume local dealer option.

As far as I can recall, no BelAir hubcaps were available to these cars. (Happy to be told otherwise.)

And the zinger: All these cars had leather upholstery.
John, are you certain about the Bel Air dash trim on these 210s? (If so, that means I've just found another error in the factory documentation.)

I have to say that trim is a nice touch, especially with the leather interior.

I have reason to believe that no tri-fives came from the factory with radios, even the US versions. There's no installation instructions in the factory assembly manuals we have, although there are instructions for them as dealer installed accessories. I've also seen a fair number of cars over the years (including Bel Airs) that still have the radio delete plate in place.

Of course, the Bel Air wheel covers could have easily been ordered from the parts department at the dealership, or picked up used some years later. Part #987537 is a set of 4 Bel Air wheel covers to be installed as an accessory on '57 150s and 210s.

Last edited by stoveboltgeek; 03-08-2017 at 11:47 PM..
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Old 03-08-2017, 09:20 PM   #5
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American AM radios are no good in Australia , our AM band goes up in increments of 9 - i.e. 981 - 990 -999 etc and yours is in increments of 10 so not all stations can be properly tuned in.
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Old 03-08-2017, 11:31 PM   #6
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Quote:
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American AM radios are no good in Australia , our AM band goes up in increments of 9 - i.e. 981 - 990 -999 etc and yours is in increments of 10 so not all stations can be properly tuned in.
I wouldn't have thought that would matter on an analog tuner found in tri-five radios. In digital tuners, that would definitely be a problem.

Have you ever tried using an original tri-five radio in Australia? (Now you've got my curiosity up.)

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Old 03-09-2017, 01:39 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stoveboltgeek View Post
John, are you certain about the Bel Air dash trim on these 210s?
100%.

--

My radio is US issue and works here. Except for the fact there is barely anything to listen to!

When I had mine re-built, the radio guy put a line into the back for my iPod, so that's what I use. (I have a collection loaded of 000s of jazz tunes recorded in 1957.)
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Old 03-09-2017, 10:03 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnonetrillion View Post
100%.

My radio is US issue and works here. Except for the fact there is barely anything to listen to!
So, the parts catalog IS incorrect (see attached scans).

The fact your US-issue radio works there is the important question. These days, there's almost nothing on AM in the US to listen to, either! But, an Australian who wanted a radio in their new '57 Chevy could buy the standard US radio.

So, in terms of correctness - the dash trim is correct, even if the parts catalog says it's only for Bel Airs. The Bel Air wheel covers are an authorized accessory for 210s. And, a US '56 radio or radio delete plate would be appropriate for this car.
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Old 03-09-2017, 01:08 PM   #9
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Follow-on to my earlier comment:

Here is strong evidence that radios were NOT a factory installed option, and all radios were installed by the dealer.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/1957-CHEVROL...p2047675.l2557

This auction was for original (not reprint) literature. Note the very last photo of the "Suggested Delivered Prices", dated February 1, 1957. Radios do NOT appear in the "Factory Installed Options" list. They're only listed with the other dealer-installed accessories.

Yet, this very document demonstrates the inconsistencies we find in factory documentation. Let's look closely.

In the bottom left corner of the front page of the price sheet, it says "printed 2-1-57". Also note that turn signals, V8 oil filter, and electric windshield wiper are listed as "required factory options". In other words - they're listed as options, but you can't order a car without them? Hmm....

Now, we all know a fair number of '57s came with vacuum wipers. Furthermore, https://www.trifive.com/garage/57%20C...anual/1-11.gif clearly shows the standard wiper motor is the vacuum version. But, what's that I see down in the drawing notes? Redrawn on 3-25-57? Nearly 2 months AFTER the price sheet shows electric wipers were listed as a "required option"?

Anyway - welcome to the "real world" of building and selling almost 100,000 Chevrolets every month back in 1957.
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Old 03-09-2017, 04:26 PM   #10
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I can't vouch for other countries, but the dash trim treatment was certainly true for Australia.

So, if Australia was the only exception to the convention, maybe that's why it is not documented in the GM assembly manuals? Just a thought.
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