Near Mint Lavender Motorola 5C27V – Retro Radio Farm

Near Mint Lavender Motorola 5C27V

Very rare and minty Motorola Model 5C27V in original factory molded 'Hyacinth' color. No other radio of this period comes originally in this color.

 

If true purple or lavender is your bug, this is the only model available from this period. If heat cracks, scratches or chips, are an issue with you, this is an extraordinary example of one without any. 

This one came originally with an internal heat shield. Wonder why Motorola didn't use this more often? Picture of this later.

This model reminds me of the MCM houses of the period which were bi-level and sleek looking:

Cars also went through a period where wide and sleek was considered attractive:

 

This model was made in 1957/58 and also came in:

Model 5C27N in Mocha

Model 5C27V in Hyacinth

Model 5C27W in Antique White

I've had all of these colors, and the hyacinth (lavender) is the most desirable from a collectors standpoint.

This particular example was delivered to me cleaned and working. There is a sticker of a radio repair shop:

Repair shop stickers are a good sign the radio was cared for at some point in its life. 

The inside is the true testimony of its history and speaks about its previous owner.

Here what the inside looked like when I first opened it up:

Says the owner was a clean thoughtful person who cared for his or her things. Just the right amount of original old dust is beautiful..

  1. No lint: owner vacuumed or did not own carpet.
  2. No grease or grime: owner used this radio in a bedroom or living room but not kitchen or garage.
  3. No pet hairs or pet smells
  4. Did not smoke. At least, did not use the edges as a cigarette holder. Rarity back in this day. Lavender choice possibly suggests a more colorful personality since brown and ivory was prevalent choice. Eccentric choices would have probably lead to greater tendency to smoke, but that's wild conjecture on my part.
  5. No signs of tinkering or hack. 
  6. No signs of moisture. radio was stored someplace dry not basement or garage.
  7. No signs of extended heat exposure. radio was not stored in attic.
  8. No signs of abrasion, crushing, or shock. Radio was not packed in with other things.
  9. No signs of prolonged extended use. Some of these things have been plugged in for almost 50 years and it shows. Signs of just normal period of use. This radio was in normal use for about 10-20 years.
  10. No signs of lightning or electric failure in the owner's house.
  11. Radio was working. Owner kept this radio, did not use it, stored it even though it was still working.

See the heat shield? Thank you Motorola!

The cleaning process involves removing the baked on silt from years of use. This is especially difficult to remove in all the nooks and crannies of this intricate molding.

Well taken care of! Can you say; original!

Funny thing, looking at this all original board. I wonder what repair service was performed at that radio repair shop? Probably just new tubes and alignment. None of the original tubes were on the board.

Next step, cleaning. I believe in originality. However, dirt does not qualify as original equipment in my opinion. In that sense, I don't place dirt in the same category as patina which is important with other collectibles. Although, it could be argued that dirt bespeaks volumes about the history of an antique item and should be considered part of its personality. I do retain stickers added by previous owners. I look towards collectible and investment classic cars for example on this debate. They seem pretty clean when they across the auction block. However, antique guns are all about their patina. I dunno.

Here are all the trim pieces in fine condition. No need to raid the parts bin or donor lot.

The variable speed tuning shaft was fused on this one. So, one degree turn of the knob results in one degree turn of the tuning condenser. Originally, the tuning knob resulted in partial degree of turn of the tuning condenser.

I sprayed some electronic freeze-off on the shaft but it did not loosen up the movement. Rather than risk breaking the solid brass shaft, I decided to leave it alone. It works fine but the tuning knob turns at a higher rate that otherwise. No biggie.

Here's with it all cleaned:

Note the original capacitors. Can I replace them? I suppose I could. Originality or repair and restoration? Originality wins this time. 

These old radios have the most meaning to me throughout this process of disassembly, repair, restoration, and re-assembly. To discover in each step, idiosyncrasies in manufacture, use (abuse), physical history of wear and tear inside and out, is what tells a story to me like reading a book that's written in a language not everyone understands or can appreciate. What's best is when the radio is not working and then I find that one of few things that fixes it. Then, from a workshop that has been silent for hours, comes the sound of sports announcer, 24 hr news, oldie station or evangelist! Yea!

Sometimes you start off with just hum. Easy enough, replace the filter caps. But, it still hums! So, try replacing a few tubes. Still hums? Well, what kind of hum is it? Broken antenna connection or broken antenna? Open IFT or bad frequency capacitor?

Sometimes you get crackle. Replace tubes. What kind of crackle is it? Loose connection somewhere.

Sometimes it's loud crashing thunder. Uh Oh. Silver migration somewhere. Which IFT to test first?

Now, we have pictures cleaned up:

I try to avoid breaking any solder connections while maneuvering the tethered but disparate assemblies throughout the repair process. Reflowing the solder joints means that solder ball is no longer factory original browned, slightly corroded, gummed up with oil and tarred and feathered with lint. A beautiful solder joint is something not everyone can appreciate! I like seeing all original solder points as a sign of pristine originality. This comes from my days buying vintage guitars and amps. Like my 57 Strat:

See the nice yellowed Chicklet capacitor? It would be a travesty in my opinion to touch that!

Here's a 57 Strat on Ebay recently, but with a few minor issues:



And my 60 Les Paul Jr:

Here's the 5C27V all reassembled and ready to rock again!

 

One slightly annoying defect that happens often on these old brittle urea cabinets is broken screw mount posts. Over-zealous tightening of sheet metal screws leads to these posts cracking and breaking apart.

When this happens, save all the broken crumbs! Please! They glue back together pretty well with Krazy Glue. And while they are not as strong as intact original, they are also not visible. They should hold together for a while with Krazy Glue. If these little crumbs go missing, then you will need to perform more extensive plastic surgery to build a new mount. PIA.

Reassembled and looking fresh!

See, no heat crack!

This one came with original aluminum Moto logo which I like more than the gold card cardboard Moto logo.

This one goes into my secret stash for now. But, probably won't stay there for long. Contrary to what you might think, I do not maintain a huge secret stash. I derive slight benefit from owning them, displaying them, using them, caressing them, or covering them with finger oils or other bodily fluids. Like model kits I used to build as a boy, after spending hours working on them, they had very little meaning to me once I was finished. i would blow them up with M80s. (I won't blow these old radios up). 

These things are starting pile up everywhere around my house. Their value as display or curio items is now becoming grossly inflated. We use one for listening to music but that's it.

 

 

 

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