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John Goschke

AMT '59 Ford: What the...?!

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Been without a camera for awhile so haven't been able to post much to my Workbench thread on this model, but after setting aside several other projects to focus on finishing it, I've been making slow and somewhat steady progress on my '59 Sunliner over the past few months.

Body and interior (except for carpeting) are painted. All the little detail bits - windshield wipers, and radio aerial are in Alclad. Even remembered to drill a hole in the fender for the aerial BEFORE painting this time.

Started foiling the trim on the painted dash, working across from the driver's side to the passenger's side. Burnishing the foil in place over the heater controls, then burnish more trim, then burnish over the clock... wait? What? Where's the the radio?! It should be between the heater controls and the clock! But it's not. How did I miss that?...

It's not as if I haven't seen the dash already a bazillion times. Even scribing in the ash tray and glove box openings, and taking photos of the result! (See, no radio.)...

59SunlinerWheel_3-vi.jpg

Well, after sleeping on it, it looks like I'll be taking the foil off and cutting a slot in the dash so a radio from the Revell '59 Skyliner can be notched in! Wow, this hobby is fun!

Here's the Workbench thread showing progress through last fall... http://www.modelcarsmag.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=79169&hl=

The thread starts in 2013, though I actually started this thing in 2011!

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I can't believe AMT omitted that.

What, the radio? Not every 1959 Ford was born with a radio. Many cars from that era were ordered without one. Maybe the car AMT based the kit on didn't have one. My Dad's 58 Biscayne had a filler plate where the radio would normally be. He used to take his Sears "7 Transistor" pocket radio with him to listen to Cubs games on the go.

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Yea, a lot of the younger guys out their may not realize how many cars were not equipped with a optional radios back in the day. Buying cars with optional equipment was different thing up through the 1950's and 1960's, compared to later. I remember a lot of cars back in the 50's and 60's without radios. Or even without things like carpet.

I can see a top of line Ford Galaxie without a radio back in '59. I'm sure there were a few Sunliner convertibles that left the factory without a heater even. A friend of mine use to own a '60 Buick LeSabre convertible with factory air conditioning, but no heater. Up until 1963, on GM cars, air conditioning was a seperate option from a heater. And you were not require to buy one to get the other. In the back of my mind, I can't remember if Fred's LeSabre had a radio or not. Something tells me it did not.

Thankfully Ford Galaxies like your Sunliner did come with carpet (Country Squires and other Ford wagons in '59 did not).They also came with the clock as standard equipment (lower priced 300s and non-500 Fairlanes did not). I think that by '59, you even got full-wheel covers as standard equipment on the Fairlane 500s and Galaxies. But, I'd have to check on that one to make sure.

One last thing about some optional equipment back in the 50's. Many, many cars were delivered without radios, to be later installed by the dealer if the customer if wanted one. I know that as late as 1957 Chevrolet did not install radios at the factory. They offered factory approved radios. But they were all installed by your local Chevrolet dealers.

So I kind of think its cool that AMT's '59 Fords did not come with a radio. I'd leave it that way, as reminder of how things use to be.

Scott

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Very true that radios were optional back then, including on '59 Fords. I had a '60 Chrysler with no radio.

I'd certainly leave it that way if it weren't a ragtop and if I hadn't already drilled the fender for the aerial. Don't want to be doing bodywork now that the two-tone is painted!

Edited by John Goschke

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I'm old enough to remember when a radio was a big deal in a car, and having a clock in the dash was a bigger deal. Real "uptown".

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The AMT 56 Ford Crown Victoria dash is the same way. No radio. No biggie, we know how to fix these minor details. Nice work on your build.

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Find a suitable radio in another kit. Foil-copy it, fill the backside of the foil with CA or epoxy, glue to dash, detail to taste. Happy, happy, happy!

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My brother bought a 72 Nova from an old timer , it was radio delete , but it did have a small V8 with a powerglide. Later my uncles (they are the same age) copied him and found a 73 Nova that was a radio delete car with bucket seats and a super six. Back in the day you could find almost anything on a car when you ordered what you wanted.

If you would have forgotten to drill the hole this time you would be one step ahead. Murphy's Law strikes again.

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There also weren't as many options available back then. Forget about the "technology package" or the "comfort and convenience group"! I remember seeing cars advertised as "Fully Loaded! Radio, Heater and Whitewall Tires!".

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When I bought my '56 Chevy in 1976 it had the radio delete plate and no hole in the fender for an antenna. I bought it from a little ole lady who bought the basic 2 door sedan. Six cylinder, no radio, no power steering or brakes. It did have the powerglide though. She gave up the car because she couldn't steer it anymore. When I cleaned out my father's house to sell it, I found that delete plate in the garage. I put it on eBay and got $50 for it.

I remember cars being sold maybe it was the 1980s with a "radio prep package" for people who wanted to put in better systems.

My 1991 Tracker has no radio! It came with an AM/FM cassette and I had changed it later to a CD. And that one gave up the ghost so I drove it that way. I left it in a parking garage in downtown Philly and the broken radio got stolen! I just laughed and hoped that the guy got a beating from who ever he sold it to! The only sad part was that the thief tore up the plastic surround to my dash center console. I thought it would be easy to find one, not so! I don't care that I don't have a radio since I drive it all the time with the top off, so I prefer wind noise. The trim irks me!

Edited by Tom Geiger

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It is fascinating how many things are considered the basics even on the cheapest cars today were options or not even available in the olden days..

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It is fascinating how many things are considered the basics even on the cheapest cars today were options or not even available in the olden days..

Yup, back in the days when we bought our tools at Sears and our suits at Robert Hall! :rolleyes:

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I owned a '77 or '78 Olds Cutlass with no radio--never had one. I forget what kind of "delete plate" it might have had.

It DID have power steering and brakes and AC. Just no radio.

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The first 2 cars I remember my parents owning didn't have radios.They didn't like them.

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I once owned a 1958 Cadillac 62 series coupe.

Standard equipment included:

Power seats.

Wonder Bar radio.

"Autotronic Eye" automatic dimmer.

But, the heater was an option! :huh:

I guess, in those days, they figured if you live in Florida, you don't need no stinkin' heater.

Steve

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No 'packages' back then everything seperate. Original sales invoice for my 60 T-Bird lists back up lights, heater, radio, automoatic, p/s, p/b, outside rear view mirror, and fender shields all as options. II have seen an unresoted CA 1959 Bird with a radio and no heat, there is a heater delete Ford part numbered plate visible on firewall where blower box would be.

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My Dad's 58 Biscayne had a filler plate where the radio would normally be. He used to take his Sears "7 Transistor" pocket radio with him to listen to Cubs games on the go.

Change "58 Biscayne" to "61 Dart Seneca" and "Sears" to "Motorola" and you've got my dad listening to the Cubs losing on WGN.

I owned a '77 or '78 Olds Cutlass with no radio--never had one. I forget what kind of "delete plate" it might have had.

It DID have power steering and brakes and AC. Just no radio.

Similar for us - we bought a '78 Olds Delta 88 equipped the same way; the delete plate was fake wood to match the dash panel and snapped into the radio hole with metal clips.

And here's a base-model '77 Pontiac LeMans dash; no radio, clock or A/C:

19188540701_6a386cb994_c.jpg

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In addition to the "radio-delete" '60 Chrysler Windsor sedan, I also had a base-model '79 Malibu two-door without a radio. V-6, factory floor-shift three-speed manual trans, power steering, power brakes, heat, no AC. Neat little car.

I'll fix the '59 Ford. Just kinda frustrating to take a step back after such a long time. Also a bit of a face-palm moment realizing I didn't notice it till last night!

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yet it has the vaunted "radial tuned suspension".....

The Radial Tuned Suspension package consisted of a small emblem, attached to the dashboard...

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I once owned a 1958 Cadillac 62 series coupe.

Standard equipment included:

Power seats.

Wonder Bar radio.

"Autotronic Eye" automatic dimmer.

But, the heater was an option! :huh:

I guess, in those days, they figured if you live in Florida, you don't need no stinkin' heater.

Steve

Sorry Steve, if you had 1958 Cadillac Series 62, the power seat, radio, and automatic dimmer were all options according to Cadillac. I have the dealer's Illustrated Guild for the 1958 Cadillacs. Below is the complete list of options for 1958 Series 62 coupes:

Cadillac Air Conditioner

Cadillac Air Suspension

Door Locks, Electric

Dor-Gards (Cadillac's spelling, not mine)

Eldorado Engine (3 dual-barrel carburators)

E-Z-Eye Tinted Glass

Fog Lamps (pair)

Front Seat Adjustment (6-way), power operated

Front Seat Back Lock, right side (coupe only)

Headlight Dimmer, automatic

Heater

License Frame

Radiator Grille, gold-finish

Radio

Remote-Control Trunk Lid Lock

Sabre-Spoke Wheels (set of five) in chrome finish

Vent Window Regulators, power operated

Window Lifts, power operated

Whitewall Tires, 8.20 x 15 (set of five)

The Electric Door Locks were new for '58. And the front seat back lock only appeared in '58, to reappear on Cadillac's, right and left, in 1966.

Standard equipment on a 1958 Cadillac Series 62 coupe included the following:

Air-Cleaner, dry-pack

Armrest, center-rear

Cadillac Power Brakes

Cadillac Power Steering

Cigarette Lighters, front (two)

Clock, electric

Hydra-Matic Transmission

Lights, front ash receivers

Lights, back-up (dual)

Light, courtesy or map (automatic)

Lights, directional signal

Light, glove box (automatic)

Light, luggage compartment (automatic)

Mirror, glare-proof, rear-view, flip type

Oil Filter

Outside Mirror, left-side, remote-control

Paint, two-tone

Parking Brake Warning Signal

Visor Vanity Mirror

Wheel Discs (set of four)

Windshield Washer and Coordinator

Wow! Interesting to see what they pointed out as standard equipment. Turn signals (some trucks would not get this as standard equipment until required by law in early-to-mid 60's). Day-night mirror. Windshield washers. A lot of things lesser car did not have. And were even optional on Cadillacs not that many years before.

It's amazing how much things have changed. That's why a model car from the 1950's, even a high buck convertible, without a radio doesn't bother me.

Scott

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Two-tone paint was standard? Was single-tone considered a delete option?

You know I question that one too. All the cars they show in the guide are all single tone cars. Maybe they just didn't charge you extra if you wanted two-tone paint?

Scott

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yet it has the vaunted "radial tuned suspension".....

This was a big deal in the mid-1970's. Most American cars didn't get radials even as a factory option until '73, '74. Some American cars offered them as early as 1967. But, it was not commonly seen until the mid-70's.

Scott

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