New FM Auto Radio (Jun, 1960)

New FM Auto Radio

OUR recent survey “FM Radios for Your Car” (December 1959) contained several reports from leading auto radio makers which stated flatly they had no plans for marketing an FM auto radio. Motorola was one of them. In spite of their former stand—or perhaps because of our article—Motorola is now mass producing the FM-900, a mobile radio that tunes 88-108 mc. This under-the-dash-installation unit can operate independently of the car’s AM set. Three transistors power the hybrid circuit, which contains seven additional tubes. FM-900 shares the AM set’s antenna and can be used with any 12-volt, negatively grounded ignition system. No need to sell the FM set when you sell your car. It may be moved from auto to auto, or auto to boat. Other features are AGC, AFC and $125 price.

  1. Pcarney says: April 28, 20119:23 am

    Good Granny Grunt! That was around $900 in today’s dollars!

  2. Mike says: April 28, 201111:19 am

    I might have seen a radio like that, reading stirred up some kind of memory but I can’t remember the details. I do remember listening to AM radio for music. One of the local FM stations, now a rock station, “was for farmers” at the time.

  3. JMyint says: April 28, 201112:00 pm

    My girlfriend’s (now wife) 1968 Impala had an FM converter under the dash, a lot of people had them in the early 70s.

  4. Stephen says: April 30, 20119:46 am

    The good old days when it was a marketing point to boast that your radio had THREE WHOLE transistors…

  5. Charlene says: May 4, 201112:20 pm

    The good old days when it was a marketing point to boast that your car had a radio!

  6. John says: May 4, 20111:15 pm

    No it was specifically boasting about an FM radio. AM radios had been around a long time.


    Interesting to see that the model name “Motorola” was coined in the 1930’s for a car radio.…

  7. Robert Faust says: October 12, 20116:41 pm

    I just purchased a Motorola FM 900 on ebay the other day (10/09/2011). I used to have one in the 60’s and remember the fantastic sound and great reception it gave. I actually bought it to install in my 51 Ford Woodie even though I already have an AM/FM radio installed. I’m not sure if I paid too much, ($102.50) but believe it was worth it for the memories alone.

  8. Robert Faust says: October 14, 20117:41 pm

    Well, got the Motorola FM 900 today (10/14/2011). Yes, as I assumed it does not work, but the light comes on inside, the back of unit heats up and tubes light up. Looking for a place to have it repaired.
    Now I’m looking for a Motorola FM 990X, which is the stereo multiplex unit. Looks exactly the same as the 900.
    If anyone out there has one for sale, working or not, please email me: [email protected].

  9. George Exoo says: May 2, 201210:20 pm

    What memories! It was the summer of 1961. I had returned from Emerson College to my native Cleveland to work as a naturalist for the Cleveland Metropolitan Park Board @$300 p/m. My first paycheck I invested in a Motorola FM-900 for the new family Citroen ID. The speaker was a single oval with a hefty magnet placed on the rear parcel shelf. The trunk became a bass reflex cabinet. The rated power RMS(?) was 15 watts. The radio by the summer of 1961 was all transistorized as I recall. The sound was ethereal, full bodied, and rich, such as I never remember hearing from any AM radio. When I took others in the car, I remember they were wowed, even the music majors. That radio was transferred to cars through to 1974, then was packed away. I got my first ticket somewhere in the Heights one afternoon listening to Bach over Cleveland’s fine arts station, WCLV. So thrilled was I with the music pouring forth from the boot of the car, I guess I exceeded the posted limit of 35 mph. I notice that car audio enthusiasts, even those with an interest in “old school” equipment, seem to have no knowledge of things old school going back to the 50’s and 60’s…or is it my age, now approaching 70? George Exoo Beckley, WV

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